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The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism Paperback – October 25, 2011


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The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism + The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History + Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 607 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616144785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616144784
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is absolutely one of the most thrilling (I mean that—it gives me goose bumps) books I have ever read."
—Robin Fox, Rutgers University

"Impressive and stimulating. A tremendously enjoyable work."
—James Fallows, national correspondent for the Atlantic

"The Genius of the Beast is a tour de force."
—Washington Times

"In this recapitulation of the universe’s evolutionary thrust—and humanity’s part of it—Howard Bloom proves to be a provocative, even an inspiring, thinker."
—ForeWord Reviews

"Engrossing, uplifting, and educational . . . fascinating."
—Monsters and Critics

"I really could not put it down. Ultimately, I found the book a tremendously optimistic, motivating, exciting read that I look forward to tackling again."
—NewsReal

"Capitalism does indeed work, scholar Bloom boldly affirms in this at-once brash and well-considered treatise, in which, in his own words, he applies a new lens to viewing the entire course of Western civilization. . . . The problem . . . [lies] in the way capitalism has come to be viewed. This long, provocative, needs-to-be-read book seeks to rectify that situation. What he explains here, in detailed arguments, is that ‘capitalism and the Western system hide astonishing abilities.’ Spend time with this eye-opener."
—Booklist

"Riveting, brilliant, remarkable, distressing, optimistic, and beautifully written. A brilliant . . . history of the world."
—Michael Zilkha, CEO of Zilkha Biomass Energy

"Get this book and read it. Bloom’s assessments are thoughtful and inspiring. Thank you, Howard Bloom; you have bridged generations and thoughts and tied together facts that otherwise would have gone unnoticed."
—Zenpundit

About the Author

Howard Bloom has been called "the Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Freud of the twenty-first century" and "the next Stephen Hawking." He is the author of two acclaimed books, The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century. Those books have won praise from the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Wired, Foreign Affairs, and numerous other publications. A recent visiting scholar at New York University, Bloom is the founder of the International Paleopsychology Project, founder of the Space Development Steering Committee (a group that includes Buzz Aldrin and Edgar Mitchell) and founding board member of the Epic of Evolution Society. He has appeared on Good Morning America, the CBS Morning News, CBS Nightwatch, the BBC, and over one hundred other media outlets.

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More About the Author

"I know a lot of people. A lot. And I ask a lot of prying questions. But I've never run into a more intriguing biography than Howard Bloom's in all my born days. What's so striking, besides the you-gotta-be-kidding details, is the coherence of the narrative -- the arc that still has Bloom thinking and striving with regard to space, science, transcendence, and simple clarity, 55 years later. Sweet." Paul Solman, Business and Economics Correspondent, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer _______________

Howard Bloom has been called "the Darwin, Einstein, Newton, and Freud of the 21st Century" by Britain's Channel4 TV and "the next Stephen Hawking" by Gear Magazine.

Bloom calls his field "mass behavior" and explains that his area of study includes everything from the mass behavior of quarks to the mass behavior of human beings. He is the founder of three international scientific groups: The Group Selection Squad (started in 1995), The International Paleopsychology Project (1997), and The Space Development Steering Committee (2007), which includes Buzz Aldrin, Edgar Mitchell (the sixth man to set foot on the moon), and decision makers from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Air Force. And he's the founder of a mass-communications volunteer group that gets across scientific ideas using animation, The Big Bang Tango Media Lab (started in 2001).

Bloom comes from the world of cosmology, theoretical physics, and microbiology. But he did 20 years of fieldwork in the world of business and popular culture, where he tested his hypotheses in the real world. In 1968 Bloom turned down four graduate fellowships and embarked on what he calls his Voyage of the Beagle, an expedition to the dark underbelly where new myths, new historical movements, and new shifts in mass emotion are made.

The result: Bloom generated $28 billion in revenues (more than the gross domestic product of Oman or Luxembourg) for companies like Sony, Disney, Pepsi Cola, Coca Cola, and Warner Brothers. He accomplished this by taking profits out of the picture and focusing on passion and soul. He applied the same principle to star-making, helping build the careers of figures like Prince, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Bette Midler, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Billy Idol, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne, John Mellencamp, Queen, Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Run DMC, and roughly 100 others. Bloom also plunged into social causes. He helped Launch Farm Aid and Amnesty International in the United States, created two educational programs for the Black community, put together the first public-service radio advertising campaign for solar energy, and co-founded the leading national music anti-censorship movement in the United States, an organization that went toe-to-toe with Al Gore's wife Tipper and with the religious extremists manipulating her.

A former visiting scholar in the Graduate Psychology Department at New York University and a former Core Faculty Member at The Graduate Institute in two fields--Conscious Evolution and Organizational Leadership--Bloom is the author of four books: The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History ("mesmerizing"--The Washington Post), Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 21st Century ("reassuring and sobering"--The New Yorker), How I Accidentally Started The Sixties ("a monumental, epic, glorious literary achievement." Timothy Leary), and The Genius of the Beast: A Radical re-Vision of Capitalism ("exhilaratingly-written and masterfully-researched. I couldn't put it down."--James Burke).

