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Robert David STEELE Vivas RSS Feed (Oakton, VA United States)
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On the Nature of Leadership
On the Nature of Leadership
by Richard A. Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $41.80
32 used & new from $29.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Paradigm Shifting Book -- Destroys Existing Leadership "Industry", July 13, 2015
I received this book as a "must read" gift from a colleague finishing his doctorate with a focus on transformative leadership, and after reading it, I quite agree, to the point of rating this book at 6 stars (my top 10% across 2000 plus non-fiction books). In brief, this book is a massive detailed literature review that covers academic and practitioner definitions of leadership and finds them all wanting for the simple reason that they are mired in leadership as a supervisory hierarchical relationship in a reductionist system in which the followers are the means and the ends are defined by someone other than the followers.

This book can be read deeply or quickly, as you might wish. Read deeply, it is a systematic dismantling -- even trashing -- of the entire leadership "industry" and all of the books, all of the courses, all of the "best practices" that in the aggregate have left us with a world dominated by the 1% and the 99% impoverished and abused. The "leaders" have, in brief, lacked both intelligence and integrity.

I remember discussing this point with Harrison Owen, author of Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World and having him tell me that after he articulated his original concept of "open space" as explained in his earlier work, Open Space Technology: A User's Guide, to a top manager for a major national leadership association, he was told something along these lines: "You do realize that you have just destroyed the basis for a multi-billion dollar leadership training industry." Precisely.

There are several major aspects of this book and the approach to leadership that I want to highlight here with the observation that this book eliminates leaders and restores the Athenian concept of every citizen a leader, for the best of outcomes.

01 The West and its industrial hierarchies and scientific reductionalism have perverted the meaning of "ethics" which has in the past been about seeking the best means and best ends for the greater good of the community -- ethics as happiness as found in the Constitution of the USA is about the greater good, not selfish joy.

02 All organizations are political entities and communities, and in the ideal all should be democratic. Richard Wolf, author of Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media) speaks to this point on his own.

03 Michaiavelli's better known "The Prince" is not, in the author's view, Machiavelli's best work. He recommends instead -- and provides a detailed summary of -- Discourses.

04 Leadership is a process by which communities, enabled but not directed, adapt and transform. Status quo organizations do not have leaders, they have managers and supervisors.

05 Leadership is as important during the degenerative phases as in the constitution phrase. Leadership thus represents DEVIATION from CONVENTION. QUOTE (104): A person who consistently hods an unconventional view may be considered a deviant right up until the time when that unconventional view is widely discovered by others as the way to go."

06 Education today sucks at creating informed educated citizens ready to be co-leaders in a constructive democracy that works toward ends good for all. The author spends several pages slamming education for not teaching critical thinking and comprehensive understanding (replacing these with empiricism and experimental lucifera); with abandoning true educational objectives for vocational training; and with being intellectually and morally lazy, fragmented by discipline and sub-discipline to the point of being an archipelago of babbling idiots.

07 The author concludes by suggesting that just as we must see leadership and citizenship in a new way, so also must be take a new view of everything -- science, business, politics, life.

The author singles out J.C. Rost and R.M. Pirsig as worthy of deeper study, one work for each is linked below:

Leadership for the Twenty-First Century
Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals

I have a review list, "Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Leadership for Epoch B" that is easily found online, all leading back to their respective Amazon pages; with my remaining four links I will highlight four books most might not think of as essential to this topic and our shared future.

Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All
Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
The Leadership of Civilization Building: Administrative and civilization theory, Symbolic Dialogue, and Citizen Skills for the 21st Century

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability


Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe
Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe
by Helen Caldicott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.97
53 used & new from $11.03

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vital Detailed Truth, Lacks Compelling Visualization, July 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book stems from a conference and is a very nicely presented double-spaced precis of the world-class contributions from the conference.

Highlights:

HELEN CALDICOTT QUOTE (3): The Fukushima disaster is not over and will not end for many millenia. The radioactive fallout, which has covered vast swaths of Japan, will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years."

NAOTO KAN QUOTE (19): Considering the risk of losing half our land and evacuating half our population, my conclusion is that not having nuclear power plants is the safest energy policy.

DAVID LOCHBAUM: Fukushima was result of multiple foreseen but dismissed hazards. The cost of the recommended safety measures would have been a tiny fraction of the final cost of the total disaster that will be adding costs for a century into the future.

