Profile for John Robb > Reviews

Browse

John Robb's Profile

Customer Reviews: 11
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,975,125
Helpful Votes: 351


Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
John Robb "Global Guerrilla" RSS Feed (Boston)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Influx
Influx
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, February 24, 2014
This review is from: Influx (Kindle Edition)
Really simple. If you want to read a great sci fi book. This is it.

As with all great sci fi, it prepares your mind for a rapidly changing future (something we need now more than ever).

Dan delivers that, as he always does. IN particular, one of the best characters in the book is a very scary AI prison guard/nanny.

Lots of us are going to meet that AI in the future, here's a taste.

John Robb

Brave New War
American Nightmare


Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
by Ryan Holiday
Edition: Hardcover
47 used & new from $3.89

62 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Become an Alpha Predator of the Media, July 19, 2012
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.

Ryan shows, in detail, how to manipulate the online news cycles. How to get inside the decision making system of the big online news sites and to turn that into a story on CNN. It's relatively easy if you know how the game is played, and Ryan shows you how to play it. If you follow his advice to the letter, you have a chance of becoming an Alpha predator of the online world. Able to rip down opponents (political, corporate, etc.) with planted news, and to sell product in volume using trumped up controversy.

So, if you are involved in PR, social media, marketing, or sales of any kind -- BUY this book immediately. IN fact, if you are using a PR or marketing professional that hasn't read this book, fire the immediately.

Final note: Ryan should have kept this book to himself and sold his services to a dozen select clients (hedge funds interested in manufacturing financial results, media moguls, etc.). Why? Buying his services would be like getting Ariana Huffingon, Rupert Murdoch, or (the late) Andrew Brietbart as a confident. Instead, he published it for everyone to access. So, get his services on the cheap. Buy this book and keep it handy for reference as you take over the world.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2012 10:49 AM PDT


Kill Decision
Kill Decision
by Daniel Suarez
Edition: Hardcover
58 used & new from $0.01

60 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious Explosion Kills Daniel Suarez, Author of Best Selling Drone Thriller, July 19, 2012
This review is from: Kill Decision (Hardcover)
Daniel Suarez has done it again (Daemon, Freedom). He's written the tech thriller of the year.

He's managed to get his mind around the most complex and terrifying military technology of our time, DRONES, and turn it into a thriller that will keep on the edge of your seat.

What is a drone and why is it terrifying? It's a flying robot that can kill with precision. Drones are currently being used across the world from Pakistan to Yemen to the Philippines, to continuously watch and kill people. Already, thousands of people are being killed by drones each year, and that number will rapidly grow beyond everyone's expectations. Why? Moore's law. Drones are going to get very cheap and very smart much faster than anyone anticipates (in the same way cell phones and personal computers got cheap and powerful). That means they will be many, many more of them, used very often, in a plethora of places.

This is where Dan Suarez steps in. He takes this lethal technology and projects it forward in a way that feels right. Why? He (rightly) uses myrmecology (the study of ants, think E.O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition) as his pattern for the evolution of drone technology.
He then puts it into a fast paced story replete with military special operators (in SAPs), corrupt defense contractors, and lots of very creepy drones -- which combine to keep you on the edge of your seat.

So, BUY this book. Treat yourself to an education, a thrill, and a scare all at the same time.

Read it before you see it in the theaters (this WILL become a movie).
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2013 2:12 AM PST


Freedom (TM)
Freedom (TM)
by Daniel Suarez
Edition: Hardcover
96 used & new from $0.01

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A SciFi take on the next American Revolution, January 14, 2010
This review is from: Freedom (TM) (Hardcover)
Click, don't walk, to order Freedom TM, the new book by Daniel Suarez. This is a continuation of his first book Daemon (also a great read, and worth reading before you get this book).

In short, it is a fictional account of the next American revolution (AR 2.0) using resilient communities, open source warfare, systems disruption, automated tyranny, individual super-empowerment, global financial parasites, games as learning/social systems, the privatization of warfare, hollow nation-states, etc, (essentially, a new way to look at the world, hence the buzzwords) as central themes. Very cool.

Granted, this is a work of fiction. It does contain some future, yet to be developed, tech (although this is limited, in large part, to near term advances in augmented reality, not much father along than what Google and MIT are demoing now) and some plot devices (mad genius) to advance the story. I happen to enjoy that, but even it you don't, it in no way takes away from the quality of the reading experience. It's fast paced, compelling, and fun.

