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I think the juxtaposition between F&M's observation about "pulling" innovation and then "pushing" institutions makes COMPLETE sense.

Igoring the opportunity to beat the long abused horse that is public education lets think about infrastructure. Why in the world would we believe that bureaucrats have any idea how to build out and improve the necessary infrastructure required to compete - ESPECIALLY those pieces of infrastructure that do not have public goods/collective action problems? It just is not clear that national good is served by "Rural Broadband initiatives" since modern technology increasingly allows market-solutions by individuals in rural American that demand/need broadband connections.

Thus the interesting counterpart to T&M is to concur with their observations but to design an INNOVATIVE way of addressing/strengthening America's competitive position in respect to human, financial and "social" capital.

Gregory Rader | OnTheSpiral.com

John, I enjoyed your frustrated optimism with regard to Friedman and Mandelbaum's message. It seems every day I come across arguments of this type, reasonable analyses of the challenges we face that then fall back on the tried and true prescriptions to yesterday's challenges.

The one positive is that unlike top down solutions, bottom up solutions need not be legible to those at the top in order to gain momentum...



Could you please shed some light on what news is contained in the book?

Further, could you explain who missed the trends that the authors suggest that were missed?

As I see it the authors and you believe we all missed something. I would suggest that we have missed nothing. All the points the authors note are very well blogged. In addition a number of futurists and TED speakers have spoken to at length.


love this: the right blend of frustrated optimism...
here's to mustering a sense of urgency.


Thanks for the recap. You have convinced me that I don't need to read the Friedman book. What these dudes know about the energy and efficiency of 'plain people' would not overwhelm anyone. The fact that they call them plain people tells all. Reminds me of a bad Academy Award speech where the dewey starlet thanks all the little people who made it possible. I ain't buying--not the ideas and not the book, audio, or the inevitable hot, flat spinoffs.


Really eloquent review. I was lucky enough to interview Friedman when The World Is Flat came out

My favorite part of the interview was when I asked him the advice he gives his own children to which he responded "so long as you have curiosity & passion, you will be able to navigate any foreseeable future."

Reading your post also reminded me of the rich work that Paul Gilding is doing on The Great Disruption.

I met Paul in San Francisco earlier this year and his story echos the concept that we (humans) don't really respond unless we are on fire. However, some amazing acts of courage and kindness do emerge in the midst of the fire.

Cheers to our "interventions" or the illusion of "intervention" as we both try with all our might and all of our voices to "Wake People Up."

Giving all I got,

Richard Koffler

And there you have it. The authors propose that greatness can be back among us, but only if we get megadoses of central planning and direction by the clowns in Washington. In so many words, they are proposing what is guaranteed to fail despite any good intentions.

I haven't read Tyler's book, but I suspect he proposes that the national sclerosis is not solvable because the clowns in Washington are increasing (in fact, accelerating) their centralized control.

Jean Russell

Thank you John. Really useful review and keen insight. Have you checked out How Social Movements Happen by Seb Paquet? http://emergentcities.sebpaquet.net/how-social-movements-happen-part-i-zenith-oss


Agree Lifelong learning is key. Also, many companies have cut back on training/education to its workforce and the need for on-job-new-skill training in US based companies is far more important now than in past. Otherwise in 10 year or abouts we will have dead wood (JSB is rght though) ...

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