Gideon Rosenblatt

Gideon Rosenblatt

I write about machines and their impact on civilization, organizations, and the human soul.

10+ Book Recommendations by Gideon Rosenblatt

  • Caste

    Isabel Wilkerson

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. "[Caste] should be at the top of every American's reading list."--Chicago Tribune "As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

    @oregonfrost Yes, absolutely. I am learning so much from this book. And it is truly a pleasure to read. The way she weaves stories into the points she makes is truly poetic.

  • The System

    Robert B. Reich

    From the best-selling author of Saving Capitalism and The Common Good, an urgent analysis of how the "rigged" systems of American politics and power operate, how this status quo came to be, and how average citizens can enact change. Millions of Americans have lost confidence in our political and economic system. After years of stagnant wages, volatile job markets, and an unwillingness by those in power to deal with profound threats such as climate change, there is a mounting sense that the system is fixed, serving only those select few with enough money to secure a controlling stake. With the characteristic clarity and passion that has made him a central civil voice, Robert B. Reich shows how wealth and power have interacted to install an elite oligarchy, eviscerate the middle class, and undermine democracy. Using Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase as an example, Reich exposes how those at the top propagate myths about meritocracy, national competitiveness, corporate social responsibility, and the "free market" to distract most Americans from their accumulation of extraordinary wealth, and power over the system. Instead of answering the call to civic duty, they have chosen to uphold self-serving policies that line their own pockets and benefit their bottom line. Reich's objective is not to foster cynicism, but rather to demystify the system so that we might instill fundamental change and demand that democracy works for the majority once again.

    @conches Just finished reading Robert Reich's book, The System. He makes that same point.

  • “More than anything else technology creates our world. It creates our wealth, our economy, our very way of being,” says W. Brian Arthur. Yet despite technology’s irrefutable importance in our daily lives, until now its major questions have gone unanswered. Where do new technologies come from? What constitutes innovation, and how is it achieved? Does technology, like biological life, evolve? In this groundbreaking work, pioneering technology thinker and economist W. Brian Arthur answers these questions and more, setting forth a boldly original way of thinking about technology. The Nature of Technology is an elegant and powerful theory of technology’s origins and evolution. Achieving for the development of technology what Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions did for scientific progress, Arthur explains how transformative new technologies arise and how innovation really works. Drawing on a wealth of examples, from historical inventions to the high-tech wonders of today, Arthur takes us on a mind-opening journey that will change the way we think about technology and how it structures our lives. The Nature of Technology is a classic for our times.

    @danbri It's been a while since I read it. Did you ever read The Nature of Technology, by Brian Arthur? It has a really nice treatment of technological modularity, with something he calls combinatorial evolution.

  • The far right is back with a vengeance. After several decades at the political margins, far-right politics has again taken center stage. Three of the world’s largest democracies – Brazil, India, and the United States – now have a radical right leader, while far-right parties continue to increase their profile and support within Europe. In this timely book, leading global expert on political extremism Cas Mudde provides a concise overview of the fourth wave of postwar far-right politics, exploring its history, ideology, organization, causes, and consequences, as well as the responses available to civil society, party, and state actors to challenge its ideas and influence. What defines this current far-right renaissance, Mudde argues, is its mainstreaming and normalization within the contemporary political landscape. Challenging orthodox thinking on the relationship between conventional and far-right politics, Mudde offers a complex and insightful picture of one of the key political challenges of our time.

    @hjarche Reading The Far Right Today by Can Muddie right now. Very interesting.

  • “More than anything else technology creates our world. It creates our wealth, our economy, our very way of being,” says W. Brian Arthur. Yet despite technology’s irrefutable importance in our daily lives, until now its major questions have gone unanswered. Where do new technologies come from? What constitutes innovation, and how is it achieved? Does technology, like biological life, evolve? In this groundbreaking work, pioneering technology thinker and economist W. Brian Arthur answers these questions and more, setting forth a boldly original way of thinking about technology. The Nature of Technology is an elegant and powerful theory of technology’s origins and evolution. Achieving for the development of technology what Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions did for scientific progress, Arthur explains how transformative new technologies arise and how innovation really works. Drawing on a wealth of examples, from historical inventions to the high-tech wonders of today, Arthur takes us on a mind-opening journey that will change the way we think about technology and how it structures our lives. The Nature of Technology is a classic for our times.

    @IntuitMachine You may be thinking of Kauffman's idea of the adjacent possible. Have you read The Nature of Technology?

  • Double Entry

    Jane Gleeson-White

    Describes the history of accounting and double-entry bookkeeping from Mesopotamia to the Renaissance to modern finance and explains how a system developed that could work across all trades and nations. 13,000 first printing.

    @rhappe I was just going to add "Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance" to the list. Haven't read it but heard an interview a while back and it sounds really good.

