Smart World by Richard Ogle

Probably one of the most important books that you’ll never read.

Smart World April 2010

Don’t make that mistake. I almost did.

You have to think when you read this book. It’s an exercise. One that produces a vastly better intellectual fitness than when you began.

The theme of this book is that the space of ideas think for us. This is an essential book for business people, creative types and anyone who desires a refreshing boost to one’s imaginative faculties. Take the following for instance:

“Great artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs have always had deeper faith than most businesspeople, economists, and sociologists in the power of the mind’s imaginative faculties to create radically new worlds of possibility.” P. 250.

“Corporate leaders, long accustomed to relying on the lens of rational analysis to peer into the future, are going to have to develop their imaginative faculties far beyond what was required for the infamous 1990’s “vision thing.” P.250.

So much of the effort expended to imagine the possibilities, goes on in the wrong spaces. Listen to Ogle:

“From now on, successful business models intended to address future development will need to include, in addition to reality based analysis, a component mapping out the relevant spaces of the extended mind. Indeed, this is where the highest priority lies, since it is imagination, intuition, and insight that create the space within which rational analysis goes to work. Great failures and successes stem from this fact – failures of imagination resulting from doing intense analysis in thewrong space.’ (emphasis is mine) P.251.

This book truly makes the case for harnessing the power of neural networks — the idea spaces that inhabit our existence today. The veracity of the term “self-sufficiency” has just been impugned by this work. As Ogle declares: “In an open, dynamic, scale-free network with positive feedback loops between hubs, the fit get fitter.” P.116

Yet it is so much more than that. It’s about the development of what Ogle refers to as “adaptive intelligence:”

“What these abstract but rigorous formulations reveal is the central fact that breakthrough creativity is inherently an emergent process governed by laws of network dynamics. Analytical reason, because by definition it looks back to established facts and premises, is blind in such situations. On the other hand, the intelligent imagination – that is, imagination intuitively attuned to sensing emerging fitness – is capable of producing adaptive intelligence, new thinking that grasps the direction in which the future is unfolding.” P. 116 (emphasis is mine).

As Ogle says, “Belief in the necessity of centralized control dies hard.” P. 112. Well,  this work is certainly a profound contribution to the alternative that has emerged, and is among us. How to harness this new transcendent ability is the true, practical contribution of this book.

Smart World claims that the right place to look for laws governing creative leaps is in network science, whose newly discovered principles drive the dynamics of the extended mind’s component idea-spaces.”

Welcome to the world of what Ogle refers to as the “extended mind, ” or  “the mind out there.” P.23.

It was either David Brooks or David Sanger on Carlie Rose one night who mentioned this particular book as one of the most overlooked books in the past several years. I am SO glad I took the recommendation. You will be too. Buy it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.