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The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet (Anglais) Relié – 9 avril 2013

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Climate change. Finite fossil fuels. Fresh water depletion. Rising commodity prices. Ocean acidification. Overpopulation. Deforestation. Feeding the world's billions. We're beset by an array of natural resource and environmental challenges. They pose a tremendous risk to human prosperity, to world peace, and to the planet itself. Yet, if we act, these problems are addressable. Throughout history we've overcome similar problems, but only when we've focused our energies on innovation. For the most valuable resource we have isn't oil, water, gold, or land - it's our stockpile of useful ideas, and our continually growing capacity to expand them. In this remarkable book, Ramez Naam charts a course to supercharge innovation - by changing the rules of our economy - that can lead the whole world to greater wealth and human well-being, even as we dodge looming resource crunches and environmental disasters and reduce our impact on the planet. """"Most books about the future are written by blinkered Pollyannas or hand-wringing Cassandras. Ramez Naam-Egypt-born, Illinois-raised, a major contributor to the computer revolution-is neither. Having thought about science, technology and the environment for decades, he has become that rarest of creatures: a clear-eyed optimist. Concise, informed and passionately argued, The Infinite Resource both acknowledges the very real dangers that lie ahead for the human enterprise and the equally real possibility that we might not only survive but thrive."""" -Charles Mann, New York Times bestselling author of 1491 and 1493 """"An amazing book. Throughout history, the most important source of new wealth has been new ideas. Naam shows how we can tap into and steer that force to overcome our current problems and help create a world of abundance."""" -Peter H. Diamandis, MD, chairman and CEO, X PRIZE Foundation; chairman, Singularity University; and author, Abundance-The Future Is Better Than You Think

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Format: Relié
*A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

Ever since the industrial revolution the developed world (and increasingly the developing world) has enjoyed remarkable economic growth. This economic growth has yielded wealth to a degree previously unimaginable. Indeed, many of us today enjoy conveniences, comforts and opportunities of a kind that have traditionally been unattainable by even the world's wealthiest and most powerful people.

However, we may question just how sustainable all of this economic growth (and the resulting wealth) really is. For the economic growth has been accompanied by environmental depletion and degradation of a kind as unprecedented as the growth itself. And while some of the environmental crises that have come up along the way have been solved by new technologies, others yet remain, and are as daunting as any we have seen. Climate change in particular stands out as one of the greatest challenges we now face. What's worse, many of the earth's resources that we have used to generate the economic growth are dwindling, and face extinction. Indeed, the very resource that has powered the industrial era (and that has also caused many of our deepest environmental woes), fossil fuels, has now nearly peaked.

Looking to the past, we find that we would not be the first civilization to perish at the hands of a resource shortage brought on by overzealous extraction. Indeed, such an event has occurred on several occasions (including amongst the Mayan civilization, and that of the Easter Islanders).
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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5 71 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An idea came out of reading a wonderful book by Ramez Naam 30 août 2015
Par Don Klemencic - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
A modified form of this began as a letter sent to Jeff Bezos, CEO, at Amazon. The bureaucrats of the Amazon mail room sent it back unopened. Since one of the two ideas in the letter referenced my evaluation of The infinite resource by Ramez Naam I am posting it here:

An idea came out of reading a wonderful book by Ramez Naam, titled The infinite resource: the power of ideas on a finite planet. After reading it I had an impulse to send gift copies to all the U.S. Senators and Representatives, which unfortunately is beyond my means. That generated this idea. Have you ever considered setting up an annual Amazon Prize for a recent book that best presents constructive ideas for the betterment of society? The selection process should be open to wide public involvement and media coverage, so that the process itself would be conducive to spreading constructive ideas from the candidate books. Perhaps you could make use of C-Span’s BookTV for this. By the time the Prize was announced many of those books could be on the desks of the people who could implement the ideas presented in them. In addition to a monetary award to the winning author, Amazon would send gift copies of the winning book to key public officials.

The other idea: One feature of a great library missing from the experience of on-line book shopping is browsing. I think that a very close simulacrum could be provided. This involves making use of the Dewey Decimal, the Library of Congress, or some other book classification system to order a query. Some filters should be available, such as language, print status (in print or not), and publication date range. While a vertical display of author and title might be more efficient in terms of space considerations, a horizontal presentation with author, title, and perhaps a small icon of the book cover would be closer to the browsing experience. The horizontal list could wrap several times to make better use of screen space. There should be clickable arrow icons at each end of the list to move forward and back—perhaps two icons at either end: one for single stepping and one for page stepping. The items in the list should be clickable to take the user to the Amazon page for the chosen book. If the user initiates the query from a particular book, that book would appear in the center of the initial presentation. For example, if the screen presentation was made in five rows, the book from which the browse request was initiated would appear in the center of the third row. If the user did not have an appropriate book to start his subject search he should be able to click to initially generate the top level classifications of the Dewey, Library of Congress, or whatever subject classification system is used. By successively clicking on sub-classifications and generating new screens he could drill down to the exact subject he was interested in. He should also be able to step back in the classification lists to accommodate a flexible subject search. From the final point of his search he could initiate the query.

To the reader of this review who finds merit in these ideas and knows how to forward them to Mr. Bezos for his consideration: your assistance would be warmly appreciated.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "I'm an optimist" says Ramez Naam 7 février 2015
Par John Blackman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I, on the other hand, edge towards a more cynical pessimism. I'm one of those Ramez writes of, who notice the similarities between human and virus.

That said, I take some real encouragement from his sound, well reasoned arguments and have given second thoughts to some long-held positions.

I continue to worry that our exponential technological advancement is too rapidly outpacing our more gradual moral climb from our inner ape roots. Maybe I'm wrong. For those who seek evidence that it can be accomplished, Ramez Naam makes a strong case in this excellent book.