For people thinking about the future of warfare, society, economics, etc. : this book will get you thinking in new and useful ways.

IF you get a chance, take a look at Daniel's video presentation on the rise of bots entitled, "Bot Mediated Reality" (The Long Now Foundation). It's pretty scary.
[...]

Also, if you are interested in building something similar to darknet (a game based social system), let me know. I'm working on doing that right now. See Global Guerrillas blog for details.
[...]


Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects
Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects
by Dmitry Orlov
Edition: Paperback
55 used & new from $0.01

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Survive the Collapse of the US, June 2, 2008
NOTE: Dimtry graciously sent me a PDF of his book's early manuscript so I was able to provide some feedback. Thanks!

Reinventing Collapse makes three points:

>> The similarities between the US and the USSR, as countries that distorted their political and economic systems to become global superpowers, were/are greater than the differences. The implication is that the US will suffer a fate similar to the USSR: economic, political, and social collapse.

>>A comparison of the US and USSR's economic and social systems reveals that at a deep level, the US is much less resilient than the USSR. This implies that a collapse of the US will be substantially worse than the experience of the Soviet Union.

>>A series of insights on how to survive the collapse of a superpower (this is my favorite section).

It's a thought provoking read.

John Robb, author of Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization


McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld
by Misha Glenny
Edition: Hardcover
139 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Global Disorder, June 2, 2008
Glenny dutifully documents, in exquisite detail, the rise of transnational criminal organizations in every global region.

Simple formula: morally neutral global economic platform + economic/social distress = the rapid proliferation and unabated growth of transnational criminal organizations.

Without a fundamental revision of global governance (not very likely), we will soon become very familiar with local variants of the stories he documents.

John Robb, author of: Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization


The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730
The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730
by Benerson Little
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.17
40 used & new from $9.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PIRATE ENTREPRENEURSHIP 101, April 17, 2008
Benerson Little, a former Navy SEAL, has written an excellent reference work on how piracy actually worked. In short, it's not anything like the mythical descriptions we get from cinema or novels.

The depth and breadth of his scholarship, as evidenced by this work, is highly commendable. He ranges from detailed descriptions/explorations of weapons and tactics to the dynamics of contracts, leadership, and organization. It was an excellent read and I particularly liked it since it provided me more insight into how warfare, outside the confines of most forms of legality or convention, is waged in a modern context.

For example: He details how a pirate crew is put together, from financing to recruitment to employment contracts (the articles) to financial compensation. To me, this was valuable since many of the financial dynamics he details are present in modern criminal economies, from the cyber crime of the Russian Business Network to the IED cell operating in Iraq.

Another example: Very precise examination of the armaments and ships used by pirates to ply their trade. Everything from the advantages of multi-shot and flintlocks to the efficacy of oars and canoes. For me, it was a very illuminating exploration of how weaponry can be altered to provide tactical advantages to an outnumbered and outgunned attacker.

So, if you are interested in finding out how pirates truly operated - or - you want to gain a more insight into 21st Century guerrilla warfare, this is the book for you. Buy it today, read it, and pass it on to a friend.

Final note: Benerson should be giving classes on this subject at Annapolis and West Point (I am sure he would be oversubscribed).

Hope this helps,

John Robb
Author of: Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization


Terror and Consent : The Wars for the Twenty-First Century
Terror and Consent : The Wars for the Twenty-First Century
by Philip Bobbitt
Edition: Hardcover
92 used & new from $0.73

153 of 207 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A PRIVATIZED WORLD AND ITS ENEMIES, April 5, 2008
Bobbitt graciously sent me a pre-production copy of this book. Unfortunately, the book is a complex and legalistic edifice based on several flawed assumptions.

To save you the time required to read it. Here's a synopsis.

The premise of the book is that we are in the midst of a transition to a market-based global order. This means that the nation-state (and even the entire notion of public governance) will be replaced by corporate surrogates (via outsourcing) operating on a global level. The basis for the legitimacy of this new order will be that it offers individuals more choices than ever before (the political parallel to a fully stocked supermarket). However, its emergence will be at the expense of minimal safety nets and communitarian efforts.

The enemy of this newly emerging market-based system, and the main focus of this book, are (naturally) terrorists. Terrorists, Bobbitt claims, fight us because they hate the choices provided to us by this emerging market-world.

