Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Tales of Beedle the Bard Review

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition

In December 2007, J.K. Rowling unveiled The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a very special book of five fairy tales illustrated by the bard herself, embellished with silver ornaments and mounted moonstones. Amazon was fortunate to come into possession of one of the original copies, and it was our privilege to share images and reviews of this incredible artifact. Now J.K. Rowling is giving millions of Harry Potter fans worldwide cause for celebration with a new edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, available December 4, 2008.
Offering the trademark wit and imagination familiar to Rowling's legions of readers--as well as Aesop's wisdom and the occasional darkness of the Brothers Grimm--each of these five tales reveals a lesson befitting children and parents alike: the strength gained with a trusted friendship, the redemptive power of love, and the true magic that exists in the hearts of all of us. Rowling's new introduction also comments on the personal lessons she has taken from the Tales, noting that the characters in Beedle's collection "take their fates into their own hands, rather than taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe," and "that magic causes as much trouble as it cures."
But the true jewel of this new edition is the enlightening and comprehensive commentary (including extensive footnotes!) by Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who brings his unique wizard's-eye perspective to the collection. Discovered "among the many papers which Dumbledore left in his will to the Hogwarts Archives," the venerable wizard's ruminations on the Tales allow today's readers to place them in the context of 16th century Muggle society, even allowing that "Beedle was somewhat out of step with his times in preaching a message of brotherly love for Muggles" during the era of witch hunts that would eventually drive the wizarding community into self-imposed exile. In fact, versions of the same stories told in wizarding households would shock many for their uncharitable treatment of their Muggle characters.
Professor Dumbledore also includes fascinating historical backstory, including tidbits such as the history and pursuit of magic wands, a brief comment on the Dark Arts and its practitioners, and the struggles with censorship that eventually led "a certain Beatrix Bloxam" to cleanse the Tales of "much of the darker themes that she found distasteful," forever altering the meaning of the stories for their Muggle audience. Dumbledore also allows us a glimpse of his personal relationship to the Tales, remarking that it was through "Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump" that "many of us [wizards] first discovered that magic could not bring back the dead."
Both a wise and delightful addition to the Harry Potter canon, this new translation of The Tales of Beedle the Bard is all that fans could hope for and more--and an essential volume for the libraries of Muggles, wizards, and witches, both young and old.

Amazon Reviews the Original Handcrafted Edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard
The following is Amazon's original December 2007 review. Please note that the review and images below pertain to the handmade book purchased at auction:
There is no easy way to define the experience of seeing, holding, or reading J.K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard, so let's just start with one word: "Whoa." The very fact of its existence (an artifact pulled straight out of a novel) is magical, not to mention the facts that only seven copies exist in all the world and each of the never-before-told tales is handwritten and illustrated by J.K. Rowling herself (and it's quite clear from the first few pages that she has some skill as an artist). Rowling's handwriting is like the familiar scrawl of a favorite aunt--it's not hard to read, but it does require attention--allowing you to take it slow and savor the mystery of each next word.
So how do you review one of the most remarkable tomes you've ever had the pleasure of opening? You just turn each page and allow yourself to be swept away by each story. You soak up the simple tales that read like Aesop's fables and echo the themes of the series; you follow every dip and curve of Rowling's handwriting and revel in every detail that makes the book unique--a slight darkening of a letter here, a place where the writing nearly runs off the page there. You take all that and you try and bring it to life, knowing that you will never be able to do it justice. With that, let's dig in and begin at the beginning, shall we? --Daphne Durham

Magic, Mystery, and Mayhem: A Conversation with J.K. Rowling
"I am an extraordinarily lucky person, doing what I love best in the world. I’m sure that I will always be a writer. It was wonderful enough just to be published. The greatest reward is the enthusiasm of the readers." --J.K. Rowling

Octagon (Ultimate Fighting Championship)

Editorial Reviews
Product Description

Foreword from Dana White, UFC President
Ever since I can remember, I always loved fights. Whether it was sitting in front of the television watching boxing on Saturday afternoons when I was growing up or getting together with a bunch of friends to go to the arena to see a championship fight, there was nothing better than watching two fighters go toe-to-toe while matching wits and trying to prove who had the bigger heart.
To me, it was better than baseball, basketball or football, sports where you had teammates to help you out or take the blame when you lost. Fighting was a one-on-one sport, mano e mano, with no excuses. If you won, you took all the glory; you lost, you had no one to blame but yourself.
It was sport at its purest, but as the years went on, I saw boxing get engulfed and diluted by politics, in-fighting, and greed. I started to get disillusioned by the sport I loved, and it wasn’t until I met some athletes competing in a sport called mixed martial arts that the love of combat sports came back for me like it did when I was growing up.
In this sport, which combined the disciplines of boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and Jiu-Jitsu, I not only saw the future, but I saw the understated artistry that only true fight fans can appreciate. It’s something a lot of people can’t see, and I could never really put my finger on what it is, but when I saw Kevin Lynch’s photographs, I finally found something I could point to and say “that’s it. That’s what this sport is about.”
So when we at the Ultimate Fighting Championship decided to move forward with the book project that became Octagon, there was no question who would be the photographer. And while Kevin’s talent is obvious, his understanding of this sport and its athletes was another key factor in our decision, because let’s face it – not everyone is willing to look past the misconceptions about mixed martial arts and give it the fair treatment it deserves.
It’s been a long process to get to this point – for the UFC and for this book – but it was of the utmost importance to get it right, whether that meant unprecedented access to our events for Kevin, or having him capture our athletes at their most vulnerable, which was immediately before and after their fights. In combat sports, or any sport for that matter, vulnerability can be seen as weakness; but one look at the pictures in this book will show that behind the bruises and cuts and the defeated or triumphant eyes, there is strength. It’s what these athletes are all about, and let me tell you, it takes a special person to step into that Octagon and fight another man – it’s why I call our guys real fighters, and why many of them are like family to me.
Octagon captures everything that’s great about this sport, and it makes me a fan all over again. It also reminds me that even with all the traveling, business meetings, interviews, late hours, and time away from my family, I’m here because I love fights and the UFC, and I always will.
- Dana White

About the Author

Kevin Lynch is a professional photographer in Los Angeles who's work focuses on entertainment, sports, advertising, celebrity and fashion photography. His photography has appeared in museums and galleries throughout Europe and the United States and in publications like Harper's Bazaar, Vibe, Camera Arts, Vogue Magazine and B&W magazine. He lives in California.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly

Eker's claim to fame is that he took a $2,000 credit card loan, opened "one of the first fitness stores in North America," turned it into a chain of 10 within two and a half years and sold it in 1987 for a cool (but somewhat modest-seeming) $1.6 million. Now the Vancouver-based entrepreneur traverses the continent with his "Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar," on which this debut motivational business manual is based. What sets it apart is Eker's focus on the way people think and feel about money and his canny, class-based analyses of broad differences among groups. In rat-a-tat, "Let me explain" seminar-speak, Eker asks readers to think back to their childhoods and pick apart the lessons they passively absorbed from parents and others about money. With such psychological nuggets as "Rich people focus on opportunities/ Poor people focus on obstacles," Eker puts a positive spin on stereotypes, arguing that poverty begins, or rather, is allowed to continue, in one's imagination first, with actual material life becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. To that end, Eker counsels for admiration and against resentment, for positivity, self-promotion and thinking big and against wallowing, self-abnegation and small-mindedness. While much of the advice is self-evident, Eker's contribution is permission to think of one's financial foibles as a kind of mental illness—one, he says, that has a ready set of cures.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
Eker, a multimillionaire, teaches us how to become rich. He believes thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to actions, which lead to results, and hence the key to attaining great wealth begins with thinking--like rich people do. He offers new ways of thinking and acting that will lead to new and different results, and he tells us, "Success is a learnable skill. You can learn to succeed at anything." The book emphasizes Eker's 17 principles for amassing wealth, which include: rich people believe that they create their life, while poor people believe "life happens to me." Rich people focus on opportunities, while poor people focus on obstacles. Rich people act in spite of fear, while poor people let fear stop them. Rich people constantly learn and grow, while poor people think they know enough. This is an obvious infomercial for the author's training seminars; however, although many may not agree with all of Eker's ideas, his book offers thought-provoking advice and valuable insight. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

"Harv Eker is one of the most extraordinary speakers and trainers in the world today!" -- Mark Victor Hansen, Coauthor, #1 New York Times bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul

"I have admired Eker’s work for years and I highly recommend this book for everyone seeking to increase their wealth." -- Jack Canfield, Coauthor, Chicken Soup for the Soul

"If you want to learn about the root cause of success, read Secrets of the Millionaire Mind." -- Robert G. Allen, author of Multiple Streams of Income, and The One Minute Millionaire

"If you want to move to a new level of success quickly, memorize every word in this profound book." -- Linda Forsythe, Founder/CEO, Mentors Magazine

"Study this book as if your life depended on it...financially it may!" -- Anthony Robbins, the world's #1 peak performance coach

"T. Harv Eker is a master at making the road to riches simple." -- Marci Shimoff, coauthor, Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul

"This is the most powerful, persuasive, and practical book on becoming wealthy that you will ever read." -- Brian Tracy, author of Getting Rich Your Own Way

Product Description

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind reveals the missing link between wanting success and achieving it!

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get rich easily, while others are destined for a life of financial struggle? Is the difference found in their education, intelligence, skills, timing, work habits, contacts, luck, or their choice of jobs, businesses, or investments?

The shocking answer is: None of the above!

In his groundbreaking Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker states: "Give me five minutes, and I can predict your financial future for the rest of your life!" Eker does this by identifying your "money and success blueprint." We all have a personal money blueprint ingrained in our subconscious minds, and it is this blueprint, more than anything, that will determine our financial lives. You can know everything about marketing, sales, negotiations, stocks, real estate, and the world of finance, but if your money blueprint is not set for a high level of success, you will never have a lot of money—and if somehow you do, you will most likely lose it! The good news is that now you can actually reset your money blueprint to create natural and automatic success.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind is two books in one. Part I explains how your money blueprint works. Through Eker's rare combination of street smarts, humor, and heart, you will learn how your childhood influences have shaped your financial destiny. You will also learn how to identify your own money blueprint and "revise" it to not only create success but, more important, to keep and continually grow it.

In Part II you will be introduced to seventeen "Wealth Files," which describe exactly how rich people think and act differently than most poor and middle-class people. Each Wealth File includes action steps for you to practice in the real world in order to dramatically increase your income and accumulate wealth.

If you are not doing as well financially as you would like, you will have to change your money blueprint. Unfortunately your current money blueprint will tend to stay with you for the rest of your life, unless you identify and revise it, and that's exactly what you will do with the help of this extraordinary book. According to T. Harv Eker, it's simple. If you think like rich people think and do what rich people do, chances are you'll get rich too!

About the Author

Using the principles he teaches, T. Harv Eker went from zero to millionaire in only two and a half years. Eker is president of Peak Potentials Training, one of the fastest growing success training companies in North America. With his unique brand of "street smarts with heart," Eker's humorous, "cut-to-the-chase" style keeps his audience spellbound. People come from all over the world to attend his sold-out seminars, where crowds often exceed 2,000 people for a weekend program. So far, Eker's teachings have touched the lives of more than a quarter million people. Now, for the first time, he shares his proven secrets of success in this revolutionary book. Read it and grow rich!

From AudioFile
A witty pep talk for wealth-seekers is delivered by someone who's still amazed he's a millionaire. T. Harv Eker's audiobook should shake even the most entrenched negative thinkers out of their easy chairs. Eker is bursting with energy and the need to teach you, and you, and yes, you, how to increase your wealth and quality of life by emulating his methods, which, oddly enough, are similar in many ways to methods taught for centuries about self-improvement. The good news is this stuff is worth repeating as we tend to forget to maintain our momentum. Eker also imbues his lessons with easy-to-remember self-motivating techniques as you make your way to your abundant bliss. D.J.B. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine

Friday, December 5, 2008

Outliers: The Story of Success

Editorial Reviews Review
Amazon Best of the Month, November 2008: Now that he's gotten us talking about the viral life of ideas and the power of gut reactions, Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."Outliers can be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendents of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York, how a pilots' culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math. But there's more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples--and in more that delve into the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the reasons for school achievement gaps--Gladwell invites conversations about the complex ways privilege manifests in our culture. He leaves us pondering the gifts of our own history, and how the world could benefit if more of our kids were granted the opportunities to fulfill their remarkable potential. --Mari Malcolm
From Publishers Weekly
SignatureReviewed by Leslie ChangIn Outliers, Gladwell (The Tipping Point) once again proves masterful in a genre he essentially pioneered—the book that illuminates secret patterns behind everyday phenomena. His gift for spotting an intriguing mystery, luring the reader in, then gradually revealing his lessons in lucid prose, is on vivid display. Outliers begins with a provocative look at why certain five-year-old boys enjoy an advantage in ice hockey, and how these advantages accumulate over time. We learn what Bill Gates, the Beatles and Mozart had in common: along with talent and ambition, each enjoyed an unusual opportunity to intensively cultivate a skill that allowed them to rise above their peers. A detailed investigation of the unique culture and skills of Eastern European Jewish immigrants persuasively explains their rise in 20th-century New York, first in the garment trade and then in the legal profession. Through case studies ranging from Canadian junior hockey champions to the robber barons of the Gilded Age, from Asian math whizzes to software entrepreneurs to the rise of his own family in Jamaica, Gladwell tears down the myth of individual merit to explore how culture, circumstance, timing, birth and luck account for success—and how historical legacies can hold others back despite ample individual gifts. Even as we know how many of these stories end, Gladwell restores the suspense and serendipity to these narratives that make them fresh and surprising.One hazard of this genre is glibness. In seeking to understand why Asian children score higher on math tests, Gladwell explores the persistence and painstaking labor required to cultivate rice as it has been done in East Asia for thousands of years; though fascinating in its details, the study does not prove that a rice-growing heritage explains math prowess, as Gladwell asserts. Another pitfall is the urge to state the obvious: No one, Gladwell concludes in a chapter comparing a high-IQ failure named Chris Langan with the brilliantly successful J. Robert Oppenheimer, not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires and not even geniuses—ever makes it alone. But who in this day and age believes that a high intelligence quotient in itself promises success? In structuring his book against that assumption, Gladwell has set up a decidedly flimsy straw man. In the end it is the seemingly airtight nature of Gladwell's arguments that works against him. His conclusions are built almost exclusively on the findings of others—sociologists, psychologists, economists, historians—yet he rarely delves into the methodology behind those studies. And he is free to cherry-pick those cases that best illustrate his points; one is always left wondering about the data he evaluated and rejected because it did not support his argument, or perhaps contradicted it altogether. Real life is seldom as neat as it appears in a Malcolm Gladwell book. (Nov.)Leslie T. Chang is the author of Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China (Spiegel & Grau). Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Like his previous work, THE TIPPING POINT, BLINK is a thought-provoking, category-defying book. The audio is read by the author with care and conviction." (AudioFile Magazine ) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Product Description
In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band. Brilliant and entertaining, OUTLIERS is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.
About the Author
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He was formerly a business and science reporter at the Washington Post.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Clone Wars (Star Wars)

