Monthly Archives: August 2010

Most Dangerous Man in America ?

mdmiaWatching this documentary about Daniel Ellsberg reminded me of his rather extraordinary life that has not yet stopped. With the recent WikiLeaks sensation its worth reminding America how powerful documents can change people and governments.

I read Ellsberg’s book Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers back in 2006 (review here) and realize its better than the movie.

However for today’s Gen Y its more than enough to get them visually interested in events as old as Vietnam, Watergate and Nixon.

Movie Website

Comedian Maz Jobrani at TED

Maz Jobrani: Did you hear the one about the Iranian-American?

Maz is one of my favorite comedians. Found him on the The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour (iTunes Link) tour and have purchased his performances on iTunes (iTunes Link). So glad to see him perform at a TED event.

Freakonomics the movie

The movie everyone should have been waiting to see….on your computer before at the cinemas.

In an unusual move Freakonomics the Movie is coming to iTunes first on September 3rd and then to a theater on October 1.
Since I read this book (review)

Tags: SUPERFreakonomics, Stephen Dubner, Steven Levitt, Economics, datasets, innovation, energy, population, poverty, technology, Sudir Venkatesh, terrorist, trends

Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0

Sometimes a 2.0 release is viewed as a fix for shortcomings in the initial release of just about any product….except this update from Tom Friedman: Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America.
I quickly read version 1.0 as soon as it hit bookshelves and was just amazed at Friedman’s writing about the state of research, business and culture surrounding our planet. Missed reading this when it was originally released?

Yet as of late I have been reading so much about Wall Street’s clusterf*ck that I missed his update Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America.

An overview to the version 2.0 release:Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the astonishing expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization have produced a planet that is “hot, flat, and crowded.”  In this Release 2.0 edition, he also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the meltdown of the financial markets and the Great Recession.  The challenge of a sustainable way of life presents the United States with an opportunity not only to rebuild its economy, but to lead the world in radically innovating toward cleaner energy.  And it could inspire Americans to something we haven’t seen in a long time—nation-building—by summoning the intelligence, creativity, and concern for the common good that are our greatest national resources.

In vivid, entertaining chapters, Friedman makes it clear that the green revolution the world needs is like no revolution before. It will be the biggest innovation project in American history; it will be hard, not easy; and it will change everything from what you put into your car to what you see on your electric bill. This is a great challenge, Friedman explains, but also a great opportunity, and one that America cannot afford to miss. Not only is American leadership the key to the healing of the earth; it is also our best strategy for the renewal of America.

Or consider the following accolades for his writing:

  • A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
  • A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
  • A Businessweek Best Business Book of the Year
  • A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
  • A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
  • A Business Week Best Business Book of the Year
  • A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year
  • A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Best Book of the Year
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice Best Book of the Year
  • Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

My latest read – Cognitive Surplus

Remember the last time you read a great story that you caught yourself peaking at the remaining unread pages because you didn’t want the story to end?  That’s how I can best describe Clay Shirky‘s book Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.  His stories were coming to a close before I was ready to put the book down.

cognitive surplusThis is a great follow-up to his first book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.  Shirky is right on target with engaging, connecting stories to share his ideas about our new ability today to share collective knowledge.

Over 1 trillion hours of TV is watched per year. Imagine what can happen when people turn TV off and begin contributing.  And Shirky elegantly shares the shifting nature of professionals vs. amateurs in the age of the internet.  Pretty amazing reading.

I believe there have been attempts to move in the direction he outlines but a tipping point has been the mass availability of consumer devices at very affordable price points.  I recall Peter Gabriel‘s interview on the Today Show in 1988 talking about the efforts of Amnesty International and their attempts to videotape human rights abuses with large, analog cameras.
Today we know all to well from the murder of Oscar Grant that cameraphones have made their efforts real.

The Napster thing
IMHO Clay’s single oversight in the book surrounds Napster.  I think he was trying to communicate a holistic answer to why people (not just Gen Xers) were stealing music.  He called it sharing — it was stealing plain and simple.
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