The Ingenuity Gap is a book filled with big ideas that originate from numerous fields of research, and the result is quite stunning. There are so many contentious topics in this 400-page book that every now and then readers are bound to disagree with the author. Notwithstanding, disagreement is the result of conversation, and throughout the book this is the impression I had, that I was having a conversation with a man who has traveled all over the world to find a solution (if one there is) to the growing complexities of the world we live in. The application of chaos and non-linearity to social science is probably not new, but Homer-Dixon presents this principle in such a way that it is impossible for the reader not to see it extending its long fingers around the world we live in, a world that, thanks to us, is growing in complexity. This book serves as a wake-up call for policy-makers around the world who believe that every problem can be solved by technical means only (such...
This is an extraordinary book, and it should be widely read. Not only does it make a compelling case that the problems we're creating for ourselves are rapidly outrunning our cleverness, but it's also packed with fascinating discussions of technical matters -- from global warming to fusion power to the evolution of the human brain. Homer-Dixon brings all these issues together within one conceptual framework by looking at the balance between our requirement for "ingenuity" (basically, practical ideas to solve our problems) and our supply of ingenuity. He is largely successful. Amazingly, despite the difficult subjects he discusses, The Ingenuity Gap is a good read, and some passages are quite moving. It's full of stories and colorful anecdotes, drawn from the author's travels around world. I know of few other books that blend storytelling and technical writing so well. This book will be contentious. It will even make some people very angry. It challenges received...
I have read and reviewed one earlier book by this author, and bought the two more recent works a week ago after realizing I had seriously under-estimated the relevance of this author's work to my holistic integrative "civilization resilience" intent.
This is a five-star book and I expect Upside of Down will be as well.
I was immediately struck by the grace with which the author credits key other minds in the body of the work rather than just as a footnote.
Here are the highlights from my flyleaf notes, and a few other recommended readings:
+ Complexity soaring, need ideas for better institutions and better social arrangements.
+ Delusion of control over complex systems we barely comprehend
+ Citing Paul Rober: ideas co-equivalent to capital and labor
+ Not enough time to reflect (I am reminded of...
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