Review: The Media Ecosystem — What Ecology Can Teach Us About Responsible Media Practice

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Antonio Lopez

5.0 out of 5 stars A unique and timely integrative overview with many original insights, August 22, 2013

I received this book as a gift, and am glad that I did as I normally would not have noticed it, bought it, or reviewed it. I hope my review will inspire others to buy the book, and if not, provide a summary of some of the highlights that I consider quite timely, original, and useful.

This is a manifesto of sorts, on CRITICAL INFORMATION, or stated another way, on public decision-support needs and the urgency of restoring both integrity (tell the truth) and holistic soundness (report on everything, and on the cause and effect cost and consequences of everything in relation to everything). Of course modern media fails this test, and the author should be credited with providing a manifesto and high-level handbook of how we might proceed.

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Aug 22

Review: Le management de l’intelligence collective – Managing Collective Intelligence – Toward a New Corporate Governance

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Olivier Zara

5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational — Free Online in English Translation — For Sale Online in French, May 28, 2013

I just read this book in the free online English translation and have very high praise for the original content, the translation, and the graphics. It is a short book, 88 pages in English, with a self-testing appendix that will reveal that most organizations are leveraging, at best, 20% of their collective intelligence potential.

As the European Union, NATO, and the USA all re-examine their fundamental premises in the aftermath of failed elective wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and all too many adventures, including a predatory attack on Libya to steal its gold, water, and oil, this book is the single best book I have found that could help the new generation of leaders in the EU, NATO, and the USA. The Cold War generals have failed for 50 years — we are long overdue for a new generation of leaders that understands the true cost of war and the fractional cost of waging peace to create a propserous world at peace.

In my own experience with Cold War flag officers, I find they understand three colors — red, yellow, and green. The new generation seems to be much more nuanced, much better read, and much more open to the reality that in war everyone loses except the bankers, and that Sun Tzu had it right centuries ago — the acme of skill is to defeat the enemy without fighting — better yet, utilize collective intelligence to achieve Non-Zero, a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for everyone.

Buy the book in French at AxioPole.com. Read the book free online in English.

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May 28

Review (Guest): Surveillance or Security?: The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies

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Susan Landau

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive text on the topic July 8, 2011

Ben Rothke

Surveillance or Security?: The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies is a hard book to categorize. It is not about security, but it deals extensively with it. It is not a law book, but legal topics are pervasive throughout the book. It is not a telecommunications book, but extensively details telco issues. Ultimately, the book is a most important overview of security and privacy and the nature of surveillance in current times.

Surveillance or Security? is one of the most pragmatic books on the topic is that the author never once uses the term Big Brother. Far too many books on privacy and surveillance are filled with hysteria and hyperbole and the threat of an Orwellian society. This book sticks to the raw facts and details the current state, that of insecure and porous networks around a surveillance society.

In this densely packed work, Susan Landau, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University details the myriad layers around surveillance, national security, information security and privacy. Landau writes that her concern is not about legally authorized law enforcement and nationally security wiretapping; rather about the security risks of building surveillance into communications infrastructures.

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Apr 30

Review: The Technology of Nonviolence

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Joseph G. Bock

5.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering Work, Deserves a Great Deal of Attention, April 29, 2013

I am shocked that there are no reviews of this book. Brought to my attention by Berto Jongman, one of the top researchers in Europe with a special talent at the intersection of terrorism and related violence (e.g. genocide) and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), he knew this is an area that is of very high interest to me.

The book passed my very first test, with more than ample references to Dr. Patrick Meier, a pioneer in crisis mapping, SMS translations and plotting by diasporas, and humanitarian ICT generally. I strongly recommend his blog and expect him to produce a book of his own soon.

The primary focus here is on social media via hand-held devices. It assumes a working Internet and does not have a great deal of focus on the urgency of achieving an Autonomous Internet, and more fully exploiting Liberation Technology and Open Source Everything (OSE), the latter my special interest along with M4IS2 (Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making).

