Review (Guest): The Utopia of Rules – on Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

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David Gaeber

A Fresh Take on Bureaucracy

By Peter Richardson on March 19, 2015

What intense pleasure this book gave me, despite the dull topic: bureaucracy. Anthropologist David Graeber is perhaps best known for Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2011), which became required reading for the Occupy Wall Street movement. In that book, Graeber showed that the standard explanation for the origins of money, rehearsed in dozens of economics textbooks, was a fairy tale.

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Mar 23

Review (Guest): Revolution 2.0 The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power A Memoir

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Wael Ghonim

5.0 out of 5 stars The true origins of the Egyptian revolution . a must read now more than ever, May 5, 2012

By Wessam ElmeligiSee all my reviews

Wael Ghonim has become an iconic figure of the Egyptian revolution since he anonymously started the Facebook Page, “We are All Khalid Said,” criticizing police brutality in Egypt after young activist Khalid Said was beaten to death in broad daylight by the police in Alexandria for posting a video on police corruption on the internet. In the first few days of the revolution, Ghonim was kidnapped by plainclothes policeman but released later. He appeared on a talk show at a time when the protests were reaching a dead end. Instead of delivering a fiery speech full of revolutionary fervor as expected, he wept and apologized publicly to the parents of protesters who were killed during the protests, saying “don’t blame us, blame those who are power hungry.” His tearful words ignited the protests again.

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Mar 6

Review: Occupy the Economy – Challenging Capitalism

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Richard Wolff with David Barsamian

5.0 out of 5 stars SIX STAR Primer on the Necessary Socio-Economic Revolution, February 28, 2015

SIX STAR (my top 10% across 2000+ non-fiction book). This is an extraordinary book full of straight talk and common sense that sets the stage for a socio-economic revolution, first in the USA and then elsewhere. It does not address the many isolated incidents of collaborative capitalism and the commons that are in motion around the world — for that look up Michel Bauwens and the work of others on the economic commons — and it neglects the coincident need for a political revolution which is what my latest book on Open Power is about — but on balance this is easily a six-star offering.

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Feb 28

Review: The Internet in the Middle East

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Deborah Wheeler

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and therefore valuable, February 11, 2015

This is a solid piece of work that might normally have been a 4 but it surprised me just enough to warrant taking it to a 4. I love unconventional wisdom and seeing solid proof that conventional wisdom — in this case, “The Internet changes everything for the better” questioned.

I read this book on the same flight as I read Richard Wolff’s Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media) and this is the second reason I will place the book at five: while the Internet does NOT change everything for the better, especially in the case of women and youth in Kuwait, it IS “occupied,” is does blur the line between the user and the producer, and it does offer a model for new forms of social and economic organization. In a strange way I could not have anticipated, these two books complement each other.

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Feb 28