Product Description

Across the galaxy, the Clone Wars are raging. The Separatists, led by Count Dooku, the onetime Jedi and now secret Sith Lord, continue to press forward, and more and more worlds are either falling, or seceding and joining the cause. Under the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the Republic heroically battles on, championed by its huge army of cloned soldiers and their Jedi generals. Anakin Skywalker, believed by some to be the prophesied “Chosen One” destined to bring balance to the Force, is now a Jedi Knight under the tutelage of his Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Death is a constant possibility–and his chances of survival aren’t improved by the unexpected arrival of an apprentice: Ahsoka, a brash, inexperienced fourteen-year-old Padawan apprenticed to Anakin. But there’s no time for Anakin to question his latest orders: He and Obi-Wan have been assigned a new mission, and failure is not an option.Jabba the Hutt’s precious infant son has been kidnapped, and when the frantic parent applies to the Jedi for help, it falls to Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and their clone troops to track down the evidence and retrieve the missing Huttlet. And more is at stake: For a grateful Jabba just might allow the Republic access to the Hutt-controlled space lanes that the Grand Army desperately needs in order to beat the Separatists into submission. But the Republic is not the only power that craves access to those space lanes. Count Dooku, determined to win the prize for the Separatists, has set a trap for the Jedi. When they find the Huttlet, they will also find Dooku’s master assassin, Asajj Ventress, and countless legions of battle droids waiting to spring a trap.The blazing new animated feature film Star Wars: The Clone Wars takes place in the years preceding Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and sets the stage for the groundbreaking TV series. Both contain all original material–direct from the brilliant imagination of legendary Star Wars creator George Lucas. And these exciting new adventures and characters are being brought to life in book form by none other than #1 New York Times bestselling Star Wars author Karen Traviss.

Obiwan Kenobi

About the Author

Karen Traviss is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of four Star Wars: Republic Commando novels: Order 66, Hard Contact, Triple Zero, and True Colors; three Star Wars: Legacy of the Force novels: Bloodlines, Revelation, and Sacrifice; as well as City of Pearl, Crossing the Line, The World Before, Matriarch, Ally, and Judge. A former defense correspondent and TV and newspaper journalist, Traviss has also worked as a police press officer, an advertising copywriter, and a journalism lecturer. Her short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, On Spec, and Star Wars Insider. She lives in Devizes, England.

Anakin Skywalker

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary

Over the years Star Wars readers have come to regard the incredible works of DK Books as the imaginative and authoritative guides inside the Star Wars saga. As announced in the latest Star Wars Insider, DK will publish Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, the ultimate guide to the entire Star Wars saga.
Here's a look inside the book, which combines all four Star Wars Visual Dictionaries into one volume, and expands the original works with new material. Revenge of the Sith is explored in even more detail, with in-depth looks at Utapau, Mustafar, the Clone Wars and Order 66. The original Star Wars trilogy is also expanded, with overviews of the Rebel Alliance, Imperial personnel, and more. New artwork and props have been built specifically for this project, including a cutaway view of the enormous Sarlacc creature sculpted by Robert E. Barnes, and an exploded view of R2-D2's insides by model maker Don Bies (who has just joined the community here!)

The authors of the book, David West Reynolds, James Luceno and Ryder Windham, worked closely with Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic to research this unique reference book. The result: a fascinating visual gallery of the characters, creatures and hardware of the entire Star Wars saga as they appear nowhere else!

"For SW fanboys, The Complete Visual Dictionary is a little slice of heaven. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal

Product Description
Provides a complete, comprehensive overview of the Prequel movies (Episodes I-III) and the Trilogy (Episodes IV-VI), this is the definitive photographic guide to the entire Star Wars saga.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Frank Herbert's Chapterhouse Dune

Product Description

Now--the conclusion to Frank Herbert's l3-million-copy epic masterpiece. The desert planet Arrakis, called Dune, has been destroyed, and the heirs to Dune's power, have colonized a green world--and are turning it into a desert, mile by scorched mile. "Impressive...the whole saga will be one of the monuments of modern science fiction."--Chicago Sun Times. TP: Berkley.