Use Inside the Book to see the chapters and appendices. The author makes clear two major points early on:

01 Grassroots is where its at, not top down macro

02 Technology alone is not enough, organizing — the hard long road of grassroots organizing — is essential.

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Apr 29

NATO BOOK: Internet-Based Intelligence in Public Health Emergencies

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Internet‐Based Intelligence in Public Health Emergencies

Early Detection and Response in Disease Outbreak Crises

Editors Mordini, E., Green, M.  Pub. date March 2013  Pages 160  Binding softcover
Volume 105 of NATO Science for Peace and Security Series – E: Human and Societal Dynamics
ISBN 978-1-61499-174-8
Subject Computer & Communication Sciences, Security & Terrorism, Social Sciences

Momentous social events result from the sum of micro-level changes in daily individual life, and by observing and fusing publicly available data, such as web searches and other internet traffic, it is possible to anticipate events such as disease outbreaks. However, this ability is not without risks, and public concern about the possible consequences of improper use of this technology cannot be ignored. Opportunities for open discussion and democratic scrutiny are required

This book has its origins in the workshop Internet-Based Intelligence for Public Health Emergencies and Disease Outbreak: Technical, Medical, and Regulatory Issues, held in Haifa, Israel, in March 2011. The workshop was attended by 28 invited delegates from nine countries, representing various disciplines such as public health, ethics, sociology, informatics, policy-making, intelligence and security, and was supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme. Its starting point was the 2009 outbreak of swine flu in Mexico. The book includes both scientific contributions presented during the meeting and some additional articles that were submitted later.

Interactions between public health and information and communication technologies are destined to be of great importance in the future. This book is a contribution to the ongoing dialogue between scholars and practitioners, which will be essential to public acceptance and safety as we rely more and more on the internet for predicting trends, decision-making and communication with the public.

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Mar 6

Review: Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

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Michael Hyatt

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Handbook On How To Extend a Personal Brand in Cyberspace,August 12, 2012

I bought this book in part because I am about to help a small company modernize its brand in cyberspace, and in part because I was given as a gift Ryan Holiday’s book, Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator–it joins other great books I have reviewed such as Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin and Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq.

This book by Michael Hyatt is everything that the other book is not, and vice versa. I recommend them both — the Holiday book if you want to understand the sleaze and corruption of cyberspace, this book is you want to build a clean house with a white picket fence, never mind the criminal neighborhood.

The book is a solid four; I give it a five because it taught me things I did not know and it’s resource section at the end is useful. However, it is also out of date on some key points (for example, recommending RSS for anything). Over-all, the book is so thoughtfully put together and so coherent and complete that I believe it deserves to be read by anyone who wants to leverage cyberspace that is NOT a blogger.

The book seriously understates the amount of time it takes to do all this stuff, especially if you are not just running your mouth and actually trying to be useful (according to the Holiday the vast majority, which I do not agree with, if you take out pornography and gambling that are 80% of the web more of less (see The Myth of Digital Democracy my best guess is that 80% of the popular websites are garbage, while within the last 20%, most are honest.

Robert David STEELE Vivas
THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust

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Aug 12

Review: Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator

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Ryan Holiday

5.0 out of 5 stars World Class–Does to Media What Confessions of An Economic Hit Man Did to Predatory Corporations,August 12, 2012
First off, ignore any rating below four stars, they are part of the counter-attack from those the author has outed for the hypocritical, conniving, sad little minds that they are. Four stars is an honest review, in my case I believe five stars is rated in part because information integrity and intelligence (decision-support) is my strongest suit and most passionate area of interest, and in that context, this book is utterly brilliant and chock full of details. Across the board, from index, to sources, to notes, to an appreciation of past history, this is a serious book that should be studied in universities, at least in politics, economics, business, and cultural classes. I read it on the same day that I read Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. In comparative terms, now that I think about it, this book is a six and Hyatt’s is a weak five, making it to five because I learned stuff and will make changes to my own brand based on his outline. Hyatt has written an elegantly simple but truly deeply coherent book that I respect very much. If you buy only ONE book, this one, by Ryan Holliday, is the one to buy.Let me start by linking to four books he lists at the end of his own for additional reading (apart from many in his Bibliography. They are:The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism
News from Nowhere: Television and the NewsI skimmed the notes and bibliography, something I do first with books I consider particularly serious, and this book easily passes my smell test. I am engaged by the various quotes used to open the book, and immediately won over when early on the author labels the Huffington Post a classic case of a scam — an empty shell sold for way too much money.