  • This is a story of reinvention. Jim Whitehurst, celebrated president and CEO of one of the world's most revolutionary software companies, tells first-hand his journey from traditional manager (Delta Air Lines, Boston Consulting Group) and “chief” problem solver to CEO of one of the most open organizational environments he'd ever encountered. This challenging transition, and what Whitehurst learned in the interim, has paved the way for a new way of managing—one this modern leader sees as the only way companies will successfully function in the future. Whitehurst says beyond embracing the technology that has so far disrupted entire industries, companies must now adapt their management and organizational design to better fit the Information Age. His mantra? “Adapt or die.” Indeed, the successful company Whitehurst leads—the open source giant Red Hat—has become the organizational poster child for how to reboot, redesign, and reinvent an organization for a decentralized, digital age. Based on open source principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration, “open management” challenges conventional business ideas about what companies are, how they run, and how they make money. This book provides the blueprint for putting it into practice in your own firm. He covers challenges that have been missing from the conversation to date, among them: how to scale engagement; how to have healthy debates that net progress; and how to attract and keep the “Social Generation” of workers. Through a mix of vibrant stories, candid lessons, and tested processes, Whitehurst shows how Red Hat has blown the traditional operating model to pieces by emerging out of a pure bottom up culture and learning how to execute it at scale. And he explains what other companies are, and need to be doing to bring this open style into all facets of the organization. By showing how to apply open source methods to everything from structure, management, and strategy to a firm's customer and partner relationships, leaders and teams will now have the tools needed to reach a new level of work. And with that new level of work comes unparalleled success. The Open Organization is your new resource for doing business differently. Get ready to make traditional management thinking obsolete.

    I've never seen a brand plummet in trust like Google is right now, and the loss of transparency is a big part of that. I'm reading The Open Organization, by Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat. What a contrast. It didn't have to go this way. https://t.co/Dh8R2b8tL6

  • Novacene

    James Lovelock

    The originator of the Gaia theory offers the vision of a future epoch in which humans and artificial intelligence together will help the Earth survive. James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis and the greatest environmental thinker of our time, has produced an astounding new theory about future of life on Earth. He argues that the Anthropocene—the age in which humans acquired planetary-scale technologies—is, after 300 years, coming to an end. A new age—the Novacene—has already begun. In the Novacene, new beings will emerge from existing artificial intelligence systems. They will think 10,000 times faster than we do and they will regard us as we now regard plants. But this will not be the cruel, violent machine takeover of the planet imagined by science fiction. These hyperintelligent beings will be as dependent on the health of the planet as we are. They will need the planetary cooling system of Gaia to defend them from the increasing heat of the sun as much as we do. And Gaia depends on organic life. We will be partners in this project. It is crucial, Lovelock argues, that the intelligence of Earth survives and prospers. He does not think there are intelligent aliens, so we are the only beings capable of understanding the cosmos. Perhaps, he speculates, the Novacene could even be the beginning of a process that will finally lead to intelligence suffusing the entire cosmos. At the age of 100, James Lovelock has produced the most important and compelling work of his life.

    @timrayner01 Have you read Lovelock's newest, Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence? He's updated the goddess.

  • Novacene

    James Lovelock

    The originator of the Gaia theory offers the vision of a future epoch in which humans and artificial intelligence together will help the Earth survive. James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis and the greatest environmental thinker of our time, has produced an astounding new theory about future of life on Earth. He argues that the Anthropocene—the age in which humans acquired planetary-scale technologies—is, after 300 years, coming to an end. A new age—the Novacene—has already begun. In the Novacene, new beings will emerge from existing artificial intelligence systems. They will think 10,000 times faster than we do and they will regard us as we now regard plants. But this will not be the cruel, violent machine takeover of the planet imagined by science fiction. These hyperintelligent beings will be as dependent on the health of the planet as we are. They will need the planetary cooling system of Gaia to defend them from the increasing heat of the sun as much as we do. And Gaia depends on organic life. We will be partners in this project. It is crucial, Lovelock argues, that the intelligence of Earth survives and prospers. He does not think there are intelligent aliens, so we are the only beings capable of understanding the cosmos. Perhaps, he speculates, the Novacene could even be the beginning of a process that will finally lead to intelligence suffusing the entire cosmos. At the age of 100, James Lovelock has produced the most important and compelling work of his life.