HISAKO SAKIYAMA: Virtually all hospitals included in today's nuclear reaction plans are themselves so close as to be rendered victims themselves in the event of any real nuclear disaster.

STEVEN STARR: 13% of the Japanese mainland has been contaminated with cesium-137 while the Pacific Ocean and its seafood have been widely contaminated.

AKIO MATSUMURA: Fukushima could explode again and double-down on threat to humanity. Meanwhile, US stands silent, Japanese government is covering everything up, and no reporters, scientists, or other governments are demanding any form of transparency.

TIMOTHY MOUSSEAU: Roughly a third of wildlife disappears from radiated areas -- but the studies are not being done or if done not published because no government, no university, no foundtion, wants to pay for bad news.

ALEXEY YABLOKOV: WHO, IAEA, ICRC have falsified just about everything about Fukushima specifically and nuclear risks generally.

ARNOLD GUNDERSEN: Fukushima was made in USA, with GE knowingly repressing risk information, cutting corners, and failing to provide all of the safety features known to be needed (including provision for a 46 foot tsunami correctly forecast).

ROBERT ALVAREZ: Because US has dithered on a "permanent" nuclear waste solution, the "temporary" pools are now holding five times their planned capacity. A standard US nuclear storage pool fire would be sixty times worse than Chernobyl.

KEVIN CAMPS: CIA helped fund the post-war politicians in Japan, and part of CIA's mandate was to ensure they all bought into nuclear power.

CINDY FOLKERS: US manipulating radiation standards in post-Fukishima era to allow twelve times more radiation poisoning of children than now allowed in Japan, and to explicitly cover-up the radiation in agricultural and seafood products that would otherwise sharply constrain those markets.

DAVID FREEMAN: Risks aside, nuclear power is unaffordable. QUOTE (217): Even with the latest improvements, the cost overrun is abvout one or two billion dollars." Nuclear power is now an "existential threat" but the public is completely ignorant of the fact that they have 30 years of nuclear waste piled up in their backyard waiting to be set on fire.

HELEN CALDICOTT: Absent public education, we appear bent on self-destruction.

The book could have been improved with a bibliography and some visualization, but I certainly found it very informative and troubling. In combination, public ignorance, government and corporation corruption, and complacency among academics, media, and think tanks, have allowed the creation of an aging nuclear industry certain to explode in our face again.

See also by Charles Perrow:

Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies
The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability


Twilight's Last Gleaming
Twilight's Last Gleaming
by John Michael Greer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.80
48 used & new from $7.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Goosebumps -- very very real -- the playbook for taking down the USA, July 9, 2015
I first read Decline and Fall: The End of Empire and the Future of Democracy in 21st Century America, that was the serious book, and then this book and I have to say that the both go very well together.

This book is the playbook for how a hollow US military over-reliant on satellites for location and communications, over-reliant on carriers that are too easily killed by supersonic wave-hopping missiles, over-reliant on a very mediocre US air force that cannot maintain air superiority or long air-based supply lines, is smashed by the Chinese when an amoral thoughtless US presidency goes one regime change oil field hijacking too far.

I read a lot, almost exclusively in non-fiction (the other fiction book apart from this one that is memorable to me is TYRANNICIDE The Story of the Second American Revolution, I strongly recommend it as a complement to this one). Everything I have read in the non-fiction arena supports the narrative that the author has woven here.

In one place he has put the perfect storm:

+ Chinese take out US satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) and communications.

+ Carriers and other ships easily sunk by supersonic wave-hopping anti-ship missiles that exist today

+ Air Force runs out of its shit F-22 and F-35 aircraft, meaning US not only loses air superiority, but it cannot supply far forward units in Africa by air

+ US helicopters become toast in face of advanced anti-air missiles carried and aimed by one man

+ Iran opens a second front against Saudi Arabia and Russia support China againsst the USA

+ Diego Garcia falls to Chinese commandos preceded by cyber-attacks

+ US degenerates domestically into riots, gas lines, and police brutality -- Feds try martial law and have it stuck up their ass -- Governors expel DHS and federal presence

+ Article 5 Constitutional Convention called

There are many non-fiction books that support the very plausible and well-presented scenarios the author has put together in a most elegant manner. Here are just a few, I would refer readers to my 98 categories of reviews accessible via the Review page at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence BLog.

Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
Wages of Rebellion
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II - Updated Edition
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
The Nine Nations of North America
American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America
A Constitutional History of Secession

I assume Chinese leaders have read this book -- I supect American leaders have not...and therein lies the endgame.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarify, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability


Decline and Fall: The End of Empire and the Future of Democracy in 21st Century America
Decline and Fall: The End of Empire and the Future of Democracy in 21st Century America
by John Michael Greer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.55
31 used & new from $9.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Primer, July 8, 2015
I come at this book with something most readers do not have, over 2,000 non-fiction book reviews here at Amazon, and I mention it only because there are some negative reviews that I think are lacking in the larger context one gets from very broad reading. From my perspective, this book is an extraordinary primer and the author is gifted -- truly gifted as a teacher and an explainer of complex ideas in simpler captivating terms.

There are many other books that go into greater detail on specifics, and I will begin by listing just four of them:

High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years To Solve Them
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility--Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (Spectre)

There are hundreds more. For me this book's quality is to be found it its blend of narrative, explanation of complex ideas, and provocation for the reader on the subject of "what is to be done." In other words, if you do not have the time or money for buying and reading all those other books, this one book is as good a starting point as any I have found and I recommend it without reservation.

Early on the author intrigues me with his discussion of how industrial wealth tends to concentrate while agricultural wealth is more easily maintained in distributed fashion -- his overview of competing models of political economy and how the victory of the North in the US Civil War was a victory for artificially high prices for industrial goods against imposed low prices for agricultural goods -- and how this began the destruction of the labor-consumer class in the middle -- is one I find useful.

His overview of US imperialism and particularly the Spanish American War that we contrived in order to take half of Mexico and capture the Philippines and Cuba, is a fresh take on a topic that has been covered by many others. Below are just three books I consider important in this domains.

The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025
War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier

I do not agree with those reviewers who are critical of his discussion of anaclyclosis and the cycle of democracy from monarch to junta to elite to crisis and collapse. I found it a very useful and well-presented overview of a complex subject -- my own essay on Democracy Lost -- and over 100 book reviews here at Amazon -- can be accessed at Tiny URL forward slash Steele-Reform. In that larger reading context I find the author utterly brilliant and most able to showcasing the essence of history and its relevance to our future.

The second half of the book I find riveting. The authors discussion of the break-down of US democracy which used to be community and caucus based, with literate citizens actively engaged from the grassroots on up; his discussion of the power that states still have in the event of a federal collapse (including the power to mobilize a 100% militai and to call an Article V Constitutional Convention), and his analysis of how the US Government may be on the verge of collapse for a loss of legitimacy while the US economy is now hollow and on the verge of collapse as well, are all important to any citizen.

His discussion of the US military -- which has occupied much of my life -- and the possibility that a major US military failure could trigger the implosion of the US Government and a public revolution to restore democracy -- is most worthwhile. He "gets" the naked Emperor that is our US military, and I say this having just published in CounterPunch a scatching indictment, "National Military Strategy - Dishonest Platitudes."

I agree with his conclusions -- that government is supposed to be the guarantor of the commons -- he makes positive reference to Elinor Ostrom's book Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions) -- and that localization and decentralization -- to include the decentralization of education -- and the end of the welfare state (with local means-driven charities resurgent) are essential to our getting through the near future.

He does not touch on secession or self-determination by the bio-region, but this is implicit in the book and my many reviews of books in this area may be of interest to readers, search for Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Self-Determination & Secession. I myself consider the departure of Hawaii and Vermont to be date certain, with Alaska, Texas, and the West Coast up in the air -- I agree with the author's view that the Southwest, the region we stole from Mexico, is now for all practical purposes a twilight zone subject to political and economic re-ordering in the future.

The one area I do not completely understand centers on the author's view that in facing collapse, we may not be able to make the migration from fossil flues to renewables, and we may not be able to avoid a severe depression that puts many communities back into subsistence living in which people have to work very hard, all day every day, to achieve basic provisioning -- shelter, water, food. Certainly one reason I favor an Electoral Reform Act of 2015 and the election of an honest government in 2016 is because I see that we are in a period of transition -- the old paradigm is dead and the new paradigm is emergent, but we lack for political and economic and social leaders willing to articulate the urgency of investing in decrentralized free energy, water desalination, aquaponics, zero-energy shelter, and so on.