Chapterhouse: Dune continues quite closely after the events of Heretics of Dune, unlike some of the earlier gaps in the series (which have added up to over five thousand years since the original Dune). In the dozen or so years since Heretics of Dune concluded, the Honoured Matres have almost completely destroyed the Bene Gesserit. Chapterhouse: Dune tells the story of how the Bene Gesserit fight back, and if only it were that simple. Herbert dangles a number of useless plot threads in front of the reader, and the ending is both unsatisfying and inconclusive. After the beautifully written closure of Heretics of Dune, which was both open-ended and a lovely wrap-up, this is particularly disappointing. The jacket copy gives us a bit of hype: "Blending familiar, beloved characters and situations with a whole fresh world of actions and events, [Herbert] leaves us breathless to make the next astonishing leap in the evolving grandeur that is Dune." Unfortunately, Herbert was to die in 1986, the year following the publication of this book, and we never found out how the Dune story would have evolved further.
Darwi Odrade is Mother Superior of the Bene Gesserit, and has to contend with the drastic changes that she herself helped to effect in the previous book. The Bene Gesserit are under sustained attack by the Honoured Matres, with few allies in sight. Using technology gained from the Bene Tleilax (before they too were destroyed), the Sisterhood has created a ghola of Miles Teg, who needs training and education. The former Honoured Matre, Murbella, is also being groomed for Bene Gesserit schemes, along with her lover, Duncan Idaho. Only one Bene Tleilax survives, Scytale, but he does little except grumble in captivity. And in a wildly bizarre and underwritten subplot, a group of Jews decide to help the Bene Gesserit -- unfortunately, this adds nothing at all to the story. Chapterhouse: Dune ends with some violence that seems unexplained and abrupt, and then Murbella suddenly takes centre stage, and the Bene Gesserit pull victory out of a hat like magic.
Odrade directs most of the action in the book, and is a strong, sympathetic character, like the Bene Gesserit often are. Slyly, Herbert writes in a major flaw for all the Bene Gesserit (except Sheeana and Murbella), and in Odrade herself, whose main scheme is later revealed as a cure for that very flaw. I appreciated that turning point which forced a different evaluation of everything that had gone before in the Sisterhood. I also liked the love story between Duncan and Murbella, which, oddly, became a tragedy despite how Odrade's scheme should have made them a better match. Chapterhouse: Dune spends little time on Miles Teg, which would have strengthened the book, and just as small amount of quality time on the Honoured Matres. Herbert has better villains here than the Harkonnens, but I was still hoping for more depth in the Honoured Matres. I suppose Murbella herself stands in for the psychological struggles her former sisterhood will face in the events that follow the conclusion.
Even without a more satisfying conclusion to the series in terms of the overarching story, Chapterhouse: Dune provides tidy closure in an idea that Odrade talks about midway through the book. An acolyte has been asking about the Bene Gesserit Coda, a collection of sayings and aphorisms, and Odrade replies: "'We have them mainly to disprove them. The Coda is for novices and others in primary training'" (232). One of the main aphorisms in the Coda (which I don't want to trivialize by summarizing here) is itself disproved by the course of Chapterhouse: Dune. And in an odd, interesting way, the entire Dune series functions in the same way -- a kind of long-standing corrective to Herbert's tendency to use epigrams in each book. The Coda (Herbert's jargon) and the overall story work together to introduce Herbert's ideas and then refine them. As such, the Dune series demands a rather immense perspective.
Chapterhouse: Dune ends with a touching tribute by Herbert to his wife, Bev, who died in 1984. It seems a bit odd that he would include this -- I can't think of any other book with a similar coda. But it does not seem self-indulgent; it humanizes Herbert in a way that never happened before in this rather cerebral series. Herbert himself stares out from a full-size photograph on the back dust-jacket of my edition, and he looks quite unfamiliar without his trademark beard. His face itself summarizes all the kindness and intelligence that marked this remarkable series, quite unique and unmatched in all of science fiction.

Frank Herbert's Heretics of Dune

Product Description

The planet Arrakis is becoming desert again. Lost ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying, and the children of Dunes children awaken from empire as from a dream, wielding the new power of a heresy called love.

Reviews From

Heretics of Dune is the fifth entry in the ongoing Dune series. And surprisingly, Heretics of Dune is a much better book than I remembered, and a distinct improvement over God Emperor of Dune (which lost favour with me on this re-reading half a dozen years after the first time through). Herbert leaps forward fifteen hundred years after the events of God Emperor of Dune, and works wonders with some new speculation and an entirely new batch of characters. He weaves together several fascinating storylines with almost the same mastery as informed Dune, and keeps the reader intent on the next revelation or twist. What is this basic suspense? There are some involved schemes occurring, and all of the mysterious machinations might become clear on the very next page. If you thought history had ended with the prescient visions of Paul Atreides, or with the millennia-long reign of his son Leto, then Herbert pulls a number of flashy new tricks out of his familiar hat. In some ways, this book belongs to the Bene Gesserit, so the intrigue is indeed intense, but we encounter more bizarre sexual behaviour from the Sisterhood and their enemies than some might wish to know.
The plot hums along nicely from beginning to end, its only flaw that it ends too abruptly. The Bene Gesserit are raising a ghola of Duncan Idaho for some mysterious reasons of their own. This clone was supplied by the Bene Tleilax, about whom we find out a great deal for the first time in the series (which enriches this book considerably). They have their own schemes for the future of the universe, which put them at odds with the Bene Gesserit. On Rakis, formerly known as Arrakis or Dune, the Priesthood of the Divided God (the remnants of Leto now scattered across the desert in the form of the various sandworms) has found a young woman named Sheeana who can control the sandworms. The other main element of the book consists of the peoples of the Scattering, the great outward flight after the collapse of Leto's empire. The scattered ones are returning, and among them are the Honoured Matres, a kind of pseudo-Bene Gesserit, who want to destroy the Bene Gesserit. Each of these storylines is encapsulated nicely in the dilemmas and learnings of the relevant characters.
Duncan Idaho is perhaps central to Heretics of Dune because of his importance to the plot developments. And we follow his voyage to self-knowledge with a kind of aching empathy, mostly triggered by the scene on page 30 where he deduces that he is a clone: "Late afternoon in the library, all of the esoteric machinery around him faded into a sensory background, and a ten-year-old sat silently before a scanner hugging the knowledge to himself. I am a ghola! " (30). Miles Teg is the most famous military commander of the day, and he is assigned to protect Duncan. But Teg is not a military man as we might know it -- in Heretics of Dune's nicest touch, we finally see some of the benefits of Leto's Golden Path as chatted about endlessly in the previous book. Take a glimpse at Teg's thought processes: "He felt as he always did just before battle: Empty of all false dreams. This was failure. The talking had failed and now came the contest of blood... unless he could prevail in some other way. Combat these days was seldom a massive thing but death was there nonetheless. That represented a more permanent kind of failure. If we cannot adjust our differences peacefully we are less than human " (108). Strong words, and ones that perhaps we don't hear often enough. Unfortunately, Teg loses much of his interest after a fantastic transformation near the end.
Teg is commanded by the Bene Gesserit. Taraza is the Mother Superior, the ultimate schemer, who, along with her friend (as much as Reverend Mothers have friends) Odrade, are tweaking their plans throughout the known universe. The two women are characterized fully, despite how much emphasis Herbert places on the fact that the Bene Gesserit repress their emotions. As part of their massive strategy, Odrade goes to Rakis to help train Sheeana. I liked the way that Sheeana was introduced, and her original encounters with the Rakian Priesthood. But her vividness seemed to fade as the mechanics of the plot took over and she became a pawn for the Bene Gesserit. Heretics of Dune has a large cast of supporting characters, and all of them are given at least some depth despite their functional role, like Burzmali, Teg's successor, or Waff, the leader of the Bene Tleilax.
The Honoured Matres have gained power because they know how to create supreme sexual ecstasy for a man. I don't want to give away the main part of Herbert's plot, but the Bene Gesserit are indeed fighting back. This kind of conflict leads to some odd moments, especially in Herbert's hyper-metaphysical writing style. I also thought that the sequence where Lucilla and Burzmali have to disguise themselves was unnecessary -- Lucilla becomes a "lady of Hormu" and Burzmali her customer. In another strange theme that runs through the book, Herbert harps on the belief that everyone should know their place and that hierarchical ways of governing are best (a theme that Leto often expounded upon in God Emperor of Dune and appears explicitly in a few of the Bene Gesserit epigraphs here, page 33 for example). Teg is thinking about the basis for this belief: "It began with the recognition that humans were not created equal, that they possessed different inherited abilities and experienced different events in their lives. This produced people of different accomplishments and different worth" (198). All of the characters in the book seem to hold this belief, and it's partly a way for Herbert to justify his subject: these advanced beings, at the top of the hierarchy, "naturally" get to do all the exciting, important, universe-shattering things. But the underbelly of this viewpoint is a contempt for the mass of un-special people, the "muck" as the Honoured Matres refer to them. Teg tries to draw a distinction between the Honoured Matres' attitude and his own: "Will I ever think of them as muck? It could only happen if he let it happen, he knew" (448). But even Teg, the enlightened military man, makes some elitist-style choices at the conclusion, writing them off as tough command decisions.
Herbert has another successful Dune book here, despite the flaws I've mentioned. Heretics of Dune is a good read, and I've always admired Herbert's ability to get closure out of open-endedness, out of the opening stages of a vast transformation. Heretics of Dune does not stand alone, but builds on the implications and events that have come before -- quite a feat, considering the quality of the earlier books.