    @moniscope @MarkBarrusHypno Yes, we may be left with geo-engineering. That is Gaia Hypothesis author, James Lovelock's conclusion in his new book, The Novacene. https://t.co/Njw3UHz3wB

  • “There are at least two kinds of games,” states James P. Carse as he begins this extraordinary book. “One could be called finite; the other infinite.” Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life; they are played in order to be won, which is when they end. But infinite games are more mysterious. Their object is not winning, but ensuring the continuation of play. The rules may change, the boundaries may change, even the participants may change—as long as the game is never allowed to come to an end. What are infinite games? How do they affect the ways we play our finite games? What are we doing when we play—finitely or infinitely? And how can infinite games affect the ways in which we live our lives? Carse explores these questions with stunning elegance, teasing out of his distinctions a universe of observation and insight, noting where and why and how we play, finitely and infinitely. He surveys our world—from the finite games of the playing field and playing board to the infinite games found in culture and religion—leaving all we think we know illuminated and transformed. Along the way, Carse finds new ways of understanding everything, from how an actress portrays a role to how we engage in sex, from the nature of evil to the nature of science. Finite games, he shows, may offer wealth and status, power and glory, but infinite games offer something far more subtle and far grander. Carse has written a book rich in insight and aphorism. Already an international literary event, Finite and Infinite Games is certain to be argued about and celebrated for years to come. Reading it is the first step in learning to play the infinite game.

    @peternlimberg @macterra @LetterWiki Finite and Infinite Games is one of my all-time favorites. It's been a long time since I read my tattered and well-worn copy.

  • As technology becomes deeply integrated into every aspect of our lives, we’ve begun to expect more emotionally intelligent interactions. But smartphones don’t know if we’re having a bad day, and cars couldn’t care less about compassion. Technology is developing more IQ, but it still lacks EQ. In this book, Pamela Pavliscak—design researcher and advisor to Fortune 500 companies—explores new research about emotion, new technology that engages emotion, and new emotional design practices. Drawing on her own research and the latest thinking in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, Pamela shows you how design can help promote emotional well-being. You’ll learn: How design has transformed emotion and how tech is transforming it again New principles for merging emotional intelligence and design thinking How to use a relationship model for framing product interactions and personality Methods for blending well-being interventions with design patterns How emotional resonance can guide designers toward ethical futures Implications of emotionally intelligent technology as it scales from micro- to mega-emotional spheres

    "Emotionally Intelligent Design" - looks like an interesting read by @paminthelab. Just ordered a copy. And right when I did, a hummingbird came to my window (yes, I know that's not what the bird on the cover is, but it's close). https://t.co/lMsPURrrLx @ryonck, fyi. https://t.co/edDdlmbwU4

  • Self Comes to Mind

    Antonio Damasio

    A leading neuroscientist addresses key questions about the origins and mechanisms of human consciousness, drawing on decades of research to challenge beliefs about the separateness of consciousness from the body while presenting a revisionist perspective built on traditional approaches. By the author of Descartes' Error. Reprint.

    @cleverclue @KirkDBorne @ipfconline1 Did you ever read Damasio's "A Self Comes to Mind"? I thought it did a great job of explaining this stuff.

  • Owning Our Future

    Marjorie Kelly

    As long as businesses are set up to focus exclusively on maximizing financial income for the few, our economy will be locked into endless growth and widening inequality. But now people are experimenting with new forms of ownership, which Marjorie Kelly calls generative: aimed at creating the conditions for life for many generations to come. These designs may hold the key to the deep transformation our civilization needs. To understand these emerging alternatives, Kelly reports from all over the world, visiting a community-owned wind facility in Massachusetts, a lobster cooperative in Maine, a multibillion-dollar employee-owned department-store chain in London, a foundation-owned pharmaceutical company in Denmark, a farmer-owned dairy in Wisconsin, and other places where a hopeful new economy is being built. Along the way, she finds the five essential patterns of ownership design that make these models work.

    @eillieanzi, have you read @marjorie_kelly's "Owning Our Future"? You might enjoy it, if not.

  • How Emotions Are Made

    Lisa Feldman Barrett

    'Fascinating . . . a thought-provoking journey into emotion science' The Wall Street Journal When you feel anxious, angry, happy, or surprised, what's really going on inside of you? Many scientists believe that emotions come from a specific part of the brain, triggered by the world around us. The thrill of seeing an old friend, the fear of losing someone we love - each of these sensations seems to arise automatically and uncontrollably from within us, finding expression on our faces and in our behaviour, carrying us away with the experience. This understanding of emotion has been around since Plato. But what if it is wrong? In How Emotions Are Made, pioneering psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett draws on the latest scientific evidence to reveal that our common-sense ideas about emotions are dramatically, even dangerously, out of date - and that we have been paying the price. Emotions aren't universally pre-programmed in our brains and bodies; rather they are psychological experiences that each of us constructs based on our unique personal history, physiology and environment. This new view of emotions has serious implications: when judges issue lesser sentences for crimes of passion, when police officers fire at threatening suspects, or when doctors choose between one diagnosis and another, they're all, in some way, relying on the ancient assumption that emotions are hardwired into our brains and bodies. Revising that conception of emotion isn't just good science, Barrett shows; it's vital to our well-being and the health of society itself.