I plan to read and review the author's own Twilight's Last Gleaming next, and I am very interested as well is his book The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust


Transforming the Dream: Ecologism and the Shaping of an Alternative American Vision
Transforming the Dream: Ecologism and the Shaping of an Alternative American Vision
by Charles Bednar
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Synthesis, Starting Point for Anyone Who Wishes to Think Holistically, July 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The author taught me most of what I retain in the way of political science fundamentals during our time together at Muhlenberg College, where he was former Chair of the Department of Political Science and an Associate Dean. We had not kept in touch since I left Muhlenberg in 1974, but in 2014 I reached out to him and bought this book immediately upon learning of its existence.

Published in 2003 by the State University of New York Press, this book was evidently not marketed at all, and little noted. That is a sad commentary on our times, because I find that the author has distilled multiple literatures into one coherent presentation, augmented by an original model that tells a vital story beyond Ecological Economics into Ecological Political Economy (in essence, politics), into Ecological Ethics and Ecological Pedagogy, two topics rarely covered by others.

My 2068 non-fiction reviews here at Amazon, all accessible across the 98 categories in which I read at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog (Reviews page), totally support the RADICAL conclusion of the author, to wit, that there are no changes we can make -- in relation to climate change, income equality, militarism, drugs, whatever -- that will make a difference if we allow the prevailing techno-industrial-financial paradigm to persist.

We have a SYSTEMIC problem in which all of our institutions -- academic, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, non-government/non-profit -- ACCEPT the big lie of "unlimited growth" as the foundation for achieving universal prosperity, while IGNORING the reality that the externalization of true cost to the public and future generations is leading to the extinction of humanity and the desecration of the Earth.

Before continuing my review I want to itemize ten of the many books the author draws on to emphasize the importance that this SYNTHESIS holds for the reader who does not have the time or money to do all the reading that the author or I have chosen to do. In the case of Herman Daly, long overdue for a Nobel, the author has read all of his book, as is the case also with Herbert Marcuse.

For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future
American Democracy in Peril: Eight Challenges to America's Future, 7th Edition
Ecological Democracy
Remaking Society: Pathways to a Green Future
Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision
A Sand County Almanac (Outdoor Essays & Reflections)
One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, 2nd Edition
Ethics for a Small Planet: New Horizons on Population, Consumption, and Ecology (S U N Y Series in Religious Studies) (Suny Series, Religious Studies)
Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics (Studies in Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy)
Should Trees Have Standing?: Law, Morality, and the Environment

I am reminded of Will and Ariel Durant's conclusion in their capstone work, Lessons of History, to wit, morality is a priceless strategic asset. Long ago I concluded that ethics are how one passes on the lessons of history that favor community and sustainability, and more recently I have concluded that every government, without exception and including the Nordics (the best of the worst) lacks ethics. They fail to honor the tri-fecta of intelligent beings, holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering. Between financial and political corruption as documented by among others Matt Taibbi in Griftopia, intellectual dishonesty as characteristic of the academy, the media, and the think tanks (whorehouses, every one of them), and a citizenry all too willing to be eat poison, drink poison, and having their ability to think displaced by moronic entertainment suitable only as a backdrop to drinking one self into a stupor, Western society has become reductionist garbage.

At root this book is about the reality that that there is no substitute for natural capital -- a concept covered by a number of other books including those by Paul Hawken, Dieter Helm, Peter Kareiva, and Dorothy Maxwell and of course of my favorites, STOP THIEF! by Peter Linebaugh -- combined with the finding that education and ethics are the only means by which to reverse centuries of stellar accomplishments on the edges that have hollowed out the center.

There are extraordinary insights throughout the book, I will mention just a few:

01 It is insane to separate the teaching of politics and economics. Political economy is "root" for any society. To allow political science to be taught without recourse to holistic analytics and true cost economics is irresponsible; to allow economcis to be taught without recourse to holistic analytics and true cost economics is criminal.

02 Social capital is an integral part of natural capital -- here I am adding my own interpretative comments, to wit, human intelligence and human innovation and human energy are the one unlimited resource we have, and we have buried that resource under a flawed assumption that technology (which comes with huge costs we do not factor in) is a substitute for human enterprise.

03 Globalization undermines the local identity and decision-making in closeness to nature, the bio-regional intelligence with integrity that is essential to making the most of our limited natural resources. Elinor Ostrom received a Nobel prize for making this point in Governing the Commons. The best governance is self-governance at the local level, in touch with the facts on the ground and able to enforce, day to day, with persistent eyes on.

