A Note From "The Rational Optimist"

By | October 25, 2010

You got to love that the Kindle allows readers to write notes for books that can be retrieved at the Amazon site.  Here’s a note I wrote while reading Matt Ridley‘s “The Rational Optimist.”

“One definition of the Technological Singularity is that point at which we achieve greater than human intelligence – in a single individual. 

This author [Matt Ridley] has described an equally important Singularity in our past. We achieved greater than human intelligence collectively the moment markets started exchanging multiple items. When a farmer grew grain, he didn’t have to know the people he was going to feed. The information imbedded in even a relatively simple market is beyond the capacity of a single person to keep up with. Fortunately, no one person has to.”

And that ancient Singularity improved us – it civilized us.  We tend to find common ground with those we are connected with.  It’s usually not smart to go to war with our customers, or our suppliers.

Read “The Rational Optimist” and let us know when you do.

And that, normally, would end this post.  Except this…  You got to hate that the Kindle does not allow sharing, social network style, notes and highlights with other readers of the book.  

How cool would it be able to read a book with notes from Cory Doctorow?  Or your mother?  Or that smart guy in your history class?  Or even the bloggers at The Speculist?  And then, you add your own notes that could be passed on.

Or there could be a “best notes” option that would allow 5-star ranked notes to show up in your text regardless of who they came from.

Then, if you like a particular note writer (notist?), you could follow him or her to the next book.

Of course many people wouldn’t want to share their notes and highlights.  It would be an opt-in thing.  But Amazon is SO close to creating the next big thing.  A literary Twitter – a Facebook for people who don’t know each other out here in the real world but share interests in ideas.  

I’m not worried.  This adjacent possibility is almost certain to happen.  If Amazon’s Kindle doesn’t do it, some other eReader will.
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  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/QJc1ars2xtyg8_HamezpRq6vslfI6cw-#06cd1

    I’m Sally Morem

    I found this on Edge.com. Writers and scientists were asked what the most important equation for the 21st century will be. Here’s a link to Matt Ridley’s answer, a one-page answer:


    IMHO, Matt Ridley and F.A. Hayek would be very simpatico. That’s high praise from me. Ridley’s insights on the power of trade are spot on.

  • peterbfritz

    Finished “The Rational Optimist”.
    Read the entire thing on my Kindle app for the Android phone.
    Had power issues early on but I switched the display mode to have a black background and white text which worked out just fine.

    Also reading a book:
    Bloom, Howard K (2010). The Genius of the Beast : A Radical Re-vision of Capitalism

    Similar theme. How capitalism follows a feed back loop that serves to increase its power.

    Anyways, thanks for the recommendation.