    @ginafiedel I'm reading this interesting book right now that details how we actually construct emotions rather than simply experience them: How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain https://t.co/jcWMdZGMAg

  • New Dark Age

    James Bridle

    "New Dark Age is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I've read about the Internet, which is to say that it is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I've read about contemporary life." - New Yorker As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world. In reality, we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories, and post-factual politics. Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests. Despite the apparent accessibility of information, we're living in a new Dark Age. From rogue financial systems to shopping algorithms, from artificial intelligence to state secrecy, we no longer understand how our world is governed or presented to us. The media is filled with unverifiable speculation, much of it generated by anonymous software, while companies dominate their employees through surveillance and the threat of automation. In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle surveys the history of art, technology, and information systems, and reveals the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime.

    @stoweboyd I ordered it too, and an looking forward to it. It was after reading his piece on losing control of technology in The Guardian that I put my order in: https://t.co/I3TZy4x8LJ

  • Winner of the 2017 Nautilus Silver Award! This fresh perspective on crucial questions of history identifies the root metaphors that cultures have used to construct meaning in their world. It offers a glimpse into the minds of a vast range of different peoples: early hunter-gatherers and farmers, ancient Egyptians, traditional Chinese sages, the founders of Christianity, trail-blazers of the Scientific Revolution, and those who constructed our modern consumer society. Taking the reader on an archaeological exploration of the mind, the author, an entrepreneur and sustainability leader, uses recent findings in cognitive science and systems theory to reveal the hidden layers of values that form today's cultural norms. Uprooting the tired clichés of the science-religion debate, he shows how medieval Christian rationalism acted as an incubator for scientific thought, which in turn shaped our modern vision of the conquest of nature. The author probes our current crisis of unsustainability and argues that it is not an inevitable result of human nature, but is culturally driven: a product of particular mental patterns that could conceivably be reshaped. By shining a light on our possible futures, the book foresees a coming struggle between two contrasting views of humanity: one driving to a technological endgame of artificially enhanced humans, the other enabling a sustainable future arising from our intrinsic connectedness with each other and the natural world. This struggle, it concludes, is one in which each of us will play a role through the meaning we choose to forge from the lives we lead.

    @Jonathan_Rowson @JeremyRLent @theosnick If you're short of time, try reading @JeremyRLent's book, The Patterning Instinct, instead. I'm reading both at the same time. While I actually do appreciate a number of aspects of Pinker's work, Lent's is by far the better book.

  • Lost Boys

    Darcey Rosenblatt

    In 1982 Iran, twelve-year-old Reza is more interested in music than war, but enlists in obedience to his devout mother and soon finds himself in a prison camp in Iraq.

    "The most important variable is hope." On the degree to which books should expose children to difficult topics. The article references a beautiful book by @Darcey_r (my cousin), "Lost Boys," focused on boys sent as cannon fodder by Iran in the war w Iraq. https://t.co/B4EIJQGjVF

  • Winner of the 2017 Nautilus Silver Award! This fresh perspective on crucial questions of history identifies the root metaphors that cultures have used to construct meaning in their world. It offers a glimpse into the minds of a vast range of different peoples: early hunter-gatherers and farmers, ancient Egyptians, traditional Chinese sages, the founders of Christianity, trail-blazers of the Scientific Revolution, and those who constructed our modern consumer society. Taking the reader on an archaeological exploration of the mind, the author, an entrepreneur and sustainability leader, uses recent findings in cognitive science and systems theory to reveal the hidden layers of values that form today's cultural norms. Uprooting the tired clichés of the science-religion debate, he shows how medieval Christian rationalism acted as an incubator for scientific thought, which in turn shaped our modern vision of the conquest of nature. The author probes our current crisis of unsustainability and argues that it is not an inevitable result of human nature, but is culturally driven: a product of particular mental patterns that could conceivably be reshaped. By shining a light on our possible futures, the book foresees a coming struggle between two contrasting views of humanity: one driving to a technological endgame of artificially enhanced humans, the other enabling a sustainable future arising from our intrinsic connectedness with each other and the natural world. This struggle, it concludes, is one in which each of us will play a role through the meaning we choose to forge from the lives we lead.

    @josieLanterneer @JeremyRLent He is a very clear writer. I'm reading his book, The Patterning Instinct, right now and am really enjoying it. Thanks for sharing.

  • "Explores key patterns of meaning underlying various cultures, from ancient times to the present, showing how values emerge from the ways in which cultures find meaning and how those values shape the future"--

    @IntuitMachine I'm reading @JeremyRLent's The Pattern Instinct right now and one of the things he goes into is the emergence of conceptual thought. I see analogies here. Do you think we'll get there from rules or statistics?