Review: Cool Tools – A Catalog of Possibilities

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Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars An Education, Bank, and Theater All In One — This is NOT a “Coffee Table” Book, March 14, 2014

I received this book as a gift from the author — we go back many years, and I was glad to review one of his earlier books,Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World, later also reviewing New Rules for the New Economy.

Talking with Kevin after I received and went through the book, I learned that it is being described as a “coffee table” book in some circles. Let’s kill that idea right away. This is NOT a coffee table book! Coffee table books in my own mind are slick superficial collections of photos with big print, meant to keep people occupied for a few minutes while they wait for their appointment.

This book is an education. Yes, it is a successor to the Whole Earth Catalog and a logical follow-on to that catalog and the Whole Earth Review’s tools section, but on top of that is the existing modern website kk.org/coooltools/. It is not just about “tools.” More or less the Whole Earth is covered in this book, with treehouses being one of my favorities (also underground houses). It covers books, methods, gardens, communications, design, places, and the family.

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Mar 14

BUCKY 2.0: Buckminster Fuller at Amazon

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller

These are listed in order of their most recent publication rather than their original publication dates as Amazon has never understood the value of including first edition dates. Dave Buck merits huge appreciation for having instigated a movement to place many of Buckminster Fuller’s works back into a visible platform such as Amazon provides….and reasonably priced as well — each of these is a public treasure. We have added, below the line, books related to Buckminster Fuller, by others. We strongly recommend use of the reviews before making any purchase. 

2010 DVD The World of Buckminster Fuller (Microcinema)

2009 Education Automation: Comprehensive Learning for Emergent Humanity (Lars Muller Publishers)

2008 Grunch of Giants (Design Science Press)

2008 Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (Lars Muller Publishers)

2008 Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity (Lars Muller Publishers)

2005 DVD Buckminster Fuller: The Lost Interviews (UFO TV)

2004 Guinea Pig B: The 56 Year Experiment (Critical Pathpub)

 

2004 AUDIO Only Integrity Is Going To Count (Critical Pathpub)

2002 Critical Path 2nd Revised Edition (Saint Martin’s Griffin)

1992 MAP Fuller Projection Dymaxion Air-ocean World (Buckminster Fuller Institute)

1992 Cosmography: A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity (Macmillan)

1990 DVD Basic Bucky: R. Buckminster Fuller (Masters & Masterworks)

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Feb 19

Review: Saucers, Swastikas and Psyops: A History of A Breakaway Civilization: Hidden Aerospace Technologies and Psychological Operations

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Amazon Page

Jospeh P. Farrell

5.0 out of 5 stars This is an Information Operations / Counterintelligence Hidden Gem, December 23, 2012

The cover does this book a dis-service. This is a SERIOUS book that should be used in serious courses of instruction for both Information Operations (IO) and Counterintelligence (CI). The book lacks an index, a terrible mistake on the part of the publisher, but I have to say the notes are world-class and this book earns my intuitive respect quickly.

This book is a bit rough but I put it at a solid five stars and even considered six (my top ten percent across 1800+ books) because this book does something extraordinary:

01 It makes the case for UFOs being a terrestial Information Operations (IO) Psychological Operation (PSYOP — never plural).

02 It connects US underground tunnel civilization (a possible explanation for the Pentagon’s missing 2.3 trillion) and advanced technologies including “Nazi physics” versus “Jewish physics”

03 It connects the Rockefeller-Morgan Nazi-philes, Latin America, Switzerland, the Bank of International Settlements, and the drug cartels — in other words, this is also an excellent reading for Counterintelligence (CI).

I draw two major insights from this book:

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Dec 23

Review: Designing a World that Works For All: Solutions & Strategies for Meeting the World’s Needs

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Medard Gabel

5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary Sequel, Second Book in Series,October 30, 2012

This is the second book in the series, the first was Designing a World That Works for All: How the Youth of the World are Creating Real-World Solutions for the UN Millenium Development Goals and Beyond. They are different books, not the same book. This book brings in new perspectives and new initiatives from the design labs that occurred after the first book was published.