About the Author

Frank Herbert was educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobs—including TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter, and editor of several West Coast newspapers—before becoming a full-time writer. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune

Product Description

A beautiful new package with a new introduction…Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the oncedesert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world’s savior, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity’s future, he sacrificed his own by merging with a sandworm, granting him nearimmortality as God Emperor of Dune for the past 3,500 years.Leto’s rule is not a benevolent one. His transformation has not only made his appearance inhuman, but his morality. A rebellion has risen to oppose the despot’s rule, led by Siona, a member of the Atreides family. But Siona is unaware that Leto’s vision of a Golden Path for humanity requires her to fulfill a destiny she never wanted…or could possibly conceive…

Reviews from

God Emperor of Dune follows closely on the events that conclude Children of Dune, if that can be said about a sequel that takes place approximately three thousand years later. What is the Golden Path that made Paul Atreides do what he could to avoid it and that his son Leto took upon himself? Here we find out, in what can only be described as strange mix of excruciating detail and essential vagueness. God Emperor of Dune has little suspense in the ordinary sense -- we find out on page 14 from Leto what will happen at the end. But the rest of the book proceeds in odd tension to that revelation, as everything marches forward according to normality. Odd seems a good word for the little touches that mark God Emperor of Dune in many places (does anyone care to explain Nayla's orgasm in the third last section?), and I would use the word disturbing for some of Herbert's historical generalizations. But despite whatever faults I might ascribe to the book, I also felt it hard to stop reading, and the milieu was just as fascinating in its own way compared to the three earlier books.
As I said, Herbert chooses to reveal the ending of the book on page 14. So without much of a spoiler warning, I quote that little passage. Leto, the God Emperor, is thinking to himself: "I often think about my final metamorphosis, that likeness of death. I know the way it must come but I do not know the moment or the other players. This is the one thing I cannot know. I only know whether the Golden Path continues or ends" (14). Leto has been ruling for three thousand years at this point, in his half-human, half-sandworm body. Much of the plot that fills in the next four hundred pages has to do with the inner tension that Leto feels between his human-self and his worm-self. Or put another way, whatever little plot that does exist is swamped by Leto's verbosity. As I said in my reviews of earlier Dune books, the plot of God Emperor of Dune mirrors that of Dune Messiah. Unfortunately, what was lean and straightforward in Book Two has become bloated and less interesting in Book Four. Paul was much more of a tragic character, whereas Leto is not struggling against his fate in the same way. Herbert is making a point about Leto's loss of humanity, but it still saps quite a bit of sympathy and urgency from the plot.
That is unfortunate because many of the players in the unfolding story are quite interesting. Nayla, apart from the scene where she has an orgasm for no particular reason, is a bit player with some depth, like the Bene Gesserit Anteac. Moneo and his daughter Siona are both well-portrayed, with Moneo's slow breakdown and Siona's leaps in intuition and power being believable and shown in their actions. I liked how Herbert used the ghola of Duncan Idaho, and how this particular Duncan differentiated himself from the stream of others in the previous three thousand years. I didn't understand the whole Hwi Noree subplot, and I was a little bothered by her portrayal as a "perfect" woman. Every man with tyrannical powers over the universe needs a self-effacing woman to vent some spleen towards, apparently.
On the whole, Herbert carries off the necessary fiction of a three thousand year old superbeing and his internal thought processes. Leto can see the future and access the lives of all of his ancestors, which gives Herbert a glorious opportunity to pontificate with Leto as his mouthpiece. Sometimes the voluble reflections are engaging and serve the plot, like the following two examples. Leto is thinking about jihads and violence: "What is anathema? The motivation to ravage, no matter the instruments" (42). Just like my next example, here we see part of Leto's own motivation for his actions on the Golden Path. Later on, he is talking to Hwi Noree about planning the future: "'Most believe that a satisfactory future requires a return to an idealized past, a past which never in fact existed'" (390). But other times, Herbert seems to lose his bearings in the freedom of trying to speak with surety of such a being as Leto -- witness the section on pages 91 through 99 about homosexuality in the military and about female nature.
I will close this review with two smaller peeves. Leto often takes potshots at people and institutions that his listeners know nothing about, like the Jesuits, as if the thirteen thousand years since the Jesuits of our day couldn't furnish a better example. And while I typically like the kind of framing device that Herbert uses for God Emperor of Dune, here I was hoping for more open-endedness, considering how tightly planned the rest of the book happens to be. Book Four of the Dune series has many of the same strengths as the previous three, and I was indeed kept up late at night. Readers with stamina should read God Emperor of Dune in order to be prepared for the excellent sequel, Heretics of Dune.

About the Author

Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma, Washington, and educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobs—including TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter, and editor of several West Coast newspapers—before becoming a full-time writer.

Frank Herbert's Children of Dune

Product Description

The science fiction masterpiece continues in the “major event,”( Los Angeles Times) Children of Dune.With millions of copies sold worldwide, Frank Herbert’s Dune novels stand among the major achievements of the human imagination and one of the most significant sagas in the history of literary science fiction.The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, disappeared in the deserts of Arrakis. Like their father, they possess supernormal abilities—making them valuable to their aunt Alia, who rules the Empire. If Alia can obtain the secrets of the twins’ prophetic visions, her rule will be absolute. But the twins have their own plans for their destiny.


