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The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinctionby Rebecca Costa
Synopses & Reviews
Why does it feel as if our most challenging problems today — worldwide recession, global warming, fast-spreading viruses, water and food shortages, poverty — aren't being solved? What if our brain has limits that prevent it from solving such complex problems? If ancient civilizations collapsed because they, too, hit a cognitive limitation, are we headed for a similar collapse? Can it be prevented? These are the questions Rebecca Costa confronts — and offers a solution to — in her intriguing and game-changing book, The Watchman's Rattle.
Costa believes that the mounting complexity of a problem can outpace the brain's ability to absorb and address it. With compelling evidence, she shows how we tend to quick-fix our problems by addressing the symptoms, instead of finding permanent solutions, leading to dangerous long-term consequences. Society's ability to solve its most challenging problems and progress becomes gridlocked.
In a fascinating and engrossing argument, Costa presents ideas for how we can reverse our own downward spiral. Citing cutting-edge research, she reveals how the human brain can spontaneously call upon a powerful cognitive tool: insight. She also describes four modern-day supermemes that appear all around us: the oppositional culture, the personalization of blame, casual science, and the business society. Costa meticulously proves how these supermemes have produced global gridlock.
The Watchman's Rattle, like its namesake, is ultimately a summons for help to overcome the inevitable pattern of surrendering to the cognitive threshold. We need a new strategy lest we go the way of early advanced civilizations. We must first address our prevailing attitudes and beliefs if we hope to embrace solutions . Costa hands us the key — insight — to help us take our first steps to effect real change.
"The rafts of italics for emphasis can't reduce the value of this engaging book as a warning and a resource. It will give concerned readers new hope in human capability." Library Journal
In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman, Rebecca Costa reveals the four telltale patterns that emerge when escalating complexity paralyzes a society.
Why can't we solve our problems anymore? Why do threats such as the Gulf oil spill, worldwide recession, terrorism, and global warming suddenly seem unstoppable? Are there limits to the kinds of problems humans can solve? Rebecca Costa confronts — and offers a solution to — these questions in her highly anticipated and game-changing book, The Watchman's Rattle. Costa pulls headline for today's news to demonstrate how accelerating complexity quickly outpaces that rate at which the human brain can develop new capabilities. With compelling evidenced based on research in the rise and fall of Mayan, Khmer, and Roman empires, Costa shows how that tendency to find a quick solutions leads to frightening long term consequence: Society's ability to solve its most challenging, intractable problems becomes gridlocked, progress slows, and collapse ensues. A provocative new voice in the tradition of thought leaders Thomas Friedman, Jared Diamond and Malcolm Gladwell, Costa reveals how we can reverse the downward spiral. Part history, part social science, part biology, The Watchman's Rattle is sure to provoke, engage and incite change.
About the Author
With a proven track record of introducing new concepts and technologies, Rebecca Costa is a former CEO and founder of Silicon Valley start-up, Dazai Advertising, Inc. (sold to J. Walter Thompson in 1997), whose clients have included Apple Computer, Applied Materials, Oracle Corporation, 3M, Amdahl, United TeleCom, and General Electric Corporation. She attributes her natural ability to spot global patterns to a cross-cultural education and upbringing. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a BA in Social Sciences, and earned an MBA from Santa Clara University. She lives on the central coast of California.
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