The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

A dramatically new understanding of human history, challenging our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution—from the development of agriculture and cities to the origins of the state, democracy, and inequality—and revealing new possibilities for human emancipation.

For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike—either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization itself.

Drawing on pathbreaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we learn to throw off our conceptual shackles and perceive what’s really there. If humans did not spend 95 percent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organization did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, and suggest that the course of human history may be less set in stone, and more full of playful, hopeful possibilities, than we tend to assume.

The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision, and a faith in the power of direct action.

Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge

In this intelligently argued and principled book, internationally renowned Third World environmentalist Vandana Shiva exposes the latest frontier of the North’s ongoing assault against the South’s biological and other resources. Since the land, the forests, the oceans, and the atmosphere have already been colonized, eroded, and polluted, she argues, Northern capital is now carving out new colonies to exploit for gain: the interior spaces of the bodies of women, plants and animals.

THROUGH THE PROCESS | A Conversation With Applied Mathematics Professor Steven Strogatz

Join myself and Applied Mathematics Professor Steven Strogatz, author of “Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe”, as we talk about the creative powers of math, as well as poetry and the writing process, and finding the connections between the two.

If you’ve never thought of math as beautiful or creative this episode just might change your mind. I hope you will love this conversation as much as I loved being a part of it!

What Is Open Space Technology?

Open Space Technology is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events. Over the last 30+ years, it has also become clear that opening space, as an intentional leadership practice, can create inspired organizations, where ordinary people work together to create extraordinary results with regularity.

Strengthening Collaboration Through Encouraging Dissent

The first time I heard that groups thrive on dissent, I didn’t like the idea. It came up in conversations with Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute, back in the mid-1990s. Tom was clear, based on his experience in activist movements and especially on a cross-country peace march, that dissent is essential for groups to function intelligently. So much so that if a group had too little dissent, he advocated for actively cultivating it to keep the group fresh and creative.

John Cleese: “So, Anyway…” | Talks at Google

John Cleese stopped by the Google NYC office to further discuss So, Anyway… a book chronicling the early life of his career.

So, Anyway… is a must read for comedy fans worldwide. For the first time, John Cleese tells the story of how a tall, shy youth went on to become a self-confessed comedy legend. En route, Cleese describes his nerve-racking first public performance and his first encounter with his writing partner for over two decades, Graham Chapman. And so on to his dizzying ascent via scriptwriting for Peter Sellers, David Frost, Marty Feldman and others to the heights of Monty Python.

What is TRIZ

Imagine the biggest study of human creativity ever conducted. Picture the systematic study of over two million of the world’s most successful patents, and the construction of a problem solving method which then combines those solutions into a whole that strips away all boundaries between different industries. Now imagine that it exists. What you’re seeing is TRIZ. The reason you may not have heard of it before, is that it was initially devised and developed in the former Soviet Union, and practically no-one outside the Eastern Bloc had heard of it before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In this paper, we examine what that Soviet research achieved and how that platform has now been transformed into a comprehensive Systematic Innovation methodology, suitable for all types of innovation and innovation management issues. In the paper we show how today’s version of the method is helping users to systematically and reliably create breakthrough solutions to problems of all descriptions.

Problem Forming, Problem Finding, and Problem Solving in Design

This meeting [1], representing a convergence of students of design from a range of wholly dissimilar disciplines, is an event of major significance. It is significant that the meeting is being held at all that all of you recognize your common concerns. It is significant that we are gaining deep insights into the design process itself. If it is pretentious to talk about the “science of design,” at least we know now that there are truths about design that can be formulated and communicated, general truths that seem to apply to design as each of us knows it, in his or her particular professional domain.

But perhaps it is not really pretentious to speak of the science of design. There are principles that are widely applicable, and increasingly, we are finding ways of implementing these principles on electronic computers, and thereby securing the powerful assistance of those computers in the process of design. Let’s compromise on “the art and science of design.”

In recent years, the awareness of our communalities, whatever the specific field in which we work, has been hastened by the applications of computers to design: expert systems, computer aided design, artificial intelligence. Because their programs are open to inspection, computers allow us to look at the design process. The program is a tangible, concrete object. And in order to construct programs to design or assist design, we have to try to understand the process. That process is basically the same, whether it is carried out by people or computers, or, as is increasingly the case, by both in collaboration.

Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics

Selections from Science and Sanity represents Alfred Korzybski’s authorized abridgement of his magnum opus, Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics. This second edition, published in response to the recent Korzybski revival, adds new introductory material and a revised index, providing an accessible introduction to Korzybski’s arguments concerning the need for a non-Aristotelian approach to knowledge, thought, perception, and language, to coincide with our non-Newtonian physics and non-Euclidean geometries, to Korzybski’s practical philosophy, applied psychology, pragmatics of human communication, and educational program. Selections from Science and Sanity serves as an excellent introduction to general semantics as a system intended to aid the individual’s adjustment to reality, enhance intellectual and creative activities, and alleviate the many social ills that have plagued humanity throughout our history.