04 Transformation will occur on our present course (even with lip service from the Pope, the UN, and G-7) -- we have to literally shut down the techno-industrial-financial paradigm that governs every aspect of our lives -- our policies, products, services, and behaviors -- and substitute a new ecologism paradigm that demands an educated ethical public -- this requires in turn moral awakening, a political revolution, and constant citizen engagement far beyond mere voting.

The most original portion of the book is the latter half, and particularly the discussion of what needs to change in education and in ethics. This book is easily qualified to be a primer for freshmen entering a liberal arts program that still has integrity (too few of these now that "life experience" is code for take the money and screw the student).

QUOTE (129): The problem of education, from an ecologistic perspective, is that it continues to reproduce, explicitly or implicitly, the taken-for-granted assumptions of the dominant techno-industrial paradigm.

Quite right. The fact that in the USA today we have between 23% and 40% unemployment (the first from ShadowStats, the second from a Congressional Research Service report, "An Overview of the Employment-Population Ratio") and between 20 million and 30 million recent college graduates living at home again, unable to find work, is an indictment of our present corrupt government and a confirmation of the common sense of this excellent work.

The chapter on Ecological Ethics and the Conclusion focus deeply on moral agency, holistic judgment, and the breakdown of the connections between citizens, nature, and the institutions that humanity has allowed to take on a life of their own, corrupt to the bone and controlled by the 1% instead of the 99%.

The chapter on Ecological Pedagogy synthesizes among many other contributions those of David Orr on six principles, and outlines so many good ideas on restoring the relevance of education to sustainable society that one could surmise that any college or university president who fails to read this book is derelict in their duty -- separately I have reviewed numerous books from Derek Bok and others on the commercialization (prostitution) of higher education, this is the one book to read if you are an educational leader with intentions toward doing good.

As with all my six-star recommendations (ten percent of my reading), I find the Notes and the Index and the Bibliography essential elements worthy of study in detail. This is a master work by one of the few people I have ever met who is able to integrate -- and communicate -- the Holy Trinity of group politics, true cost economics, and citizen ethics & education.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability


Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II - Updated Edition
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II - Updated Edition
by William Blum
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from $19.57

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reference on the Toxicity of US Military at Direction of Political Criminals, July 3, 2015
This is the UPDATED edition bring this long-standing historical tour de force up from the last edition that ended in 2008, to 2014. This means that it includes the newest elective wars and the "swath of destruction" we have created from Central Asia down through the Middle East and North Africa to Western Africa, where we now lust for oil in Niger and Nigeria.

Over-all, this is a very precious book, and an essential reference on the history of US intervention, both military and clandestine or covert.

As a former Marine Corps infantry office and former clandestine services case officer, and as an avid reader of non-fiction, I will gladly state on the record that this author has it largely right.

While I take the author with a grain of salt and do not appreciate his collaboration with Phil Agee, who betrayed his oaths to the US, whatever his reasons, on balance this book is an essential reference for anyone who wishes to understand why the rest of the world is beginning to conclude that we are the worst of all evils in our foreign policy behavior and misbehavior.

Although the author focuses on CIA's role in regime change, I would like to see more emphasis on the insanity of a drone assassination campaign by CIA that has a documented 98% collateral damage record, the persistence of black prisons and rendition and torture now out-sourced, and the plain fact that CIA is so busy doing evil things that it has completely lost the ability to produce intelligence (decision-support) with integrity.

Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (American Empire Project)
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Wilson's Ghost: Reducing The Risk Of Conflict, Killing, And Catastrophe In The 21st Century
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025
War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier
Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth'
Why We Fight
Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability


The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
by Ryan Holiday
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.01
43 used & new from $12.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars World-Class Integration with Some Flaws, July 2, 2015
This is a brilliantly executed formula book. It was given to me as a gift during a recent trip to Tampa, Florida, and I read it on the airplane flying back -- so I do recommend it as a 2 hour airplane read.

The author, whom I know personally and whose book Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator I consider the superior original work -- I gave it a rave review and met the author as a result, has done a superb job of combining an original foundation from several ancient philosophers with modern biographies of success, to create a distilled self-help book that focuses on perception, action, and will as the three things that anyone can control in the face of adversity.

There are flaws in the book best addressed by a review that Amazon is deliberately suppressing (Amazon has been manipulating the voting system for a long time, in part to flush older reviewers like myself and in part to sell books regardless of the negative review), scan for this specific review as a complement to mine: Applied Stoicism and Vain Hero-Worship By Kevin L. Nenstiel.