The way they fight us is by limiting our choices through terror. Terror, in this context, is essentially theater. In this theater, disgruntled people (Islamic terrorists and beyond) will use the threat of flamboyant attacks to limit the choices offered by the market-world. Since the market-state will continue to produce ever greater levels of choice to an ever greater number of people, this clash is inevitable. Therefore, our societal objective is to harden ourselves (through smart legal maneuvers and investments in infrastructure) to limit the the levels of terror that can be produced by our opponents. By doing this, we can buy time as the market-world continues to expand to ever greater numbers of people.

_________________________

I was hopeful that Bobbitt would approach terrorism in a more nuanced way than merely through the lens of the prevailing narrative fallacy (for example: "The Looming Tower"). Unfortunately, he didn't and his depiction of terrorism is merely as a means for disgruntled groups to negate choice (a variant of Bush's "they hate us for our freedoms").

A more complex and realistic view of terrorism is to approach it as illegal warfare directed against civilians. This warfare also has more complex objectives that merely limiting choices through the production of terror. In many cases, it advances the groups that conduct it economically, socially, etc. (usually at the expense of state competitors). For example: Nigeria's MEND, Brazil's PCC, Mexico's Cartels/Zetas, Lebanon's Hezbollah, Colombia's FARC, Peru's Sendero Luminoso and most of the groups in Iraq/Afghanistan (who advance through smuggling/corruption/etc.). Unfortunately, Bobbitt didn't deviate from the simplistic view of terrorism and his book suffers mightily from the result.

I also have a problem with the market-state and market-world construct. First, it's vague. Second, it is potentially ruinous. While choices may be available, it says nothing of your ability (your means) to exercise those choices. Who cares if the supermarket offers unlimited choice if you can't afford anything but the generics? It's very likely a market-state would reduce human worth to a mere economic value at the cost of the bonds that hold us together as a community. Perversely, this would serve to create the very violent groups that use terrorism to advance their own economic/social level, since no other values have any power to mitigate/dissuade an impulse to violence. In short, Bobbitt's market-state, a society legitimized by "choice" alone, is insufficiently credible as something we should a) help emerge and b) defend.

Hope this helps.

John Robb, author of:
Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2013 6:01 PM PST


If We Can Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration
If We Can Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration
by Chet Richards
Edition: Paperback
9 used & new from $28.59

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right-sizing US Defense, March 9, 2008
The US spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined: a staggering sum of more than $0.75 Trillion (on an "all in" basis that includes hidden costs like the care of veterans) a year. It also, given the extremely competitive global economic environment we find ourselves in, runs counter to the great lesson of the Cold War: you cannot sacrifice long term economic success for short term military superiority (as the Soviets found out).

So what should the right size of the US Defense system be, given the threats we currently face today and may face tomorrow?

Chet argues that the amount of conventional military force necessary to defend the US is substantially smaller than it is today. All of the tasks we may undertake, from war with other states to counter-proliferation to counter-terrorism to counter-insurgency, require only a small fraction of the military forces we currently field.

He does make one exception though: wars of national liberation. He argues that wars of national liberation to oust foreign occupiers (where we are the occupiers) is the only scenario where large armies are required. However, since his review of the historical evidence demonstrates that these wars cannot be won by the occupier and that there is little to be gained by doing so in the first place, we should configure our foreign policy to avoid them. If we do so, we would then be free to right-size our forces to meet the real threats to our national security.

In his final section, Chet makes the case that a much small conventional force (Marines + special ops + air assets + some strategic) in addition to beefed up diplomacy and intelligence functions would cost much less than what we are currently spending (~$300 billion a year) but offer us much more security.


BioShock
BioShock
Offered by lotusgames
Price: $30.16
76 used & new from $2.50

17 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Game will exceed the capacity of your machine to run it successfully, August 23, 2007
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: BioShock (Video Game)
This game was built for only those customers that have the newest (less than one year old) and most expensive graphics cards. Do not buy it unless your PC's capabilities can exceed the recommended requirements. Minimum requirements don't matter, it will be so slow and lacking in detail that you will be unsatisfied. There are also hidden graphics requirements (like the shader problem) that could make it impossible even to play the game at all. As someone that has bought over 250 games over the past 20 years, I was sorry to see that 2K software didn't understand understand the basics about shipping software that meets customer needs.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2007 4:14 AM PDT


Page: 1 | 2