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: Partnership for the Americas – Western Hemisphere Strategy and U.S. Southern Command

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James Stavridis

5.0 out of 5 stars Our Best Thinking to Date — We Can Go Much Further, December 24, 2014

This is the pre-cursor book to The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO which I have reviewed most favorably and strongly recommend. This book — while free online as are all NDU Press books, is a very high quality production with some complex graphics and color photographs. It is fairly priced and absolutely recommended in print if you favor books you can hold in your hands.

There have been other books by military commanders but to the best of my knowledge only General Tony Zinni, USMC (then commanding the US Central Command with two wars and 12 task forces) and General Wesley Clark, USA (then commanding NATO during the Kosovo mess) have risen to what this book strives to be, a gold standard for whole of government multinational engagement.

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Dec 24

Review: The New Story – Storytelling as a Pathway to Peace

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Inger Lise Oelrich

5.0 out of 5 stars Addresses a Major Vacuum in Our Approach to Any Challenge, 16 Dec 2014

This is a hugely important book that I hope will become popular in the USA, and translated into other languages. I learned of its existence while attending a Findhorn Foundation event in Scotland, “The New Story Summit.” At one point there was a discussion of how United Nations “peacekeepers” are sent in to keep the peace but do so at the point of a gun, without any training in human interaction or the fundamentals of story-telling, narrative weaving, listening, observing, and all the other human “arts.” This one story impressed me greatly.

Having now read the book, I want to emphasize my enchantment by confessing that I am a Naked Truth kind of person, the diametric opposite of the Story Teller. As with UN peacekeepers, I have been badly trained, equipped, and organized for a world in which conversation and story-telling are alternatives to confrontation and violence.

Although the author and the book focus on the role of story-telling in relation to peace-making, I would emphasize its value in creating common prosperity at well — in creating the means of self-governance with respect for the limits of nature and the importance of doing no harm.

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Dec 17