But Bloom's chef d'oeuvre is a project of the kind that normally only lunatics undertake, the 5,700 chapters of what he unabashedly calls "The Grand Unified Theory of Everything In the Universe Including the Human Soul." Pavel Kurakin of the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow says that with the Grand Unified Theory of Everything In the Universe Including the Human Soul, "Bloom has created a new Scientific Paradigm. He explains in vast and compelling terms why we should forget all we know in complicated modern math and should start from the very beginning. ...Bloom's Grand Unified Theory... opens a window into entire systems we don't yet know and/or see, new...collectivities that live, love, battle, win and lose each day of our gray lives. I never imagined that a new system of thought could produce so much light."

Concludes Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Evolution's End and The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, "I have finished Howard Bloom's books, The Lucifer Principle and Global Brain, in that order, and am seriously awed, near overwhelmed by the magnitude of what he has done. I never expected to see, in any form, from any sector, such an accomplishment. I doubt there is a stronger intellect than Bloom's on the planet."

Customer Reviews

Howard Bloom is at once brilliant, funny and empathic.
Dr. Margaret Cochran
Bloom's marketing background is clearly at work in his style of writing, as is his complete lack of a background in just about every other field he approaches.
Uri
I recommend this book to anyone with a conservative bend because it will make any feeling of shame go away.
Carmen T. Verenna

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Kennedy on December 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I admit I bought this thinking it had been written by Harold Bloom, the Harvard literary don. So I was surprised when I began reading Genius of the Beast and came up against this writer's hyperbolic style, a style which would be familiar to any advertising copywriter.

Bloom is described somewhere in the multiple blurbs all over this book as a marketing genius, and that's what I'll happily take him as. As a revolutionary thinker? His argument boils down to "Technology will save us", nothing I haven't read anywhere before.

What is exceptional about the book is the way Bloom hypes his ideas. He's broadly read, and seems to enjoy synthesizing ideas from a variety of specializations and making them his own.

The book is conceived in a series of 'mini' chapters, each of which present one idea simply, and then, in a snowball effect, Bloom rolls them all together.

Personally, I found his insanely over-amped style (which is reflected in the tone of some of the other reviews here) to be counter-productive. Like the language of brilliant advertising, it's there to gloss over something.

However, on the positive side, Bloom is clearly a positive and ambitious thinker, not to be dismissed.
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84 of 102 people found the following review helpful By HPN on January 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As other reviewers have written, Howard Bloom's "The Genius of the Beast" is unorganized and haphazardly written. It is also full of errors, stretched analogies and made up word jumbles (secular genesis machine?!?). Frankly, it reads as a conclusion in search for any data point that might support it when squinted at just the right way.

As far as errors are concerned, the book has a complete misunderstanding of biology which Bloom claims helps to explain the cycle of boom/bust in a human economy. I'm a biologist, so these errors jump out at me, and I shudder to think about the number of errors in the rest of the book that I didn't pick up because they related to other fields of expertise. For example, Bloom goes on for an entire chapter about the Dictyostelium slime mold, yet continuously calls it a bacterium (which it is not, and is like writing about dogs and calling them snails). He also has no idea about the biological role of microtubules inside the cell, yet uses their inherent dynamic instability (but a small bit of their cellular function) to try and explain worldwide economies. These and his honeybee and evolution analogies show that he has no understanding about these topics besides what he managed to glean from reading one or two magazine articles about them (including references in the back to primary literature doesn't mean he read or understood them). And if he did understand them, then letting these errors into his prose suggests he doesn't care about accuracy but only in furthering his thesis (SPOILER: which is that capitalism is good. No idea how this makes it a radical re-vision of the topic).
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By J. Scott Shipman on November 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Bloom may have a modern-day classic in this book. He has managed to perform a work of consilence on the history of man (life, really) and provide insight in the how's, what's, where's, and why's of capitalism and how we treat customers and each other. I must admit as a newcomer to Bloom's work, the first 130 pages left me wondering, "where is he going?" Bloom provides an extraordinary grasp of machinations and implications of capitalism, warts and all---he leaves no stone unturned in his critical assessments and his heart-felt endorsements. He provides not only reasons for hope, but proven tools and methods to get things done. The intellectual honesty and power of his thesis cannot be ignored. Strongest recommendation!
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55 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Steve Waite on December 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a fan of Bloom's previous book "Global Brain," I was looking forward to delving into "The Genius of the Beast" (The Beast) and writing a 5-star review. But, sadly, after reading the book, there is no 5-star review from this reader. I found The Beast disappointing on all counts. I found the writing sloppy and the organization and flow of the chapters disjointed. One moment I am reading about the dynamics of bee hives and ants and the next moment I am reading about Bloom's personal adventures in the music business. My sense is that the author was having fun, a blast perhaps, trying to weave all this disjointed information together in a coherent fashion to support his main argument, but I found his excursions were a distraction. My primary problem with the book, however, is that there is nothing radical about the author's re-vision of capitalism. Bloom, through his research and experience, has discovered that capitalism is superior to other economic systems. Whoa! What a discovery! I hate to be sarcastic here, but I just don't get it. Anybody that has seriously studied economics and the science of complexity could tell you that capitalism is superior to socialism, communism, and all the other isms as an engine of economic progress. Perhaps Bloom's political leanings and background have prevented him from seeing what it obvious to any serious student of economics and complexity. I don't know the man so I cannot say. Those who are familiar with George Gilder's "Wealth and Poverty," Michael Rothschild's "Bionomics, " M.Read more ›
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