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Clock Of The Long Now: Time And Responsibility: The Ideas Behind The World's Slowest Computer
Using the designing and building of the Clock of the Long Now as a framework, this is a book about the practical use of long time perspective: how to get it, how to use it, how to keep it in and out of sight. Here are the central questions it inspires: How do we make long-term thinking automatic and common instead of difficult and rare? Discipline in thought allows freedom. One needs the space and reliability to predict continuity to have the confidence not to be afraid of revolutions Taking the time to think of the future is more essential now than ever, as culture accelerates beyond its ability to be measured Probable things are vastly outnumbered by countless near-impossible eventualities. Reality is statistically forced to be extraordinary; fiction is not allowed this freedom This is a potent book that combines the chronicling of fantastic technology with equally visionary philosophical inquiry.
Easy to read and pleasantly thought provoking
By A Customer
- July 12, 1999
Stewart Brand definitely has a knack for presenting a cross-current of ideas in a way that is simultaneously engaging and thought provoking. While some will find the actual project of the Clock and the Library far fetched, it does form a very effective backdrop for "[forcing] thinking in interesting directions; among other things, toward long-term responsibility."This is definitely a book to read more than once. I found new thoughts forming as I re-read chapters that were now framed by concepts presented in later chapters. Yet, the chapters are nice and short and self-contained so I could easily pick up the book, re-read some chapter that caught my fancy, and feel satisfied contemplating some aspect of the entirety -- like being able to savor a snack instead of having to eat an entire meal.I dog-eared "The Order of Civilization" chapter which for me really crystallized analogous concepts concerning the construction of robust "organic"... read more
Access to important ideas
By Noah Johnson
- December 11, 1999
There are two kinds of books that make you feel smart. The first kind is so laughably awful that you put it down thinking "I'm WAY smarter than that guy." The second, and better, kind is a book that leaves you with a couple dozen exciting new ideas whizzing around your head, firing your imagination and inspiring thoughts you would never otherwise have had. This book is the second kind. With solidly-documented ideas and examples drawn from a hundred sources, Brand demonstrates that our relationship to time, and the models we use to think about it, are no longer useful and need to be changed. The new models for thinking about it are included at no charge.
What's the Rush?
- October 19, 2007
The Long Now Foundation has done some great work since this book was published back in 1999. The group's basic goal of alleviating humanity's destructively short attention span is a great one, and anyone who feels that the world is on the wrong course would find great enlightenment in the group's works. But interested persons would be better served to check out what the Long Now Foundation has accomplished since this very preliminary book was published. Stewart Brand merely compiled a not very robust collection of undeveloped musings and rhetorical questions that merely hint at the potential of the Long Now worldview. Also, I don't think any other reviewers caught the irony of a series of short and largely self-contained essays (averaging around 4-5 pages) collected in a book that's trying to increase humanity's attention span. Granted, there are many great insights in here, particularly how digitized information storage actually leads to the disappearance of more knowledge, and how... read more
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