I have known Medard Gabel for close to a decade, and while disclosing that he is one of the contributors to the non-profit Earth Intelligence Network that I funded when I had money, I consider him, as the co-creator with Buckminster Fuller of the analog World Game, and as the designer of both the digital Earth Dashboard for the UN and the digital EarthGame for all of us, to be in a class of his own. He is unique.

Medard Gabel is modest–the blurbs do not do justice to him or his work or the incredibly talented and imaginative individuals (not just youth, but mid-career professionals) that he attracts to this calling.

I have participated in two of his design labs and recommend them to one an all. Everyone enters with their own issue area (urban planning, energy, whatever) and halfway through they experience the “aha” moment (epiphany for Republicans)–everything is connected and NOTHING can be planned, programmed, budgeted, or executed without integrating everything.

As Russell Ackoff likes to say, what is good for one part of the system might be very bad for all the other parts. Comprehensive architecture and prime design–all threats, all policies, all demographics–are the future.

Other high-level books that I recommend with this one are:

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Oct 30

Review: Homeland Earth

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Edgar Morin and Anne Brigitte Kern

5.0 out of 5 stars Six Star Keeper – Joins Durant, Fuller, Ackoff,July 1, 2012

This is a PHENOMENAL book, a joint effort by Edgar Moron, whose life’s work includes Method: Towards a Study of Humankind, Vol. 1: The Nature of Nature (American University Studies Series, No. 5, Philosophy, Vol. 3). Today I am ordering Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future (Education on the Move). The translators Sean M. Kelly and Roger LaPointe merit recognition — this is as fine a translation of a complex mind’s work as I have ever encountered.

I donated my entire library to George Mason University when I joined the United Nations in 2010 (little realizing the depth of the corruption I would encounter — and soon leave in the same year). Among all my books, I kept back three: Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition, Lessons of History 1ST Edition, and Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure. This book joins that august group.

If I were president of a university, these four books would be required reading, along perhaps with High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them and Designing a World That Works for All: How the Youth of the World are Creating Real-World Solutions for the UN Millenium Development Goals and Beyond.

Since Look Inside the Book is not provided for this extraordinary work, I will list the 9 chapter here (each with over ten sub-titles not listed here):

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Jul 1

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 (Guest): Ralph Peters on The Open Source Everything Manifesto – Transparency, Truth & Trust

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Robert David Steele

Brave, provocative and valuable June 6, 2012

By Ralph H. Peters

Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase

Read this compact book in an evening–and think about it for a year. Robert Steele long as been one of our most interesting and challenging thinkers (although his writing is clear–a reflection of clear thought), and this book is a cri de couer, his “Give me liberty, or give me death!” demand that our government, our system and our citizenry rethink the far from benevolent disorder into which we have lured ourselves.

My review cannot do justice to the richness of thought compressed in this book. Nor do I agree with every proposition the author raises–that’s not the point, which is to spur us to liberated, creative thought. But I very strongly recommend this book to every citizen, no matter his or her political hue, who is unafraid of facing the future and who dares to embrace change.

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Jun 6

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

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Robert David Steele

5.0 out of 5 stars End Result of Quarter Century Walk-About,June 5, 2012

Updated 27 June: Why on earth is this book in top 100 for Espionage? I can only speculate that because I am a former spy, trained over 7,500 intelligence professionals, and have been an arch critic of secret intelligence ever since my 1988 conversion experience, that those who know me or know of my work have tane an interest in the book. They are correct to do so. As the image I have loaded above with the cover, entitled “Intelligence Maturity,” clearly depicts, the craft of intelligence must evolve away from an obsession with spies and secrets and move rapidly through open sources and methods to M4IS2 (Multinational Multiagency Multidisciplinary Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making). Smart Nations and public intelligence in the public interest are the center of gravity for creating a world that works for all, not spies and secrecy that work more often than not for the 1% instead of the 99%.

Now that Look Inside the Book is up, I have deleted the table of contents and the list of opens I provided early on, and thank all those who went ahead with buying the book (Amazon has the lowest price I know of)—you helped put the book in Top 100 for Democracy most days since the book came out — Top 50 on 17 June. Although fleeting, these rankings are a small sign that the Open Source Everything meme has arrived.