Frank Herbert's third installment in the immensely popular Dune series, first published in 1976, covers the life of Muad'Dib's children, Leto and Ghanima Atreides -- both nine years old in the story.
In the wake of the events described in Dune Messiah, the universe is recovering from the Holy War which left the desert planet Arrakis as the center of attention in the Empire. A religion grown around the legend of Paul Muad'Dib is articulated by his sister, Alia of the Knife.
Leto and Ghanima, born of Paul's late concubine Chani, are being raised in the Fremen way despite ancient taboo against the abominations they have become -- children with the minds and memories of adults. However, when a conspiracy rooted in the highest levels of Alia's religiously-backed government threatens the lives of the children, the twins devise a plan to survive and help weed out the troublemakers.
Separating for the first time in their life, Ghanima returns to the capital city of Arakeen where she quickly becomes a pawn in Alia's games of power -- she is forced into an arranged marriage.
Leto, on the other hand, heads deep into the desert where he discovers remnants of ancient customs and legends. He learns about himself, his ancestry and -- unknown to the other residents of the planet -- the history and cycles of Arrakis itself. Gifted with his father's prescience, Leto looks into the past and future and sees a Golden Path which, if followed out, will result in the ultimate success and survival of the entire human race. Where Paul Muad'Dib had made this revelation and shied away from it, Leto realizes he must embrace it for the good of both humanity and the universe.
The unfortunate truth to Leto's plan is that it requires his presence and guidance to succeed; To extend his life the thousands of years necessary, he begins a metamorphosis that changes him from human to a new form.

About the Author

Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma, Washington, and educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobs—including TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter, and editor of several West Coast newspapers—before becoming a full-time writer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Moon A Vampire Fiction

Bella has been going out with her vampire boyfriend Edward for six blissfully happy months. The only thing that worries her is his steadfast refusal to even consider making her into a vampire like him. As the day of her eighteenth birthday rolls around she feels less than happy because she is now older than Edward, who will never age past seventeen.
To celebrate her birthday Edward takes Bella to a birthday party at his family home but when a stupid accident that leaves Bella covered in blood and nearly triggers a feeding frenzy in Jasper, Edward’s brother, the party falls somewhat flat.
Edward suddenly becomes more distant towards to Bella and finally he tells her that he and his family are leaving Forks, to never return, and he no longer wants to see her.
Edward is Bella’s whole world and his abandonment is a harsh blow. Her whole world falls apart and as she becomes withdrawn from the world she soon loses most of her friends becoming even more isolated and lonely.
When she does something dangerous she starts hallucinating and thinks she can hear Edward telling her not to do anything stupid and to be more careful. This leads to a whole new range of interests for Bella including learning to ride a motorbike and cliff diving because she feels that he is still with her at those times. Her old friend Jacob Black becomes her partner in crime, fixing up her motorbike for her and teaching her to ride it. Although the pain of Edward’s departure never leaves Bella, Jacob soon becomes her best friend and he helps to fill some of the voids in her life.
Jacob himself is no ordinary boy and soon Bella discovers that part of his Quileute heritage is to be cursed to be a werewolf. Certain members of the tribe turn into werewolves in their teenage years in response to the presence of vampires. Werewolves and vampires are natural enemies and the enmity runs deep on both sides.
Alice returns to Forks and although she brings no news of Edward with her, her extraordinary gift of being able to see the future soon tells her that Edward is heading on a path of self destruction that only Bella can advert. But will Bella be in time to stop the tragedy?
The Review
New Moon is the sequel to Stephenie Meyer’s remarkably good debut novel Twilight. This novel works well enough as a stand alone but I think that you will get a better understanding of the story and maximum enjoyment from reading it if you have read Twilight first.
New Moon is always going to be compared to Twilight and people who are expecting this novel to be essentially the same as Twilight may be disappointed. Twilight had an almost dreamy, fairytale quality to the writing, which this story lacks. The Cullen family of vampires are also absent from a large proportion of New Moon, and vampire fans may keenly feel their absence. Do not let this put you off reading the book however because it is still one of the best books that I have read this year.
The story is narrated in first person by Bella and has an obvious parallel with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and I mean obvious because even Bella recognises that she is in danger of playing out history’s greatest romantic tragedy. I think keeping Romeo and Juliet in the forefront of the readers mind actually helps the author build the tension for the climax of the story because we can all see the tragedy that is waiting to happen.
The pain that Bella feels when Edward abandons her is extremely well written and is really what this story is about. Most of the things that happen to Bella in New Moon are as a result of the overwhelming loss that she is trying to bear. Her friendship with Jacob has a doomed quality to it not only because he obviously loves her while she is in love with Edward but because he is a werewolf and he naturally hates all vampires.
For fantasy fans, the story isn’t all about Bella and her emotional pain. The rogue vampires Laurent and Victoria return to Forks. They are looking for revenge against Edward but they only find Bella. The Quileute werewolves are an exciting addition to the story and it will be interesting to see how this plot line is developed in the next novel in this series.
I stayed up until the early hours of the morning reading this book because once I was caught up in the story I couldn’t stop reading. I’m sure I’m not the first person, and won’t be the last person either, to say that about this novel. New Moon is highly recommended reading.

New Moon Audio CD
New Moon is available in audio CD format too. Narrated by Ilyana Kadushin the novel is completely unabridged making the audio book nearly 15 hours long (that’s 12 compact discs.) 15 hours sounds like a long time but Ilyana’s story telling soon becomes compelling listening and time flies by as disc after disc is feed into the CD player.
After listening to Twilight I felt that Ilyana’s breathy rendition of Edward was a little off putting but with Edward having a much smaller part in New Moon than he did in Twilight there isn’t so much of that in New Moon. Jacob and Charlie have larger parts and Ilyana narrates both parts well (an angry Charlie is probably her best character so far) making for an enjoyable listening experience.
Audio CD is a whole new way to enjoy this story, and as the audio book is completely unabridged the listener doesn’t miss out on a single word from the printed version of this novel. Be warned – New Moon is just as addictive in audio format as it the first time you read it in print - you will end up making excuses to take your CDs or iPod with you where ever you go, so you can keep listening!

Product Description

I FELT LIKE I WAS TRAPPED IN ONE OF THOSE TERRIFYING NIGHTMARES…For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning. . . . Legions of readers entranced by the New York Times bestseller Twilight are hungry for the continuing story of star-crossed lovers Bella and Edward. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural spin. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.

About the Author

Stephenie Meyer was born on Christmas Eve in Hartford, Connecticut, but she has lived in Arizona since the age of four. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English Literature, and lives with her husband and three young sons.

Buy it now here.

Find Other works Stephenie Meyer one of the most fantastic vampire story writer here.