I do recommend the book and I found a number of its points worthy of note and helpful to myself. Here are just a few of them as underlined

* The one thing we can control is our reaction to circumstance and what we do next
* There is always a countermove, and generally the best countermove is indirect
* Question authority -- the conventional wisdom is very often wrong
* "...genius is often persistence in disguise..."
* Great and original achievements are supposed to be hard!
* Bitterness and embarrassment are self-imposed retardants to one's own progress
* When in doubt, help others -- it will pay dividends both personally and externally
* Patience is priceless
* In context of cosmos, whatever we do is right, what we decide to do is up to us

I enjoyed the author's bibilography. Within my ten limit, here are nine of his references:

Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford Worlds Classics)
Meditations (Dover Thrift Editions)
Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn from the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Ye ars
Man's Search for Meaning
The 48 Laws of Power
Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault
The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto)


Bare Feet, Iron Will ~ Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields
Bare Feet, Iron Will ~ Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields
by James G. Zumwalt
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.14
33 used & new from $7.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Oral History at Its Best -- Relevant to Future Strategy, Policy, Acquisition, Tactics, June 29, 2015
I received this book as a gift from the author, a fellow Marine retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, sometimes mistaken for his father, Admiral Zumwalt. I have gone through it twice. It is immediately in my top five books on Viet-Nam from an intelligence point of view, the other four books being:

The Tunnels of Cu Chi: A Harrowing Account of America's Tunnel Rats in the Underground Battlefields of Vietnam
Who the Hell Are We Fighting?: The Story of Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars
War without windows: A true account of a young Army officer trapped in an intelligence cover-up in Vietnam
None So Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam

This book is utterly unique as a systematic review, from the point of view of the Vietnamese, of every aspect of strategy, policy, acquisition, and tactics. It includes insights on both mediocre Chinese training of the Vietnamese that had to be discarded, and fearful behavior on the part of Soviet pilots and trainers that the Vietnamese found troubling.

This book is LOADED with empathy and ethics as well as common sense. It is an anti-war book from that point of view -- perhaps to be read alongside Marine Corps General Smedley Butler's War is a Racket (The Profit That Fuels Warfare): The Anti-war Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier -- but it is also a deep primer for ignorant policy makers all too quick to sell out their own countries in support of elective wars they have been bribed to embrace, see for instance

Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity

and it is also a superb manual on operations and tactics -- the constant cat and mouse game, the constant changing of tactics the allowed a barefoot force with virtually no heavy equipment to defeat the most expensive, most armored, most technologically "advanced" force on the planet. I would add John Poole's books to the related reading, but really do want to stress that this book by James G. Zimwalt is in a class of its own.

Phantom Soldier: The Enemy's Answer to U.S. Firepower
Tactics of the Crescent Moon: Militant Muslim Combat Methods

As I reflect on the persistent ethical shortfalls I find across the US military, from Navy Sailing to Army officer corps lies to Air Force fraud as the default value, what keeps coming back to me is the "root" nature of ethics. We get into elective wars justified by lies because everyone lacks ethics from the policy makers that accept financial, religious, and ideological lobbying to the flag officers that forget their oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies domestic and foreign to the craven media to the sheep-like poorly educated public and the lower elites who don't have "skin in the game" because we eliminated the universal draft. At lower levels, because corruption is endemic at higher levels, the lack of accountability, the abuse of petty authority, the avoidance of due process, are a pandemic.

This is a moving and provocative book. It is a book absolutely worthy of being included in every ROTC, War College, and mid-career academy including the Office of Personnel Management executive development training course on national security. It is a book you could read many times over and find something new each time. Like Robert McNamara, the author has grown greatly in the aftermath of loyal unquestioning service and he knows, as I now know, that the greatest act of patriotism in any service is to always be ready to question authority.

Wilson's Ghost: Reducing The Risk Of Conflict, Killing, And Catastrophe In The 21st Century

Semper Fidelis,
Robert David Steele
OPEN POWER: Electoral Reform Act of 2015 - Open Source Activist Tool-Kit


Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth
Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth
by David C. Korten
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.36
58 used & new from $9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Brings Us Full Circle -- Valuable as Remedial Education for All, June 27, 2015
David Korten has been one of my heroes and indirect mentors through his books for over a decade. His book The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community resonated deeply with me, and I completely agree that the premise of that book, to wit, people are the new (restored) super-power actualized through local resilience and global community.