The book evolved from my January 2007 keytone to Chris Prillo’s Gnomedex in Seattle, the 64 minute video (and various shorter remixes including one that has gone around Anonymous circles) easily found by searching for < YouTube Steele Gnomedex 2007 > without the brackets. Contact Random House Special Markets to buy the book by the case at whatever discount is the norm for them. I am very eager to receive invitations to talk about this topic, especially in relation to the November 2007 “election” that pits one wing of the two-party tyranny against the other wing, with no difference for We the People.

I have to credit Tom Atlee, Jim Rough, Harrison Owen, Buckminster Fuller, Russell Ackoff, David Weinberger, Lawrence Lessig, Kent Myers, among many others, for the raw material that helped me flip the tortilla–this book is a rejection of tyranny, toxicity, and theft in favor of transparency, truth, and trust. I list a few books below, but point to all 1800+ of my non-fiction rewviews as relevant to the evolution of my thinking since I recognized the pathology of secret intelligence and rule by secrecy.

At Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog I have and will continue to post three short excerpts from each chapter (up to Chapter 5 as of this update), and also posted the 33 graphics as color slides, and an interview by Warren Pollock of myself, 11 minutes long. He is a gifted interviewer and video editor, extracted with precision and presented with flair.

This book completes the circle I started walking in 1988.

Robert Steele
ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World

See Also:

Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
The Tao of Democracy: Using co-intelligence to create a world that works for all
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World
Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure
Redesigning Society (Stanford Business Books)
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
The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
Reflexive Practice: Professional Thinking for a Turbulent World
The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education (Wiley Desktop Editions)

List of Opens and Online Ordering Links Below

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Jun 5

Review: Ecological Economics – Principles and Applications (Second Edition)

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Herman Daly

5.0 out of 5 stars Nobel Level Foundation for Resilience & Sustainability, February 1, 2012

Dr. Herman E. Daly may well be a future Nobel Prize winner …he is especially well-regarded in Norway and Sweden, where he has received prizes one step short of the Nobel. He is the author, co-author, or primary contributing editor of many books that fully integrate the disciplines of economics and ecology. I bought the three most recent for the purpose of selecting one to give out at my annual Global Information Forum. I ended up choosing For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, in part because it is available in paperback and is not a more expensive “trade” publication; and in part because it is strong in laying out specific ecological policy areas in the context of a strong theological or ethical perspective. More on that in its own review.

Of the three books (the third one that I reviewed is Valuing the Earth: Economics, Ecology, Ethics) this, the text-book, is assuredly the most up-to-date and the most detailed. If you are buying only one book for yourself, this is the one that I recommend, because these are important issues and a detailed understanding is required with the level of detail that this book provided. It should, ideally, be read with “Valuing the Earth” first (see my separate review of that book, from the 1970s updated with 1990s material and new contributions), then “For the Common Good”, and finally the text book as a capstone. But if you buy only one, buy this one.

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Feb 1

Review: Whole Earth Discipline – An Ecopragmatist Manifesto

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Stewart Brand

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising, Challenges, Perhaps Wrong on Some Points,September 13, 2011

This book is an absorbing read, and several of the top reviews are very useful to anyone considering buying the book (also available in paperback, Amazon is now NOT crossing reviews over from different forms, a mistake in my view, but perhaps motivated by their trying to give the millions of new reviewers a starting point against those of us who have been reviewing books on Amazon for eleven years.

This book can read at multiple levels, and I dare to say that to reach each additional level, a second and third reading of the book is required.

Level 1: An overview of books that Stewart Brand has read and his general sense of the world.

Level 2: A deeper engagement with his thinking on climate change, urbanization, and biotechnology

Level 3: A very deep and necessarily skeptical reading of his book, mindful of many areas where he may be wrong while appreciating the extraordinary lifetime of intellectual and ethical leadership that he brings to bear–this is the man who created Co-Evolution Quarterly, Whole Earth Review, the Silicon Valley Hacker’s Conference that I was elected to in 1994 and am attending this year (4-6 November), and the Clock of the Long Now, as well as Global Business Network and other initiatives. He is in brief, one of a dozen minds I consider “root” for whatever good we might muster in the USA in the near term, along with Tom Atlee and a handful of others.

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Sep 13