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Notes from the Edge Times Hardcover – October 14, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pinchbeck's newest is a collection of essays about the transitional period in which the world currently finds itself. Looking at environmental issues like climate change, food shortages, and natural disasters, as well as the recent economic collapse, Pinchbeck returns to themes from his last book (2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl), focusing on the need for a new spiritual paradigm and practical structure for human civilization if we are to survive. He cites limited amounts of economic data, most of it at an anecdotal or survey level, and focuses a great deal on paranormal speculation and theories that won't convince skeptics that Pinchbeck is anything but a raving conspiracy theorist. While the author's quiet openness to being wrong is a refreshing trait in extreme believers of any stripe, it won't be enough to assure new readers that Pinchbeck has any answers (or even substantial ideas); rather, readers will likely find Pinchbeck yet another person claiming in his own way that the world is on a one-way course towards imminent self-immolation. Fans of his previous books may find this welcome and refreshing, but those unfamiliar won't find this a book of note.
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About the Author

Author Daniel Pinchbeck has deep personal roots in the New York counterculture of the 1950s and 1960s. His father was an abstract painter, and his mother, Joyce Johnson, was a member of the Beat Generation and dated Jack Kerouac as On the Road hit the bestseller lists in 1957 (chronicled in Johnson’s bestselling book, Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir). Pinchbeck was a founder of the 1990s literary magazine Open City with fellow writers Thomas Beller and Robert Bingham. He has written for many publications, including Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone. In 1994, he was chosen by The New York Times Magazine as one of “Thirty Under Thirty” destined to change our culture.

Pinchbeck lives in New York’s East Village, where he is editorial directory of Reality Sandwich (www.realitysandwich.com). He writes a column, Prophet Motive, for Conscious Enlightment publishing (www.cemagazines.com), which appears in Conscious Choice (Chicago), Conscious Choice (Seattle), Whole Life Times (LA), and Common Ground (SF).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; First Edition edition (October 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158542837X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585428373
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,384,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in the New York counterculture of the 1970s and '80s. My father, Peter Pinchbeck, was an abstract painter, and my mother, Joyce Johnson, is a writer who participated in the Beat Generation. She was dating Jack Kerouac when On the Road hit the bestseller lists in 1957 (chronicled in her book, Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir). As a journalist, I have written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, etcetera. I am currently the editorial director of the Evolver Project (www.evolver.net).

In my late twenties, I fell into a deep spiritual crisis that led me to the study of shamanism and psychedelic susbtances. My first book, Breaking Open the Head, recounted my initiation into several tribal cultures that use hallucinogens in their rituals. Over time, I became convinced of the legitimacy of the shamanic and mystical worldview held by indigenous peoples around the world. This led me to my most recent book, 2012, a study of prophecy.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By R. Elliott Ingersoll on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I worry about Daniel Pinchbeck. After studying and enjoying his first two thought-provoking works, this one strikes me as bitter essays from an isolated person who rather than being "on the edge" is losing his edge.

There are many interesting themes but nothing really new. Where he could have spent time trying to verify the phenomena he covered in his 2012 book, he just leaps into new speculations. While there is plenty to check out (e.g. the action of electromagnetic fields on the mind/brain unit) he bypasses recent developments (repetitive Magnetic Transcranial Stimulation) and settles for speculation ("electromagnetic or acoustic energy waves can alter individual's hardware system and manipulate data stored in their psyche" p. 64).

Most problematic for me is his tendency to bifurcate large issues. Numerous times he makes statements like "the fall of capitalism and the crisis of the biosphere could induce mass despair and misery, or they could impel the creative adaptation and conscious evolution of the human species" (p. 129). Well, there is a whole gray area between those extremes including what we are doing now - limping along in denial.

Another thing that bothered me was I recall Pinchbeck mentioning a wife or "partner" and having a child in his 2012 book (pp. 62 and 73 in 2012 respectively). In this book he mentions "separation from my last partner" (p.35) and there is no mention of his child (or any other). This is a fatal flaw in utopian and dystopian art/literature whether the rantings of Ayn Rand or the Martix movies - children rarely can be fit into the two-dimensional scenarios that utopias and dystopias rely on.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Carl Frank on December 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Folks looking to Daniel Pinchbeck to provide them with further power plant-fueled spiritual insight or interesting commentary on strange phenomena may be disappointed. This book is for people who have moved beyond "Can you help me sort myself out?" and "What the heck is going on?" and are now asking "What can we do?" As is the case with many artists and writers, Pinchbeck moves at a pace that may be inconsistent with many members of his/her audience and as such they get left behind. Moving beyond contemplation and toward action, this book asks (and answers) many extremely difficult questions facing our world today and does so without degenerating into mystical concepts that so often follow this type of information. "Notes...." is a cold bucket of water in the face and offers real-world, practical, doable solutions that anyone, not just the "enlightened", can try out for themselves. The suggestion here is that in order to transform the deteriorating, toxic world of human affairs as it currently exists, we must not challenge it or seek to destroy it through confrontational means, we must simply abandon it and start building a better one alongside of it. As we lemmings blindly follow the herd and race to our death, Daniel Pinchbeck has seen the cliff and is standing off to one side, calling out to anyone near enough to hear him: "Hey! Over here!"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott Grimmwise on December 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a collection of essays culled from the author's website over several years' time. That being the case, a hardcover edition feels like overkill. That said, it delivers what it promises. I appreciate the multiple references to Buckminster Fuller, whose work is increasing relevant in this 'touch-and-go' world.

As always, I've added several obscure writers/thinkers to my reading list. Can't wait to see what 2013 looks like!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If your looking to buy this book with the expectation that Pinchbeck is going to share tons of new insight on many of the topics from his incredible last two books, don't. This book isn't a book in the normal sense that every chapter in it is all supposed to interconnect and introduce new ideas to the reader, rather it is what it says it is. A collection of essays from his Reality Sandwhich site dating back to 2007. For the commenter below who just simply dismissed the book as a "advertisement for his Evolver website", well that couldn't be further from the truth. There is only one chapter towards the end of the book that discusses how it came about, and even still , if this book is promoting his website, let him. Where is the harm in informing the blinded mainstream society about a site devoted to "contributing to a new planetary culture based on ecological values, creative collaboration, and conscious evolution." I have become an avid reader of everything that Pinchbeck has put out so far, and am currently in the process of finishing up both "2012: The Return of Quetzacoatl" and "Breaking Open the Head". That being said, despite the redundancy in the theme of some of his messages, I still found lots of the essays insightful and thought provoking. I feel as if this book is best suited as an introduction to some of Pinchbecks ideas and philosophies, and if you are new to his works, I'd say pick this one up first. I also found this book useful since it led me to the discovery of many books and authors that I hadn't known of before, such as Naomi Klein and Richard Greer. So for those familiar with Pinchbeck's work, don't shy away from this book due to the reviews below. I still found a bevy of information that wasn't present in his past works. For those new to Pinchbeck, pick this up , as its a proper primer for both "2012" and "Breaking Open The Head."
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