It would probably help if many more people of all political positions would read this book. If you read it and agree with me then pass this book on to others. I certainly will.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Innovation to the rescue! 10 octobre 2013
Par Bruce Irving - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I think of myself as a "rational optimist." A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed a book of that title by Matt Ridley. Ridley's central theme is the crucial role of trade in the growth of civilization and human well-being - starting with the trade of goods and services that allowed people to become specialized, resulting in more of everything for everyone. But when people learned to trade in ideas, that led to innovation, stimulating the growth of science, technology, and social institutions - things like universities, democracy, and the market economy are all inventions of the human mind (usually many human minds).

I just read another book on this same general idea, the critical role of innovation and the exchange of ideas. I really like "The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet" by Ramez Naam. Ideas and innovations truly are an infinite resource, and Naam believes (as do I) that in most situations, market forces are the most effective way to implement ideas and solve problems. He also believes that the major area where the market has failed is in "tragedy of the commons," situations such as pollution of air and water, over-fishing, and greenhouse gas emissions. When there is no direct cost for the use or abuse of such shared resources, these "externalities" cannot be affected by market forces. When such factors do have associated costs, these can drive innovation to find better solutions faster than (say) direct government regulation. Reduction of acid rain and the recovery of the Antarctic "ozone hole" are examples of the success of this approach. It could work for greenhouse gases, too, even if ideas like a carbon tax or carbon trade credits sound scary to some people. Even if some energy prices were to go up temporarily, it would provide the incentive for innovative people and companies to find ways to lower costs and gain a competitive advantage. Innovation needs something to work on, and when it has it, it can work fast.

Naam believes that we have plenty of resources on this planet to support 10 billion or more people in American-level affluence if we can learn to use resources more efficiently, especially the huge influx of solar energy that hits the Earth every day. Certainly "old solar" (fossil fuel) resources like oil, gas, and coal are finite. As he says, "Every solar panel built makes solar energy cheaper. Every barrel of oil extracted makes oil more expensive." He also advocates some innovations that are controversial, such as genetically modified organisms (GMO's) in the food supply and increased nuclear power as part of our energy solution. I agree with him on these points. The alternatives are worse - we need GMO's to improve yields and nutritional value, and to reduce pesticide use (and forest clearing) if we are to support billions more humans in the next 30+ years. And although we are everywhere bathed in more than enough solar energy to run the planet with safe, local, non-carbon-emitting power for billions of years, until innovation leads to more advanced storage systems for dark and windless times, solar and wind power can only be part of the energy solution. Burning more coal is bad for a number of reasons, including carbon emissions and radiation (coal plants release more radiation into the atmosphere than nuclear power plants).

I think this book is well worth reading for fresh perspectives on innovation, environmental issues, and much more. I will finish with a couple of quotes that I like:

Our problem in the near term is not that resources are in short supply. It's that we use those resources incredibly inefficiently, with side effects we have yet to eliminate.

For all practical effects and purposes, our growth is unbounded. If we choose wisely, and tap into the right resources, while acting together to put limits on the negative side effects and externalities of our actions, then we can grow for at least centuries to come, and perhaps longer.

Our only limit, for the foreseeable future, is our collective intelligence in innovating, and in putting in place the systems to guide our collective behavior.

Easier said than done, I know, and if you live in the US, such optimism may be especially hard to fathom at the moment, as the Republican controlled House of Representatives holds us all hostage in an ideologically driven federal government shutdown and threatened debt default. But I still believe that enough humans on this planet are sane and clever that we will probably make it through the next few hundred years, with more humans every year living better off than ever before. Just maybe not in the US.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A persuasively optimistic view of the crises humanity faces 6 janvier 2014
Par Eric - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I read this book after reading Naam's "Nexus" novels, both of which I loved. In "The Infinite Resource" he paints a frighteningly detailed picture of a future of environmental devastation that is only avoidable if we take concerted action soon. But unlike most books on saving the earth, Naam has enormous faith in our ability to innovate our way out of these crises. He backs up his faith with many examples of past predictions of catastrophe that were averted through technology, government regulation, and economic forces. Naam is an excellent writer, his facts are all cited, and his arguments are hugely persuasive. I was already a big supporter of some of the solutions he puts forward, like a revenue-neutral carbon tax, while other ideas, like small-scale nuclear power, were a harder sell for me. But the facts he lays out are hard to rebut and I continually found myself persuaded. One or two ideas, such as trading public schools for a marketplace of free private schools, were not entirely convincing, but were well reasoned and thought-provoking. This book is an antidote to the environmental pessimism that keeps many of us from taking steps to build the future Naam envisions.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Finally, a positive outlook on the future of mankind 18 septembre 2015
Par Monty & Hobbes - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Just finished his other nonfiction book, More Than Human, and have to say that I'd recommend this one over that. Mr. Naam has a very positive outlook on the future of mankind and for that I want to thank him, it's a breath of fresh air. It's not all doom and gloom for our future.

Granted, he does come out with brutal honesty in the second section of the book that packs a wallop. He makes it clear that the current situation on earth cannot sustain itself. If he'd ended the book there, it would read like any other panic-inducing, end of world book. However, he goes on to say that we as humans have the capabilities to not only survive on the planet we've made for ourselves, but also improve our situation. Mr. Naam uses a lot of scientific research to back up his argument that humans are ingenious and will find out a way to survive. But we need to do so now, and soon. We have it in ourselves to make a difference.

While that last sentence may seem like a bunch of hippie nonsense, I want to make it clear that Mr. Naam's book is far from that. It reads very scientifically and he not only presents a very solid argument, but also readily backs it up with scientific examples. Everyone should read this book, whether they're an environmentalist or not. The future of our planet concerns us all.
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