This book takes on great importance as we reflect on the United Nations and its Sustainability Development Goals (SDG), combined with The Most Holy Father agreeing to visit the UN in September to deliver and encyclical that has been leaked, on climate change. This book can be considered the middle book, the book that brings a largely unconscious public, generally poorly read, up to speed with "the new story." It is not a new story, as one reviewer archly observes, it is in fact the original story harking back to a time when our indigenous ancestors respected the Mother Earth, observed plants and animals as co-equal intelligence, forgot nothing through oral history, and generally acted as stewards of the earth. One of the best books showing before (Mayan, Aztec) and after (guns, germs, steel) is 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.

As I read through this book -- stating with the index and notes as I usually do with books I know are vital -- I was stunned to see the author include me in the notes for the first chapter, and more specifically the profile of me by Nafeez Ahmed, then a Guardian author and also the author of the very important A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It. What David Korton does not say in his note is the the overview I provide is a very explicit Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today, easily found online by searching for the post title. I could not be more pleased, and will also say, as a "Naked Truth" kind of guy who had to attend the Findhorn Summit on "The New Story" to better appreciate the limitation of the Naked Truth approach, that I appreciate this book all the more for having learned over the years that the facts simply will not make the case -- the public needs a story.

I am moderately encouraged by this book and by signs I see of both emerging public power and emerging new open source everything technologies. What I do not see in this book is true cost economics. I am working my way through a book that complements this one, by my former political science professor Charles Bednar, Transforming the Dream: Ecologism and the Shaping of an Alternative American Vision, and I see already that the books go well together. The latter makes the point that our techno-industrial paradigm is at the end of its useful life, and a new paradigm, ecologism (based on the work of Herman Daly, among others, see especially For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future).

This past week it was my privilege to be the primary expert in residence for a NATO workshop on strategic foresight -- I have published my interventions at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog as "NATO Strategic Foresight Wrap-Up" and anyone can gain an account at the Innovation Hub -- and our general conclusion is totally consistent with what David Korten is saying that Charles Bednar and others (Richard Wolf, Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media) Peter Linebaugh, Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (Spectre) for example) are saying: the old paradigm is dead -- it is toxic. The new paradigm must focus on humanity, on life, on sustainable development. The time has come to abandon the scientific reductionism (cf. Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West) and the merger of political and financial crime (cf. Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History) and get on with honest self-governance such as Elinor Ostrom won a Novel Prize in documenting, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions).

Where the book falls short is in not providing the specifics of where we need to go as a public. I would start with electoral reform in the USA and the UK. As Bob Seelert, CEO of Satchi and Satchi Worldwide out of NYC likes to say, "When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it." As the most published intelligence reformer in the English language I have spent a quarter century championing ethical evidence-based decision-support over spies and lies, and it was not until Tom Steyer confessed publicly that all his money on climate change was wasted, that I realized that in the absence of honest government no issue is going to get a fair hearing.

I would be very pleased if the author's next book completed the trilogy will a practical focus "what is to be done?" For me it is obvious -- an Open Source Agency that in turn funds a World Brain Institute, a School of Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance, and a United Nations Open-Source Decision-Support Information Network (UNODIN). My invited paper for the UN is easily found online (and is here at Amazon), my article for Spanda on Applied Collective Intelligence is free online, and my keynote to the Ecuadorean intelligence community of November 2014 also. These efforts of my own complement this book by David Korten, and could be a starting point for a practical revolution that integrates CrisisMappers, Buycott.com, Provenance.org, and a few other bits and pieces to create a hand-held true-cost "app" that buries specific corporations and anything owned by the Koch Brothers, overnight.

Holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering are the "naked truth" counterpoint to the "new story" that David Korten has placed before us. I cannot over-state the value of what he has done, it needed doing, needs more doing and it needs sharing. On this foundation, and I am out of links but want to salute Vaclav Havel's Power of the Powerless and Howard Zinn's A Power Government Cannot Suppress, it is possible for We the People to abandon the paradigm that concentrates and celebrates money, and begin again to celebrate the paradigm that values all life and celebrates all life.