As an intelligence professional I am alert to coherence, structure, facts, sourcing, and “the story.” This book does not disappoint in any way. About the only thing missing are several maps to illuminate the author’s “ten most wanted” nefarious (unethical) bloggers, and perhaps a few “how to” charts. I would also have liked some emphasis on “attaboys,” recognition for a few sites, mine being one them, that tell only the truth and have no advetising. This is a good book by an honest, articulate subject matter expert and I absolutely recommend it as both a standard reading in all MBA programs and all national (secret) intelligence and covert action programs, and as a recommended reading in all other majors.

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Aug 12

Review (Guest): Trust Me, I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator

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Ryan Holiday

5.0 out of 5 stars How To Become an Alpha Predator of the Media July 19, 2012

By John Robb

Ryan has written two EXPLOSIVE books in one package. It’s VERY easy to read. It’s something you can digest in an afternoon.

Better yet: Ryan, unlike many others, has the credentials to write it. He is the mastermind behind much of the explosive success of American Apparel and Tucker Max. You can’t find anyone with more insider cred than that (he’s also a long time Global Guerrillas reader!).

The first book rips back the covers on our corrupt media system.

He shows how sites like Gawker, Huffington Post, Drudge, Brietbart, eHow (Demand Media), Daily Kos, Business Insider, and many others have ushered in the return of Yellow Journalism. We now live in an age where the news is manufactured and often based on brazen falsities. Why? Money. To generate a fraction of a cent per page view. Worse, these sites now drive the news we see in our increasingly bankrupt traditional media (CNN, ABC…). Where will the return of Yellow Journalism lead us? Who knows, but I can assure you it isn’t a good place.

The (more important) second book is an instruction manual on how to become an Alpha Predator of the media world.

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Jul 20

Review (Guest): The Open Source Everything Manifesto – Transparency, Truth & Trust

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Robert David Steele

5.0 out of 5 stars PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN!,June 24, 2012

B. Tweed DeLions “B.T.”

If there’s a single Founding Father of the Open Source movement, Robert D. Steele is it. Everyone else has been playing catchup. And if you don’t know what the Open Source revolution is, you need to read this book. You don’t even need to know why! You need to buy it, read it, and then you’ll *know* why. No other book on Open Source can open your eyes the way this one can. That’s because there’s no potential use of Open Source intelligence that Steele hasn’t anticipated. Collective Intelligence is coming! It’s an unstoppable force. And it will change everything. So if you like to know about things like that in advance, you need to buy this book.

The information age that was created by personal computers was just a kiddie car with a squeaky horn. By comparison, the open source revolution is a freight train. Its potential to change your world is orders of magnitude greater. This is not hyperbole. In fact superlatives can’t begin to express the ground-shaking potential of this next wave of human evolution.

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Jun 24

Review: NET SMART – How to Thrive Online

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Howard Rheingold

5.0 out of 5 stars Author is THE Path-Finder for Assisted Thinking,May 13, 2012

I first discovered Howard Rheingold through his book Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology. This led to my inviting him and with him, John Perry Barlow, to a conference in 1992, where over 600 intelligence professionals got to realize how far behind they were in relation to the art of the possible. We have stayed in touch over the years, and among his many other books, I also recommend as a prequel to this one, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.

Howard writes–and I read him–at multiple levels. Below I offer a couple of additional recommended readings for each level, with the assertion that you need this book in order to help your child learn what is not so obvious about the world–we can start with Google being math hacks on digital garbage.

Strategic. At the strategic level Howard sees the convergence of many minds connected and empowered by the Internet and related applications to create infinite wealth. He himself cites Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom to which I would add Alvin Toffler’s superb wrap up Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives.

Operational. At the operational level Howard is easily on of the top practitioners of “who you know is what you know” and I know of no one who better melds the tools from the tactical level and the vision from the strategic level to achieve the personal and communal efficacy embodied in a “smart community.” This book is a blend of how to make the most of who you know, what applications you use, and how you apply your own mind to include being super alert to the fact that 80% of the Internet is garbage. At this level I would point to two books, the first by David Weinberger, Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room and the second by Tom Atlee, Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics.

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May 13