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Recommended Reading

Top Billing! Lexington GreenAbu Musab al-Suri: Theorist of Modern Jihad

A superb post with wonderful links on the theorist of Islamist terrorism, al-Suri who is that movement’s John ArquillaWilliam Lind and Louis Beam rolled into one. He probably would have made a fine blogger had he not also been – well – a sociopathic nihilist.

Shane DeichmanDreaming 5GW –  GW Theory Cast Too high

Recently, TDAXP began a reification of the GW theories that Shane joins in, rejecting linearity, sequence or manifestations of GW as descriptive of a strategic level conflict. I’ve never been comfortable with interpreting GW as a linear, historical, theory with ironclad universal predictive qualities ( “Everywhere there is the decline of the State”). I’ve always preferred it as a taxonomy that, as a strategic theory that like “Deterrence”, has useful applications in analysis and scenario planning.

As I have never felt the need to defend the 4GW school as revealed scripture, I see no urgent need to junk the 4GW terminology in favor of a new set of neologisms either. That said, read Shane’s post anyway.

Thomas P.M. Barnett – “The Inevitable Alliance

The Sino-American geopolitical security relationship is transitional and symbiotic.

Steve DeAngelisLooking towards the Future with Ray Kurzweil

An excellent review of Kurweillian futurism.

Whirledview The Foreign Service and the Military and  The Odoms: Father and Son ( both by PHK )

Two posts with subjects of great interest to readers here.

Art HutchinsonButterflies for Dummies

Some support for the argument of Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan.

William LindOn War #262: Pyrrhic Victory

A nice commentary on the challenges of 2GW during the First World War and the costs of mechanistic, attritional, warfare.

Complexity and Social Networks Blog.NetMap

Cool!  And possibly revealing!

That’s it!

7 Responses to “Recommended Reading”

  1. Latoya Says:

    I read Fantastic Voyage, The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near, and they changed my life. I even found some of his lectures on Itunes and I find myself impatiently awaiting his next book.

    Recently read another incredible book that I can’t recommend highly enough, especially to all of you who also love Ray Kurzweil’s work. The book is ""My Stroke of Insight"" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. I had heard Dr Taylor’s talk on the TED dot com site and I have to say, it changed my world. It’s spreading virally all over the internet and the book is now a NYTimes Bestseller, so I’m not the only one, but it is the most amazing talk, and the most impactful book I’ve read in years. (Dr T also was named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and Oprah had her on her Soul Series last month and I hear they’re making a movie about her story so you may already have heard of her)
    If you haven’t heard Dr Taylor’s TEDTalk, that’s an absolute must. The book is more and deeper and better, but start with the video (it’s 18 minutes). Basically, her story is that she was a 37 yr old Harvard brain scientist who had a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, and thanks to her amazingly loving and kind mother, she eventually fully recovered (and that part of the book detailing how she did it is inspirational).

    There’s a lot of learning and magic in the book, but the reason I so highly recommend My Stroke of Insight to this discussion, is because we have powerfully intelligent left brains that are rational, logical, sequential and grounded in detail and time, and then we have our kinesthetic right brains, where we experience intuition and peace and euphoria. Now that Kurzweil has got us taking all those vitamins and living our best ""Fantastic Voyage"" , the absolute necessity is that we read My Stroke of Insight and learn from Dr Taylor how to achieve balance between our right and left brains. Enjoy!

  2. Smitten Eagle Says:

    Zen- Thanks for giving words to my thoughts on 4GW vs. xGW theories.  I share your views on this.

  3. Lexington Green Says:

    I agree that the "generations of war" model was deficient as history, but that 4GW in particular was intriguing and potentially useful as an analysis of our current situation.  This current "big re-think" going on via the blogs may ultimately lead to something useful.

  4. zen Says:

    Hi Latoya,
    The Taylor story is very intriguing ( as well as somewhat ironic) and neurolearning is an interest of mine. I will check the TED video out.
    Hi Smitten & Lex,
    Theory = Map. Maps can use different projections, symbols, keys etc. Some maps are more accurate tha others.   Maps though – are not the territory 🙂

  5. Jay@Soob Says:

    Junk the theory? No, I don’t think that’s quite the case. While Dan’s posts certainly seem to indicate this (my own observation, I’ll let Dan speak for himself) the GMW  is the theoretical foundation for the xGW and so hardly scrapped. Evolved from or built upon might be better suited. I think the tipping point was Lind’s reticence to consider 5GW ("No 5GW is in sight. No eyes can see that far,”) instead leaving an incredibly wide theoretical door open for a vast consideration of 4GW at last years Boyd conference. Bear in mind I wasn’t in attendance and am relying on trusted and sound secondary sources.

    This was likely compounded by the chronological assignment (that Mao was the first to conceptualize 4GW is an assertion that Ethan Allen might have something to swear and swing fists about) to each subsequent generation. The framework is simply, in my opinion, too limiting.

    My 2 cents, anyway.

  6. tdaxp » Blog Archive » Back Says:

    […] notes on me and 5GW, Purpleslog’s Thoughts on Boyd and XGW, and Mark’s reccomendation on Shane and 4GW. « Obama Flip-Flops Toward […]

  7. Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » The Networked Jihad: Parasitic on Developed World Technology, Information, Ideas Says:

    […] practitioner Abu Musab al-Suri, in response to a recent review essay about a biography of al-Suri. Zenpundit opined that al-Suri appears to be the Islamic terrorist movement’s “John Arquilla, […]

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