- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (March 27, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465021832
- ISBN-13: 978-0465021833
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Learning From the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease 1st Edition
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This book is a provocation and a delight. Rafe Sagarin invites us to look at national security with the eyes not of a state but of nature itself: for recursive patterns, adaptations, and the simple keys to complexity. It's thrilling to apply the lessons of octopuses, tidepools and other biological systems to defense, intelligence, and government generally. It's even more thrilling to imagine what our policymakers could learn from this book.”
John Arquilla, Professor of Defense Analysis, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
Simply brilliant. Rafe Sagarin is one of the world's leading lateral thinkers. He can study tidepool life and find insights from it for fighting terrorism. He has harnessed our understanding of nature's immutable forcesselection, learning and adaptationand turned them to the task of guiding us to a fresh new security paradigm. Above all, Sagarin sees how networked nature is, and how building our own networks is the best way to defeat the perils our balky security institutions have done so little to overcome.”
Sagarin uses his ecological knowledge to shed light on national security as well as other hard-to-predict challenges. Highly recommended for ecologists, nature lovers, and those interested in business, organizational change, and security planning.”
Drawing on life science and evidence from the military and emergency services, Sagarin defines adaptability as the sweet spot” between reaction and prediction.”
Sagarin explains biology's lessons for successful national security with a brisk, clear style, designed for the broadest possible audience. The book will be as informative to a field biologist as a field commander. The natural history examples are linked cleverly and effectively, making surprising and provocative points to prompt discussion of how the flexibility of natural defenses can be used for strategic benefit.”
[An] open challenge to the status quo.”
Learning from the Octopus is a paean to biomimicry and a handbook on natural security' from an unlikely, but enlightening, source.”
Courtney E. Martin, author of Project Rebirth: Survival and the Strength of the Human Spirit from 9/11 Survivors
Learning from the Octopus is not just a brilliant book about natural security, though it is that. It is also a transformative meditation on what attributes are necessary to live a content, modern lifestarting with adaptability, imperfection, and interdependence. Rafe Sagarin is not only a rarity in regards to the intersection of his professional giftsscience and writingbut his power to see beyond fear and conformity to what really makes us safe in the world.”
Simon Levin, Moffett Professor of Biology, Princeton University
In a brilliant and engaging style, Rafe Sagarin moves seamlessly between natural history and security analysis, convincingly making the case that we have much to learn in national security from how evolution has helped organisms meet environmental challenges. Learning from the Octopus is must reading for those charged with protecting our nation, and a delightful excursion for anyone interested in the wonders of the natural world.”
A marine biologist applies his expertise to national security, delivering some ingenious ideas.... [F]ew readers will deny that Sagarin is onto something.”
Foreign Policy in Focus (online)
Years of marine research provide [Sagarin] with a unique perspective on security issues. His new book's conclusion: we can learn from nature about being more secure by being more adaptable. Nature, after 3.5 billion years of dealing with risk, is an experienced teacher.”
Sagarin identifies several characteristics of successful speciesand you can almost visualize them as bullets on a motivational PowerPoint slide.... The parallels with modern-day security concerns are evident, and Sagarin is quick to cite cases of military efforts hampered by bureaucratic inertia, insurgency strategies that successfully build on cooperative relations with local populations, and the like.... In short, this book lays out some sensible policy suggestions based on biological knowledge.”
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Overall: 4 out of 5 Stars
First and foremost, this book should be required reading and studying for every single military and law enforcement member in the U.S. and our allies, we do not want our adversaries adapting these lessons.
In Learning from the Octopus, Rafe Sagarin makes some extremely compelling arguments for the lessons found all over nature that can enhance public safety in a multitude of fashions. I make this evaluation from a point of experience, as I have been a police supervisor in Baltimore, and a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. From the inappropriate allocation of resources of the TSA to the mismanagement that is rooted in law enforcement, Rafe Sagarin finds examples of successful implementation of more efficient and better management that has already been proven to work, in nature.
I don't think that the subject matter of better management is anything revolutionary, scholars and successful businesses have been showing law enforcement the better ways to manage for a long time now. What Rafe Sagarin does that is special is bring it down to simple examples that can be understood by all education and experience levels. From the patrol officer just out of the academy to the federal czars, there are simple lessons that can make citizens safer and utilize their money more efficiently.
Creativity: 5 stars I have spent a great deal of effort in my personal writings to try and find a way to break through the wall of comfort that is found in law enforcement. I sincerely hope that this new angle of speaking to those working to protect us can help open their eyes to the mismanagement that is everywhere. Law Enforcement especially is extremely afraid of change, which is why they keep doing the same things over and over, with the same pathetic results. Rafe Sagarin does an excellent job of presenting a creative new way to encourage a change for the better.
Spelling and Grammar: 3 stars Rafe Sagarin is not an author, he is a marine ecologist, so given that, he did a very good job at presenting his case. I did not discover any obvious errors, but the writing is educational in nature and thus, does not flow like a book. There are sections that repeat and sections that can speak over the head of the target audience, but he does the best that he can.
Execution: 4 stars Overall, I am in awe of the work that Rafe Sagarin has put together her. This execution gets knocked down to four stars because of the occasional speaking over our heads and the biggest flaw in the whole book, a glaring hypocrisy. Granted Rafe Sagarin is a marine ecologist, has a love and respect for the environment, and by nature of his profession has been force-fed liberal agendas, but if he is going to speak to us in public safety about thinking on a new level and appreciating history, he must do the same, else his lessons fall on deaf ears.
Rafe Sagarin makes some humorous and intelligent insights into how religious beliefs are a key factor in many of the poor decisions that humans make or beliefs that they hold dear, even when all evidence points to the contrary. While I agree with him, I cannot overlook that his religion of global warming has blocked some of his own thinking.
Here is an example on pages that sit next to each other:
Page 150: "And we ignore over 100 years of collected scientific wisdom while we watch human-induced climate change alter our entire planet." Page 151: "If we convert our years as humans on Earth to words in a book, analyzing security only in the context of the past few thousand years of human history is like trying to understand all of War and Peace by reading only the last word."
Page 151 is where Rafe Sagarin speaks to us, page 150 is where I can't help but dismiss him. Mr. Sagarin, if the past thousand years of human history is the last word of War and Peace, then looking at the last 100 years of weather patterns is like reading the last word in the entire library of congress.
Michael A. Wood Jr. "The Critical Critic"