- Paperback: 607 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (October 25, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781616144784
- ISBN-13: 978-1616144784
- ASIN: 1616144785
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,444,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism Paperback – October 25, 2011
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"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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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Bloom's this in this book is the power of what he labels the secular genesis machine, the evolutionary search engine, and the two rules of science: the truth at any cost, including the cost of your life, and to look at what is right under your nose as if it is the first time you have seen it, then proceed from there.
This is a thought provoking book. I highly recommend it.
I'll be honest, I really like Howard Bloom, and his "Global Brain" changed my whole thinking about many things. Unfortunately, "Genius of the Beast" fails to measure up. As many have pointed out, Howard is a marketer at heart, and he's smart and extremely passionate. That clearly comes through in his writing and the reader KNOWS just how much he cares about the subject and that a giant light turned on over his head. The problem is that Mr Bloom failed to take his "a ha!" moment and translate it for others to turn on their own lights. There are some insights, and it seems like if it was done right, this could have been an outstanding and useful book. I just wish he had someone there with the hard edits, pushing him and channeling his energy.
Things I like: Again, his passion. I would rather have a passionate book that doesn't quite measure up than a dry book without feel. Also, he's good at seeing things from different angles and thus seeing how those things can connect. An example is his famous ability to link molecular biology to everything else. He is also clearly quite intelligent and has done a lot in his life. There will definitely be people that get something from this book like inspiration.
What I don't like: his passion run amok. Ironically, he fails to live up to his credo (mentioned many several times) that anything good can be a poison in too high a dose. Most of the book is hyperbole, writing tricks, and things better suited for a speech. Because of this he lacks focus and fails to really get down into the subject. He also fails to take some of his own lessons... In almost the same page, he can correctly point out how a lot of success is luck, then claim how he almost single handedly created so many billions in revenue and launched such stars as Prince, Bob Marley, etc. Or about how to give others an 'ego stake' then in literally the same page say "yeah, the company I founded did that." Also where I don't like where his hyperbole goes off the track - when discussing his luck in taking a job at a paper at Columbia, he actually said "Washington Square Review gave me an out, an escape chute from the antiemotional Auschwitz of Columbia's ivory tower." Wow, seriously? Columbia was so academically strict that they gased hundreds of thousands in attempted genocide? Clearly he doesn't think so, but also clearly shows a lack of restrained and intelligent writing. I also don't like that the book is a LOT bigger than it really is. There are way too many notes pages as he clearly did not dig into all of those works, and a LOT of blank pages. The first 100 pages or so, I'd say there are 25-30 blank pages, though I have a feeling this is intentional to give readers a sense of progession and success.
So again, one gains too little from this book to outweigh the shortcomings. Bloom has shown he has the ability, he just doesn't show it here. If I needed any more sign of that, it came after about 80 pages... I had picked it up recently because I thought I hadn't read it yet, but then everything sounded so familiar. When I got to one of my notes at around page 80, I realized that I had read it before, just nothing stuck out to me enough to really remember having read it. So just reading my 'gut' I knew that this book was quite underwhelming.