This book is a triumph and I pray it leads to the resurrection of intelligence with integrity among the sleep-walking public aptly pigeon-holed by Chris Hedges, another of my heroes, in his book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
OPEN POWER: Electoral Reform Act of 2015 - Open Source Activist Tool-Kit


Free Software Free Society, 2nd Edition
Free Software Free Society, 2nd Edition
by Richard Stallman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.52
17 used & new from $9.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star - Nobel Level Original, May 24, 2015
I bought this book at Hackers on Planet Earth 6, and then after reading it in the morning, had the double benefit of hearing the author as keynote speaker in the afternoon. He is everything the book's contents suggest, and more. The author is one of the original MIT hackers (pick up a used copy of Shirley Turkle's The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit and/or Steven Levy's Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition which the author himself recommends.

The author's brilliant bottom line is quite clear throughout the book: software copyright prevents people from improving or sharing the foundation for progress in the digital era.

The author's social-technical innovation, which appears now to be acquiring tsunami force around the world, and is manifested in the Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) movement that is being nurtured by governments worldwide from Brazil to China to Israel to the United Kingdom to Norway, is to modify copyright to a term he credits to another, copyleft, meaning that copyright in the new definition grants ALL permissions EXCEPT the permission to RESTRICT the enhancement and sharing of the software.

The author is also very careful to define the term free as meaning freedom of movement and growth, not free of price. GNU, his invention, removes computational obstacles to competition, and levels the playing field for more important innovations. In his view, the core issue is not about price, but about eliminating restrictions to freedom of sharing and enhancement.

On page 37 he sums up his life's purpose: "Proprietary and secret software is the moral equivalent of runners having a fist fight (during the race)" -- they all lose.

The author carefully distinguishes between the free and open source software, citing the first as a movement with values, the second as a process.

His candidacy for a Nobel Prize is captured in the sentence on page 61, "Free software contributes to human knowledge, non-free software does not."

Across the book, a collection of essays put into a very well ordered (not necessarily chronological) form, this book is a history of GNU (not UNIX) by its creator and co-founder of the Free Software Foundation. It is replete with concise useful discussions of terms, conditions, and cultures relevant to the future of mankind as a thinking forward looking species.

Section two, on copyright, copyleft, and patents is very helpful, and likely to become a standard in the field as the public fires elected representatives who sell out to Mickey Mouse copyright extenders, and demands a return to the original Constitutional limitation of copyright as an artifact of government, not a natural right, focused on nurturing knowledge. It means mention that Lawrence Lessig (see my reviews of his books) writes the introduction-the two authors together, along with Cass Sunstein, may be the most important trio of thinkers with respect to the future of man in the context of science, copyright, risk, and software as a human global contributor to sanity.

The author's keynote address at HOPE 6 is discussed toward the end of the book, where he lists the Four Freedoms:

Freedom 0: Run a program as you wish, for any purpose you wish, not limited to any narrowly defined application.

Freedom 1: Help yourself by improving the program (which requires access to source code).

Freedom 2: Help your neighbor by sharing a copy of the program with them.

Freedom 3: Help community by sharing the improved copy at large.

There is no question in my mind but that this manifesto of a single man's life's work is as important as Tom Paine's Common Sense treatises. There is a war now emergent between the classes (US elites bribing foreign elites, both screwing their publics over for private gain), and between corporations and the people, corporations long having abused the independent legal personality that was granted to promote business, and ended up being a legal barrier to holding corporate managers accountable for grand theft and social irresponsibility.

Toward the end the author offers thoughtful suggestions on how to "drop out" of the proprietary software world, and his thinking resonates with "No Logo" and its recommendations on selective purchasing.

This book is not a technical book although it offers up many understandable insights to technical matters underlying the social philosophy of the author. It is not a legal book either, but offers important informed commentary vital to getting the law focused again on human progress. Finally, in no way does the book dismiss the importance of capitalism-the author clearly states that it is entirely appropriate to charge a fee for one's contributions-this is about the "how" not the "how much.

Absolutely superb collection of essays, extremely important to where we go in the future. The author is not only an original hacker, he represents hacking as it should be understood by the authorities (see my review of Bruce Sterling, Hackers at the Edge of the Electronic Frontier), and as I see them-as people who have the "right stuff" and are testing the edge, pushing the frontier. In a world of drones, these are the libertarian spirits that may well keep us out of perpetual prison.

For reference: DARPA's STRONG ANGEL program, empowered now by DoD Directive 3000.cc. specifically seeks to create a suite of collaborative sharing and analytic tools that can be provided free to any non-governmental organization and any state and local government. Support costs have to be shared. It is now understood at the highest levels of the US military that we cannot make peace without sharing all information in all languages all the time (my third book), and this is progress.


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