My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is an essential read for anyone who wants to know how and why our leaders are so ineffectual, from an author with an insider perspective. Robert David Steele, spent decades as a Marine officer, a CIA secret operative, and the second in command of Marine Intelligence, before realizing that he was wasting his life trying to convince government puppets and idiots that they were doing intelligence wrong. Steele came to the conclusion that our governments, corporations and non-governmental organizations are NOT the agents for the kind of major changes that the world needs: changes imperative to survive as a species on a planet increasingly hostile to humans.
Steele argues that instead, the new revolution must come from the bottom-up, a peaceful grass-roots change of mind about how we govern and organize ourselves. Instead of focusing on secret intelligence, like governments, militaries, and corporations have been doing forever, he argues that we need Open Source Intelligence, on every aspect of life, from government to business, food production to technology, in order to tap into the most effective resource available to us: the collective human brain (all 7 billion of them). Open Source is defined as information available through legal, ethical and public channels, not necessarily ‘free,’ though some of it is.
He points out that secret intelligence has been employed by elites throughout history (absolutely true, I’m an historian), to keep the people in the dark, and to obfuscate their nefarious doings, while accumulating wealth to themselves. I whole-hardheartedly agree with him, and have argued a similar point for years. However, what Steele has that I do not, is a long career as a government and military insider, which is exactly what the new revolution needs.
He suggests that the revolution is already in full swing, and that if we take the time to look around, we can see it everywhere. He’s right, and if you don’t think so, you’re probably not reading this review anyway, and you, and your company, government or institution will be caught with its proverbial pants down when it does happen. Those who do pay heed, will reap the benefits of a new way of doing things.
At times Steele slips into his academic, military/professional voice, which can be difficult to follow for some readers, and probably a reason some find fault with the book. And his ideas are radical, for sure, but radical ideas are needed to solve the myriad of problems facing the world. Are building communities, sharing resources, and working together, radical ideas? Maybe they are, but if we don’t start implementing them, and damned fast, we won’t have to worry about our grandchildren arguing about it; they won’t be here. Are out of control capitalism, greed, and war any less radical? I think not.
Personally, I’m optimistic like Mr. Steele. Look, the man spent a career predicting the future, and he’s predicting that things are gonna get real interesting soon. I’d bet my balls on it, and other appendages. Buy the book already, and get ready to Open Source your brain! Become part of the solution, instead of remaining part of the problem. The Earth needs you.
Review by Steve Bivans, author of Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living