Listen to her interview about Twilight,New Moon , Eclipse here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Origin of Financial Crises: Central Banks, Credit Bubbles and the Efficient Market Fallacy

The Origin of Financial Crises provides a compelling analysis of the forces behind today's economic crisis. In a series of disarmingly simple arguments George Cooper challenges the core principles of today's economic orthodoxy, explaining why financial markets do not obey the efficient market principles described in today's economic textbooks but are instead inherently unstable and habitually crisis prone. The author describes the evolution of our modern monetary system, explaining along the way how financial instability emerged and why this instability required the development of central banking. Cooper claims that misguided faith in the power of free markets has led some central banks to neglect their core role of managing the financial system and instead caused them to pursue policies which promote a series of ever more violent boom-bust cycles. The Origin of Financial Crises calls for a radical shift in central bank strategy the abandonment of inflation targeting and a paradigm shift in our attitude to economic policy. Along the way the reader will learn about the fundamentals of inflation and discover what policy makers can learn from the designers of the Eurofighter jet. They will also learn how an obscure paper on steam engines, written in 1868, by the inventor of colour photography shows us how to avoid repeating recent monetary policy mistakes. Uniquely, The Origin of Financial Crises presents tangible policy proposals aimed at helping break out of the seemingly endless procession of damaging boom-bust cycles.

About George Cooper
Dr. George Cooper is a principal of Alignment Investors a division of BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd. He was born in Sunderland and studied at Durham University. George has worked as a fund manager at Goldman Sachs and as strategist for Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan. He lives in London with his wife and two children.
More about George Cooper

Reviews for The Origin of Financial Crises
"A must read...Cooper's book is by far the most cogent and reasoned of the modern-day 'credit excess' school." - The Economist "A well written book...Cooper's most novel doctrine is that investors do not have to be irrational to generate bubbles." - Financial Times

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America (Thomas L Friedman) ReviewBook Description
Thomas L. Friedman’s phenomenal number-one bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world in a new way. In his brilliant, essential new book, Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows us how the solutions to these two big problems are linked--how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time.
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.” Already the earth is being affected in ways that threaten to make it dangerously unstable. In just a few years, it will be too late to fix things--unless the United States steps up now and takes the lead in a worldwide effort to replace our wasteful, inefficient energy practices with a strategy for clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation that Friedman calls Code Green.
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.
In vivid, entertaining chapters, Friedman makes it clear that the green revolution we need is like no revolution the world has seen. 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. But the payoff for America will be more than just cleaner air. It will inspire Americans to something we haven’t seen in a long time--nation-building in America--by summoning the intelligence, creativity, boldness, and concern for the common good that are our nation’s greatest natural resources.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman: fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the challenge--and the promise--of the future.

Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria: Author One-to-One
Fareed Zakaria: Your book is about two things, the climate crisis and also about an American crisis. Why do you link the two?
Thomas Friedman: You're absolutely right--it is about two things. The book says, America has a problem and the world has a problem. The world's problem is that it's getting hot, flat and crowded and that convergence--that perfect storm--is driving a lot of negative trends. America's problem is that we've lost our way--we've lost our groove as a country. And the basic argument of the book is that we can solve our problem by taking the lead in solving the world's problem.
Zakaria: Explain what you mean by "hot, flat and crowded."
Friedman: There is a convergence of basically three large forces: one is global warming, which has been going on at a very slow pace since the industrial revolution; the second--what I call the flattening of the world--is a metaphor for the rise of middle-class citizens, from China to India to Brazil to Russia to Eastern Europe, who are beginning to consume like Americans. That's a blessing in so many ways--it's a blessing for global stability and for global growth. But it has enormous resource complications, if all these people--whom you've written about in your book, The Post American World--begin to consume like Americans. And lastly, global population growth simply refers to the steady growth of population in general, but at the same time the growth of more and more people able to live this middle-class lifestyle. Between now and 2020, the world's going to add another billion people. And their resource demands--at every level--are going to be enormous. I tell the story in the book how, if we give each one of the next billion people on the planet just one sixty-watt incandescent light bulb, what it will mean: the answer is that it will require about 20 new 500-megawatt coal-burning power plants. That's so they can each turn on just one light bulb!
Zakaria: In my book I talk about the "rise of the rest" and about the reality of how this rise of new powerful economic nations is completely changing the way the world works. Most everyone's efforts have been devoted to Kyoto-like solutions, with the idea of getting western countries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. But I grew to realize that the West was a sideshow. India and China will build hundreds of coal-fire power plants in the next ten years and the combined carbon dioxide emissions of those new plants alone are five times larger than the savings mandated by the Kyoto accords. What do you do with the Indias and Chinas of the world?
Friedman: I think there are two approaches. There has to be more understanding of the basic unfairness they feel. They feel like we sat down, had the hors d'oeuvres, ate the entrée, pretty much finished off the dessert, invited them for tea and coffee and then said, "Let's split the bill." So I understand the big sense of unfairness--they feel that now that they have a chance to grow and reach with large numbers a whole new standard of living, we're basically telling them, "Your growth, and all the emissions it would add, is threatening the world's climate." At the same time, what I say to them--what I said to young Chinese most recently when I was just in China is this: Every time I come to China, young Chinese say to me, "Mr. Friedman, your country grew dirty for 150 years. Now it's our turn." And I say to them, "Yes, you're absolutely right, it's your turn. Grow as dirty as you want. Take your time. Because I think we probably just need about five years to invent all the new clean power technologies you're going to need as you choke to death, and we're going to come and sell them to you. And we're going to clean your clock in the next great global industry. So please, take your time. If you want to give us a five-year lead in the next great global industry, I will take five. If you want to give us ten, that would be even better. In other words, I know this is unfair, but I am here to tell you that in a world that's hot, flat and crowded, ET--energy technology--is going to be as big an industry as IT--information technology. Maybe even bigger. And who claims that industry--whose country and whose companies dominate that industry--I think is going to enjoy more national security, more economic security, more economic growth, a healthier population, and greater global respect, for that matter, as well. So you can sit back and say, it's not fair that we have to compete in this new industry, that we should get to grow dirty for a while, or you can do what you did in telecommunications, and that is try to leap-frog us. And that's really what I'm saying to them: this is a great economic opportunity. The game is still open. I want my country to win it--I'm not sure it will.
Zakaria: I'm struck by the point you make about energy technology. In my book I'm pretty optimistic about the United States. But the one area where I'm worried is actually ET. We do fantastically in biotech, we're doing fantastically in nanotechnology. But none of these new technologies have the kind of system-wide effect that information technology did. Energy does. If you want to find the next technological revolution you need to find an industry that transforms everything you do. Biotechnology affects one critical aspect of your day-to-day life, health, but not all of it. But energy--the consumption of energy--affects every human activity in the modern world. Now, my fear is that, of all the industries in the future, that's the one where we're not ahead of the pack. Are we going to run second in this race?
Friedman: Well, I want to ask you that, Fareed. Why do you think we haven't led this industry, which itself has huge technological implications? We have all the secret sauce, all the technological prowess, to lead this industry. Why do you think this is the one area--and it's enormous, it's actually going to dwarf all the others--where we haven't been at the real cutting edge?
Zakaria: I think it's not about our economic system but our political system. The rhetoric we hear is that the market should produce new energy technologies. But the problem is, the use of current forms of energy has an existing infrastructure with very powerful interests that has ensured that the government tilt the playing field in their favor, with subsidies, tax breaks, infrastructure spending, etc. This is one area where the Europeans have actually been very far-sighted and have pushed their economies toward the future.
Friedman: I would say that's exactly right. It's the Europeans--and the Japanese as well--who've done it, and they've done it because of the government mechanisms you've highlighted. They have understood that, if you just say the market alone will deliver the green revolution we need, basically three things happen and none of them are good: First, the market will drive up the price to whatever level demand dictates. We saw oil hit $145 a barrel, and when that happens the oil-producing countries capture most of the profit, 90% of it. So, some of the worst regimes in the world enjoy the biggest benefits from the market run-up. The second thing that happens is that the legacy oil, gas and coal companies get the other ten percent of the profit--so companies which have no interest in changing the system get stronger. And the third thing that happens is something that doesn't happen: because you're letting the market alone shape the prices, the market price can go up and down very quickly. So, those who want to invest in the alternatives really have to worry that if they make big investments, the market price for oil may fall back on them before their industry has had a chance to move down the learning curve and make renewable energies competitive with oil. Sure, the market can drive oil to $145 a barrel and at that level wind or solar may be very competitive. But what if two months later oil is at $110 a barrel? Because of that uncertainty, because we have not put a floor price under oil, you have the worst of all worlds, which is a high price of dirty fuels--what I call in the book fuels from hell--and low investment in new clean fuels, the fuels from heaven. Yes, some people are investing in the alternatives, but not as many or as much as you think, because they are worried that without a floor price for crude oil, their investments in the alternatives could get wiped out, which is exactly what happened in the 1980s after the first oil shock. That's why you need the government to come in a reshape the market to make the cost of dirty fuels more expensive and subsidize the price of clean fuels until they can become competitive.
Right now we are doing just the opposite. Bush and Cheney may say the oil market is “free,” but that is a joke. It's dominated by the world's biggest cartel, OPEC, and America's biggest energy companies, and they've shaped this market to serve their interests. Unless government comes in and reshapes it, we're never going to launch this industry. Which is one of the reasons I argue in the book, "Change your leaders, not your light bulbs." Because leaders write rules, rules shape markets, markets give you scale. Without scale, without being able to generate renewable energy at scale, you have nothing. All you have is a hobby. Everything we've doing up to now is pretty much a hobby. I like hobbies--I used to build model airplanes as a kid. But I don't try to change the world as a hobby. And that's basically what we're trying to do.
Zakaria: But aren't we in the midst of a green revolution? Every magazine I pick up tells me ten different ways to get more green. Hybrids are doing very well...
Friedman: What I always say to people when they say to me, "We're having a green revolution" is, "Really? A green revolution! Have you ever been to a revolution where no one got hurt? That's the green revolution." In the green revolution, everyone's a winner: BP's green, Exxon's green, GM's green. When everyone's a winner, that's not a revolution--actually, that's a party. We're having a green party. And it's very fun--you and I get invited to all the parties. But it has no connection whatsoever with a real revolution. You'll know it's a revolution when somebody gets hurt. And I don't mean physically hurt. But the IT revolution was a real revolution. In the IT revolution, companies either had to change or die. So you'll know the green revolution is happening when you see some bodies--corporate bodies--along the side of the road: companies that didn't change and therefore died. Right now we don't have that kind of market, that kind of change-or-die situation. Right now companies feel like they can just change their brand, not actually how they do business, and that will be enough to survive. That's why we're really having more of a green party than a green revolution.
Zakaria: One of your chapters is called "Outgreening Al-Qaeda." Explain what you mean.
Friedman: The chapter is built around the green hawks in the Pentagon. They began with a marine general in Iraq, who basically cabled back one day and said, I need renewable power here. Things like solar energy. And the reaction of the Pentagon was, "Hey, general, you getting a little green out there? You're not going sissy on us are you? Too much sun?" And he basically said, "No, don't you guys get it? I have to provision outposts along the Syrian border. They are off the grid. They run on generators with diesel fuel. I have to truck diesel fuel from Kuwait to the Syrian border at $20 a gallon delivered cost. And that's if my trucks don't get blown up by insurgents along the way. If I had solar power, I wouldn't have to truck all this fuel. I could—this is my term, not his—‘outgreen' Al-Qaeda."
I argue in the chapter that "outgreening"--the ability to deploy, expand, innovate and grow renewable energy and clean power--is going to become one of the most important, if not the most important, sources of competitive advantage for a company, for a country, for a military. You're going to know the cost of your fuel, it's going to be so much more distributed, you will be so much more flexible, and--this is quite important, Fareed--you will also become so much more respected. I hear from law firms today: one law firm has a green transport initiative going for its staff--they only use hybrid cars--another one doesn't. If some law student out of Harvard or Yale is weighing which law firm to join--many will say today: "I think I'll go with the green one." So there are a lot of ways in which you can outgreen your competition. I think "outgreening" is going to become an important verb in the dictionary - between "outfox" and "outmaneuver."
Zakaria: Finally, let me ask you--in that context--what would this do to America's image, if we were to take on this challenge? Do you really think it could change the way America is perceived in the world?
Friedman: I have no doubt about it, which is why I say in the book: I'm not against Kyoto; if you can get 190 countries all to agree on verifiable limits on their carbon, God bless you. But at the end of the day, I really still believe--and I know you do too--in America as a model. Your book stresses this--that even in a post-American world we still are looked at by others around the world as a role model. I firmly believe that if we go green--if we prove that we can become healthy, secure, respected, entrepreneurial, richer and more innovative by greening our economy, many more people will follow us voluntarily than would do so by compulsion of a treaty. Does that mean Russia and Iran will? No. Geopolitics won't disappear. But I think it will, speaking broadly, definitely reposition us in the world with more people in more places. I look at making America the greenest country in the world like running the Olympic triathlon: if you make it to the Olympics and you run the race, maybe you win--but even if you don't win, you're fitter, healthier, more secure, more respected, more competitive and entrepreneurial, because you have given birth to a whole new clean power industry--which has to be the next great global industry--and put your economy on a much more sustainable footing. So to me, this is a win-win-win-win race, and that's why I believe we, America, need to take the lead in it. In the Cold War we had the space race with Russia to see who could be the first to put a man on the moon. Today we need an earth race with Japan, Europe, China and India--to see who can be the first to invent the clean power technologies that will allow man to live safely and sustainably on earth.

From Bookmarks Magazine

It’s hard not to admire Thomas Friedman’s reporting, even if it sometimes feels like a sales pitch. That’s why those who agree with Friedman’s analysis were excited about this book: it may not be the best volume available on the subject, but it will encourage millions of people to think about the central role climate change should play in the national discourse. But Bjøorn Lomborg, author of Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming, wrote that Friedman exaggerates the impact of global warming, uses random research to support his argument, and completely fails to take economics into account when he proposes solutions. Eric Fisher, on the other hand, was so annoyed with Friedman’s drastic tone and predilection for coining sociological “laws” that his review skirted Friedman’s argument and mocked its form, which may represent the reaction of some of those seeking a more sophisticated take on this timely subject.Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC