The main point of this book is that the work one does because he/she loves it is not really work, but rather enjoyable application of one’s energy. The consequence of increased prosperity is ability of people to do what they love, so the work would not feel like work, constituting therefore the end of work. The most important extension of this idea into the future is that non-routine works like sports, games, cooking, and such could provide joyful employment allowing doing what they love for people who will lose their jobs to automation.
Author starts this with description of the band in which players reached retirement age, but continue perform because they love what they do. It leads to the statement: “The central message of this book is that you’re not lazy, you’re simply in the wrong job. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Successful people will tell you that success springs from the pursuit of all kinds of work—with lots of failure in the process”. So author promises: “Whatever you’ve been told and whatever you believe about yourself, you have within you the work ethic, intelligence, and charisma that you marvel at in others. What’s missing is the kind of work that inspires the heroic effort of which you’re capable. I’m going to show you that that work is within your grasp and how to recognize it. Truly, the end of work is near.
CHAPTER ONE: Why College Football Players Should Major in College Football
This chapter is about Football players that make millions, but have to go through college, pretending that they learn something else. Author’s recommendation is to teach football as a profession.
CHAPTER TWO: Intelligence and Passion Don’t Stop at Football
This chapter is about basketball and baseball, both being also a pretty good source of income for top players. In addition author refers to book “Moneyball” and discusses high levels of special intellect required to be successful in all these games.
CHAPTER THREE: Education Isn’t Meaningless, But It’s Grossly Overrated
This chapter starts with very wise quote from Ludwig von Mises: “The successful conduct of business demands qualities quite other than those necessary for passing examinations—even if the examinations deal with subjects bearing on the work of the position in question.”
Then author proceeds to demonstrate using a few examples how musicians with no formal musical education like Beatles not just achieved huge success, but also changed how music is played. In addition to Beatles he discusses Rolling Stones and their impact on popular music. Author also brings in a few more examples like Brothers Wright, a few movie starts, Internet personalities and so on. The main point here is that education follows technological and cultural breakthrough rather that creates them.
CHAPTER FOUR: What Was Once Silly Is Now Serious
This chapter presents more examples of people following their dreams and doing what they love and achieving huge success. This time it is about cooking, restaurant business, and, once again, more actors that achieved success. One point added at the end of chapters is that new technology allows everybody make movie and post it on YouTube, or some equivalent for other professions, so barriers to entry become lower every day.
CHAPTER FIVE: Abundant Profits Make Possible the Work That Isn’t
The chapter starts with reference to high performing businessmen: Goizueta, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and others who used their money for all kinds of charity, in process creating lots of jobs in non-profit organizations. Similarly author points out that without high profit there would be no high culture such as symphonies, universities, and such.
CHAPTER SIX: The Millennial Generation Will Be the Richest Yet—Until the Next One
Here author moves to discuss complains of current generation that they could not find jobs adequate to their education levels. He looks at this and other generations after WWII and concludes that they all were richer than previous ones, albeit not right away, but after some struggle.
CHAPTER SEVEN My story
Here author retells his story as college graduate of 1992, the time before Internet. Unlike ancient times when people were happy to find good enough jobs to earn living, author and his generation spend years or even decades looking for jobs that they would enjoy and make lots of money. In author’s case the search was successful.
CHAPTER EIGHT The “Venture Buyer”
Author starts this chapter with discussion of well known fact that nobody knows the future and government bureaucrats is not any better at predictions than capitalists. However people in free market environment evolutionary selected for their ability to move quickly to catch up in time with any new technology, trend or fashion making money from successful innovation. It is not only in production, but also in consumption. People with money, author calls them Venture buyers, buy new and exiting staff and if it is any good, promote it to everybody, consequently increasing demand, which in turn initiate economy of scale and improvements making this staff more and more effective and less and less expensive over time.
CHAPTER NINE: Why We Need People with Money to Burn
This is another bunch of examples that rich and semi rich spenders move progress either by using their wealth to invent things like brothers Wright, manage creation of new consumer products like Steve jobs, or do something else productive.
CHAPTER TEN: Love Your Robot, Love Your Job
Here author refers to the work of Henry Hazlitt and links his book to it:” I make three arguments in this book. First, everyone is intelligent in his own way. Second, everyone has a huge capacity to work if his work is matched with passion. Third, economic growth will allow work and passion to become one and the same for the greatest number of people. That’s why Hazlitt’s insight is so important. An “economy” is nothing more than a collection of individuals. When we take our economic thinking down to the level of the individual, we discover the secret to roaring economic growth: No individual is made more prosperous if local, state, and federal taxes shrink his income. What governments spend represents lost spending and savings for every individual.”
After that author moves to discuss technology and productivity growth that made contemporary world wealthy and his believe that it should cause game change from what it is now when people often do work they hate to the new game when people do what they like. In his opinion it would be world without laziness.
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Come Inside and Turn on the Xbox, You Have Work to Do
Here author recounts how in contemporary world people make good money playing golf, poker, or some X-box games. He presents the idea that such games require support like caddies who are high-level professionals in their own right and discusses real life examples at length. The inference from this is: ” The United States is already becoming a nation of happy workers, but we’ve only scratched the surface. The end of work has in a sense already arrived, but it could be so much better if our government taxed and spent more sensibly. You’re not lazy, you’re not stupid, and you’re not bereft of talent. You, like so many others, simply suffer a capital deficit. That can change if we demand that it change. If that happens, a life of enriching work will be our reward, and a certain reward for our children.”
MY TAKE ON IT:
Nice try, but somewhat light on thinking. At no point author try to compare numbers of jobs that will be lost to automation with number of jobs real or potential that could be created by sports, entertainment, and other areas that author believes susceptible to joyful working. The way reality looks now is that productive work removed by automation will be substituted not by some joyful jobs allowing people to play while working, but rather some miserly handouts like guarantied income and/or by soul killing miserable jobs of filing slots in some bureaucratic structure that pays better than this guarantied income in exchange for mindless conformity. I believe that there are better ways. These ways are not about doing something that one likes, even if nobody wants to pay for it, but rather about everybody having equal rights to natural resources including our biological DNA, cultural, and technological heritage so that people capable create wealth in amounts higher than average would have to buy rights for use of it from people who produced less than average.
The main idea here is to present idea of Eusociality that applies not only to humans, but also to other extremely successful forms of live –insects, especially ants. This idea helps to answer main philosophical questions humanity posed by referring to the process of evolution and not at the level of DNA only or even organism only, but at the level of society as whole with this process being broken into multiple levels, including competition between groups.
Author starts with defining the scope: “ALL QUESTIONS OF PHILOSOPHY THAT ADDRESS the human condition come down to three: what are we, what created us, and what do we wish ultimately to become.
“ Author believes that answers are in evolution and it is good not only for humans, but also for other forms of societies: ants and bees.
Chapter 1. The Search for Genesis
Here author presents his believes on key points for human self-understanding:
- Every part of the human body and mind has a physical base obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry. And all of it, so far as we can tell by continuing scientific examination, originated through evolution by natural selection.
- The unit of genetic evolution is the gene or ensemble of interacting genes. The target of natural selection is the environment, within which selection favors one form of a given gene (called an allele) over other forms (other alleles).
- During the biological organization of societies, natural selection has always been multilevel. Except in the case of “superorganisms,” as found in a few kinds of ants and termites, where subordinates form a sterile working class, each member competes with other members for rank, mates, and common resources. Natural selection simultaneously operates at the level of the group, affecting how well each group performs in competition against other groups.
Finally after that author discusses the key points of evolution: inheritance with variance and statistical selection of better breeders.
Chapter 2. The Great Transitions of Evolution
Here is how author defines the great transitions of evolution:
1.The origin of life
2.The invention of complex (“eukaryotic”) cells
3.The invention of sexual reproduction, leading to a controlled system of DNA exchange and the multiplication of species
4.The origin of organisms composed of multiple cells
5.The origin of societies
6.The origin of language
Author expresses his conviction that all teleological approaches to human evolution are false – the great transitions demonstrate that it is just natural process with no purpose whatsoever. He explains how each of these transition naturally occurred. Actually humans are not alone, huge number of other species moved along pretty far, with some all the way to level 5 and a few to level 6, albeit their language being very primitive, unlike human.
Chapter 3. The Great Transitions Dilemma and How It Was Solved
The dilemma here is about altruism and low probability of development of complex systems through multiple transitions. Author believes that it could be explained by evolution: “The solution begins with an appreciation of the enormity of the problem and the improbability, in fact near impossibility, of its solution. The great transitions together, composing the dragon challenge of evolution, lead through a field of extreme difficulty. Similarly, each of the transitions required almost unimaginably vast numbers of components (chemical compounds to simple living cells to eukaryotic cells and so on up), consuming long geologic periods of time, to create the next higher level. Each transition required, or at least was enhanced by, multilevel selection—occurrence of natural selection at the group levels added to selection at the individual level. “
Chapter 4. Tracking Social Evolution Through the Ages
Here author discusses formation of groups among various animals and their evolution. This process occurred many times so there is enough evidence to understand how it works. It seems to be done via: “…universal principle of modularity, the tendency of all biological systems to divide one way or another into semi-independent but cooperative groups. Members of the different groups specialize in function, even if just temporarily, in a way that serves the overall assembly as a whole and thereby on average benefits each individual singly”. Author believes that this process could lead to increase in groups’ complexity to the level, which is seldom achieved that he calls EUSOCIALITY. In Eusociality “the colony is divided into a “royal” caste specialized for reproduction, and a nonreproductive “worker” caste that performs the labor of the colony. Eusociality may be a relatively rare condition in evolution, but it has resulted in the most advanced levels of individual altruism and social complexity. It has conferred ecological dominance on the land by some of the species that possess it, particularly the ants, termites, and humans. “
Chapter 5. The Final Steps to Eusociality
Here author discusses evidence of Eusociality obtained from research of insects. He discusses difference between Eusociality and superorganisms such as Atta fungus and states that:” Eusociality, the organization of a group into reproductive and nonreproductive castes, occurred in only a tiny percentage of evolving lines, then relatively late in geological time, and almost entirely on the land. Yet
these few, leading to the ants, termites, and humans, have come to dominate the
terrestrial animal world. “
Chapter 6. Group Selection
Here is how author defines group selection:” Group selection is natural
selection of alleles (alternative forms of the same gene) that prescribe social traits. The traits favored by natural selection are those that entail the interaction of individuals within groups, including the initial formation of the groups. As groups of the
same species then compete, the genes of their members are tested, driving social evolution by natural selection up or down. A rich documentation of this process has been provided by both natural history and experimental studies. “
Then he provides support for this position both theoretically and referencing experimental studies in nature. Especially interesting are DNA studies on other Eusocial creatures – ants where prosocial behavior uses chemical communications based on DNA. Finally author provides some serious reasons for rejecting popular ideas of kin selection and inclusive fitness (Hamilton rule – General or HRG):
Chapter 7. The Human Story
The final chapter applies all this to human history: ”Humanity arose on the
African savanna from a line of australopiths by essentially the same route as the other known eusocial animals. A major driving force in social evolution was competition between groups, frequently violent. The final surge to the Homo level was enabled by the combination of an initially large brain, fire from the frequent lightning- struck savanna that could be captured and controlled, and the advantages of tightly gathered groups of cooperating members. “
To support idea of continuous process of violent competition between human groups author provides a very interesting table:
But it is not group violence that makes us human. Even more than that it was social interaction: ” From the earliest Homo formed, as brain size increased, the time devoted to social interactions likely increased. The trend upward has been inferred by Robin I. M. Dunbar of the University of Oxford. He used two correlations from existing species of monkeys and apes: first, time spent grooming as a function of group size, and second, the relation among apes between group size and cranial capacity. Extended to the australopithecines and the Homo line of species born from them, this method—admittedly tenuous—suggests that the “required social time” evolved from about one hour a day to two hours in the earliest species of Homo, thence four to five hours in modern humanity. In short, longer social interaction is a key component in the evolution of a larger brain and higher intelligence.”
MY TAKE ON IT:
I think that ideas expressed in this book are not just plausible, but actually completely correct. I do not see any other reasons for developing such huge and multifunctional tool for abstract thinking as human brain but for necessity to process complex tasks of strategizing, planning, communicating, and analyzing results. From current achievement in mathematics and computer science in modeling neural networks, it is clear that it requires huge amount of computing power. This is what evolution provided us with in the form of human brain. So far we used it relatively well, but now accumulated level of knowledge and skills become so big and sophisticated that it is a challenge for humanity to use it well enough to survive.
The narrative here is to review history of guns in America, the role they played in its settlement by Europeans, and analyze features of American culture that to large degree were formed by constant need in self-protection, either individual or in loosely formed militias against hostile Indians and/or other Europeans. However the main idea is to reject attempts by the left to rewrite history of American adherence to guns and demonstrate that American freedom depends on people’s ability to have arms, without which it would be indefensible.
PROLOGUE: From Prey to Predator
It starts with David and his use of projectile against Goliath. From this point author discusses history of projectile weapons from sling and stone to bow and arrow and all the way to firearms of XIV and XV centuries.
PART I NEW WORLDS
1: First Contact
After prolog about firearms coming to Europe author moves to America and initial European invaders – conquistadors. These guys’ guns were useful not that much through their firepower as for psychological effects of their noise and lights, which scared the hell out of people not familiar with technology.
2: Pilgrims Progress
The next stop is for Pilgrims and their guns. Author discusses technology of “Mayflower gun”, which was wheel lock – when rotating wheel had generated spark needed to ignite charge. Here is how author describes main use of guns in colonial America: “Hunting, not war, was the main use of the gun in early America. By the turn of the century, Indian reliance on European firearms for stalking prey was also growing. As Native Americans gradually adopted the apparatuses, they became increasingly adept at fixing and maintaining the weapons—even, occasionally, making their own ammunition. However, Indians were never able to manufacture and craft iron, and this doomed their hold on the land.
. Then author discusses technological development that found very good acceptation in America – Kentucky rifle that provided longer distance and better accuracy at the expense of difficulty of reloading. Comparatively speaking it was hunting weapon, not really appropriate for military engagement, which at the time was based on marching columns and disciplined volley firing that followed by bayonet attack. This tactic was based on smoothbore musket technology that provided much faster reloading.
3: Powder Alarm
This is about powder in America. Author discusses its chemistry and production technology. The production of powder in America was very limited and was subject of British attempt on confiscation whatever inventory colonials have on one side and attempts to setup production by colonials on other side. Both attempts failed so America kept powder it possessed and could not produce much more but consequently succeeded by relying on French supplies.
Here author discusses beginnings of American revolutionary war and provides an interesting observation on why revolution would not be an easy thing to defeat: ” In 1774, Richard Price, the Welsh philosopher and intellectual who championed the American cause in Britain during the Revolution, pointed out that in the colonies “every inhabitant has in his house (as part of his furniture) a book on law and government, to enable him to understand his civil rights; a musket to enable him to defend these rights; and a Bible to enable him to understand and practice his religion. In that same year, an Englishman visiting New England wrote home that there “is not a Man born in America that does not Understand the Use of Firearms and that well . . . It is almost the First thing they Purchase and take to all the New Settlements and in the cities you scarcely find a Lad of 12 years that does not go a Gunning.””
5: The Finest Marksmen in the World
Here author discusses a special feature of American way of war at the time – massive use of snipers with rifles who were targeting officers. Initially it was quite successful and widely popular. However, as everything else, it caused changes in British tactics that explore deficiencies of rifles: their slow and difficult reloading that made coordinated action in battle very difficult. The fact that it was practically one-shot weapon that made American fighters vulnerable to bayonet attack caused its decline in popularity and eventual return to the regular method of fighting: in columns with musket volleys.
6: Liberty’s Teeth
In this chapter author refer to famous diary of Joseph Plumb Martin who went through all revolutionary war. He describes a war of muskets when both sides were armed by “Brown Bess” musket or equivalent weapon.
7: Freedoms Guarantee
In this chapter author completes his discussion of American revolution, its causes and history by noting that not a small reason for this was British attempt to disarm population. He links these events to our time by noting:“The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights lists the most vital freedoms of man. The second lists the only way to attain them and preserve them. Without the second, there is no first. It was in this context that the newly minted nation enshrined this natural right. The words written by James Madison in 1791, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” would not be controversial until the twentieth century when a seemingly ungrammatical comma plunked in the middle of this sentence offered a generation of gun-control advocates a justification to question whether individuals were afforded the right to self-defense.
PART Il DISCOVERY
8: Go West
This chapter about American movement West starts with Lewis and Clark and their weapons. One of the most important was a small-bore cannon and couple blunderbusses. It follows by the story of Daniel Boone. Author describes how much attention and effort Lewis applied to have the best available weapons, which were custom made at Harpers Ferry Armory. Especially interesting was air gun that could be fired without reloading a number of times using magazine with some 22 rounds and enough compressed air to shoot 40 times. It greatly amazed Indians who already were familiar with firearms and new their deficiencies, which quite possibly discourage potential attack. Author then discusses establishment of mass production of weapons with changeable parts. One of the most important inventions of the period was bridge-loaded gun. It was the first known patented gun.
9: Peacemaker; 10: Bullet; 11: Those Newfangled Gimcrackers;
These chapters retell story of technological developments of XIX century: Colt revolver, Smith and Wesson gun with cartages, and Spencer repeating rifle,
12: Fastest Gun in the West
Here author moves to people who used these technologies: Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, and a few others.
13: The Showman
The final chapter of this part is about gun culture expressed in entertainment with Buffalo Bill’s show as exhibit number one. It also refers to extermination of Buffalos, how it was done, and special weapon: Sharps Rifle used to do it. The final part of the chapter is about Annie Oakley and her unmatched shooting skills.
PART III MODERNITY
14: Hellfire; 15: An American in London; 16: American Genius; 17: The Chicago Typewriter; 18: Great Arsenal of Democracy;
These chapters retells story of several types of guns of the late XIX and XX centuries and their inventors. Author discusses here Gatling gun, Maxim machinegun, Browning rifles, Thompson sub-machinegun, and Garand rifle.
19: Fall and Rise of the Sharpshooter
In this chapter author moves from hardware of guns to software – tactics of guns use – mainly about sniper fire. American military revived sniper training and extensive use during Vietnam War and since then only extended it.
20: Peace Dividends
This chapter is about contemporary automatic rifles and it discusses ongoing competition between Soviet AK-47 and American AR-15 / M16. Generally these two are designed with different ideas of fighting in mind. AK-47 was designed with preference of low cost and reliability over accuracy, while M16 for accuracy and ergonomics. Author also trying explain reasons for initially poor reputation of M16 by bureaucratic incompetence during its roll out to the troops.
21: The Great Argument
The final chapter is about continuously advancing efforts of gun control by bureaucrats and politicians. However so far these effort mainly failed because guns so much imbedded into American culture that it hard to imagine that any confiscation attempt would succeed.
CONCLUSION: Molon Labe
In conclusion author discusses revisionist attempt by leftist historians to separate guns from American history and by politicians to promote idea of the Second Amendment as “collective right”. So far it failed in Supreme Court and in popular support.
MY TAKE ON IT:
I agree with author’s position, but I think it is not sufficient. The current trend to justify individual ownership of guns by reasons of self-defense and hunting opens it to continuing attempts for regulation and confiscation. I think founders understood that armed individuals are not sufficient for protection of freedom. Only independent organizations of armed individuals could protect it against enemies foreign and domestic, which means military for protection against former and militia for protection against latter. As for military it should be small and professional to be used exclusively against other countries and their forces. As for militia, it should be based on mass participation of all adult so no politician or gang of politicians could believe that there is any chance to deprive people of their freedoms. This mass participation in militia long gone and so was significant parts of freedom that Americans used to have. Whether it is gone forever, however, still remains to be seen.
The main idea here is to present contemporary understanding of immune system workings and humanize this discussion with real live example of 3 people who suffer from immunity system problems and one person who possess unusually powerful immune system, which allowed him to survive AIDs at the time before treatment was developed and the vast majority of infected people died.
Part I: Lives in the Balance
- The Ties That Bind 2. Jason 3. Bob. 4. Linda and Merredith
In this part author discusses a little bit on the nature of immune system and then presents stories of four people: his friend Jason who suffered from cancer at middle age, Bob – gay man who survived AIDS, Linda – high power workaholic who encountered rheumatoid arthritis, which is autoimmune disease, and Merredith, who has genetic version of autoimmune disease.
Part II: The Immune System and the Festival of Life
- The Bird, Dog, Starfish, and Magic Bullet
Here author starts with the origins of immunology, which started in Italy first with discovery of chicken bursa by Fabricius ab Aquapendente
and then in 1622 with discovery of lymph circulation. The next step was in XIX century when Metchnikoff discovered phagocytes and developed theory of immunities, which was supplemented by work of Paul Ehrlich who discovered antigens.
- The Festival;
Here author describes what he calls festival of life: permanent movement of cells in the body and some processes used to fix the problems that periodically occur.
- Festival Crashers;
This is about all kind of challenges to this festival: Bacteria, Viruses, Parasites, and Cancers. Then author discusses how body’s immune system handles these challenges. The common problem of this handling is the difficulty of correct recognition between hostile and own healthy cells so that body would not attack the latter (autoimmune illnesses) and would not protect malignant cells (cancer). Here is how author describes his task: “ It is the story of scientific discovery. It goes like this, in brief: scientists got an idea about these things called T cells and B cells, started applying big conceptual knowledge through life-saving vaccines and transplants, and then these imaginative and innovative immunologists delved into the tiny fragments of the immune system, the cogs, and built a blueprint of the machine. They understood, as I’ll describe, what inflammation is about, and the molecules that make up our communications network. With each advance of science came another practical step, like building medicines by replicating our defense cells, and then would come another extraordinary scientific leap, like the discovery only a few years ago of a second immune system.
- The Mystery Organ
This starts with the story of tuberculosis patient who died shortly before discovery of antibiotics and whose sister became medical researcher who discovered thymus – the mystery organ strongly influencing work of immune system.
9 The B-Word
This is about discovery of two different immune cells that body produced- B-cells originating in bone marrow and generated antibodies, while T-cell went through thymus and could direct actions against disease.
- T Cells and B Cells
This is about functionality of B and T cells with nice picture of both:
This is brief, but important part describing how vaccines work. They present immune system with relatively weak cell form of enemy that allow it to develop response to this particular problem, so when real virus hit, the immune system already prepared to defeat it.
- The Infinity Machine
This is about big mystery of immune system – how it recognizes good cells vs. bad that needs to be attacked. Turned out that immune system has preset pieces of DNA ready to create antibodies for multitude of different invaders.
This chapter is about transplantation of organs that was very challenging process before medicine achieved good enough understanding of immune system to be able suppress it enough for body accept transplant, but not enough to leave it defenseless against infection.
14 The Immune System’s Fingerprint
This is an interesting chapter about uniqueness of immune system and its ability to sent chemical signals externally, based on MHC gene. Among other things it was discovered that close enough MHC repels people from each other, while different attracts, providing chance for increased diversity.
This is another interesting and not trivial look at inflammation. Author links it to immune system and complex process of organism reaction to invasion with use of various more or less specialized killer cells: neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer cells.
This chapter is about discovery of a molecule that controls fever in the body – leukocytic pyrogen, even if it is present in miniscule quantities.
- Flash Gordon
This is about interferon (IFN) – a medicine that is based on dead virus. It prepares immune system to recognize DNA of virus in case of infection and attack it.
- The Harmonious Way
This very brief chapter is about change in approach to immune system from perceiving it as defensive system that attacks intruders to understanding that it is kind of homeostatic mechanism that maintains overall cellular balance of the body reacting to violation of this balance in such way as to restore it.
19 Three Wise Men and the Monoclonal Antibody
This is about the research that developed process for isolating specific antibodies and produce them in volume. Such antibodies called monoclonal antibodies that could be potentially produced for any disease.
- A Second Immune system
This is the story of discovery of second signal system – innate immunity based on gene called Toll receptor that defines which cell attack and which should be not attacked. The understanding of immune reaction is now includes coordinated working of both: innate and adaptive immune systems. Here is brief description:
Part III: Bob: 21. Sex Machine; 22. GRID; 23. The Phone Call; 24 CD4 and CD8; 5. Magic; 26. The Prime; Part IV: Linda and Merredith: 27. Linda; 28 The Wolf: 29. Invisible Evidence 30. Best of Both Worlds (Sort Of); 31. Merredith;
This part of the book follows stories of 3 people that author selected for the “human interest” part of the book.
- Should You Pick Your Nose? 33. Microbiome; 34. Stress; 35. Sleep;
The 3 chapters about factors impacting immune system. They discuss correspondingly: need to train immune system in real life, so too much sterility in life and too cautious approach to raising children puts people at risk of having poorly trained immune system, resulting in allergies and openness to infection; value of microbiome that surround human body and provides vital support for its functioning, so overuse of antibiotic and other suppressors of micro organism could be not just harmful, but deadly; Finally minimization of stress and optimization of amount and quality of sleep are important factors in maintaining immune system in good shape.
Part V: Jason 36. A Word About Cancer 37.Laughter and Tears
In these two chapters author once again returns to the story of his friend Jason and Jason’s struggle with cancer.
38 The Lazarus Mouse
Here author moves to discuss interaction of immune system with cancer, which is practically comes down to its failure to attack cancerous cells. The research found that it seems to be possible to remove the restriction that disrupt this process and prompt immune system to attack, consequently leading to possibility of developing qualitatively new method of cancer treatment.
- Wound Healing
Here author discusses process of wound healing and suggests that cancer related to this process when immune system react to cancer cells as a wound and start protecting it.
- Programmed Death
In this chapter author retells the story of antibody development that would prompt immune system attack cancer cells. Here is author’s description of how it was done:(For those interested in the details, Lonberg and his peers, in the late 1990s, were figuring out how to cause the T cell to receive its signal at CD28, which is the spot where the “go” signal is received, and not at CTLA-4, where the “stop” signal arrives. Both receive their signal from the molecule B7-1; if B7-1 binds to CTLA-4, the immune system stops, and if it binds to CD28, the attack goes forward. In some cancers, “CTLA-4 is hogging B7,” Lonberg said. So the goal was to “displace” B7-1 from the CTLA-4 so that CD28 could bind. They did this by creating an ultra-specific antibody to bind to CTLA-4. When the antibody bound to CTLA-4, it pried loose the B7-1. Now the brakes would have been turned off. The immune system could attack the tumor as if it were foreign and dangerous, not innocuous and self.)
- The Breakthrough 42. Jason Races Time 43. Shepherd of Death 44. Trials, Personal and Clinical 45. The Other Shoe Part VI: Homecoming 46. Bob 47. Linda 4S. Jan and Ron 49. Jason Down the White Tunnel; 50. Jason Rises; 51. Apollo 11; 52. Home; 53. Jasons Way; 54. The Meanings of Life; 55. The Meaning of Jason
These final chapters retells current state of four people used to illustrate the book: author’s friend Jason died, but others keep going, indicating increased level of knowledge and abilities of current medicine.
MY TAKE ON IT:
This book clearly improved my understanding of immune system, how it works, what is current level of understanding of this system, and what could be expected in reasonably near future. The human-interest story was in my view a bit out of place, but it is not that bad. Anyway, the information from this book indicates that humanity is getting closer and closer to real understanding of immune system workings and therefore closer to eliminating practically all diseases known to humanity, including not only auto-immune diseases and allergies, but also immune deficiency diseases such as all kinds of cancers. It would be very interesting to see the results.
The main idea of this book is to use author’ experience on site in China to demonstrate that Chinese totalitarian regime is real danger to the world not only economically, but also politically and military. The point is that China’s objective to be dominant power in the world, if obtained, would inevitably lead to loss of freedom and democracy. This experience included talking with regular people that followed and greatly enhanced by subsequent education in political science with stress on China and research in details of Chinese leadership’s communications to the people formal and informal
Introduction: Chinas Vision of Victory
Author starts by referring to failed idea of China’s transfer to democracy in due time when it would become rich enough. This idea was the main driver of Western support of China’s growth, inclusion into international trade system, and, most important, tolerance to China’s violation of all Western norms. Instead of democratization the economic growth created believe in China’s leadership of their inherent superiority and expectation in short period of time to take leading position in the world both economically and militarily. Author stresses that unlike democratic USA it would not be benign leadership, that usually meant American protection for freedom in all its forms. It would rather mean world dominance of Chinese communist party leadership and suppression of freedom in all its forms all over the world.
After stating this main thesis of the book author describes his live in China, which he started at age 22 as backpacker travelling from place to place and learning people, culture, and language. It followed by some other travels, learning and communicating with experts, strategic studies at Oxford, and author’s maturation into expert and consultant. Author combines his presentation into two parts: the first Chinese understanding of self and their society historical destiny, which could be briefly summarized as “rule the world” The second part is about comprehensive planning and implementation strategy to achieve with objective. The total layout of book is implemented across 5 dimensions:
- A Vision of National Destiny
- Strategic Geography and Military Plans
- Economic and Technological Ambitions
- Growing Global Reach
- A Vision of a New World Order
Part I: “The Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation”: China’s Vision of National Destiny
1.1 National Resurrection; 1.2 “The New China”: Mao Zedong; 1.3 “Hide Your Brightness, Bide Your Time”: Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin; 1.4 “The Period of Strategic Opportunity”: Hu Jintao; 1.5“The China Dream”: Xi Jinping;
1.6 “The New China” Meets “The China Dream”; 1.7 From “the Peaceful Rise of China” to “Fighting the Bloody Battle Against Our Enemies’; 1.8 From “Able To Fight And Win Wars” to “Preparing to Fight and Win Wars”
This part is about Chinese perception of their own history and China’s place in the world the way it is promoted by communist party and readily accepted by Chinese people. This pretty much comes down the morality story quite similar to the story told to their people by German and Russian rulers. The story is that the great nation, superior in all areas to all other nations was denigrated by foreigners due to incompetence and corruption of previous leaders, but now is regaining its place under wise leadership of current leaders. Author goes through historical sequence of Chinese Communist leadership starting with Mao, demonstrating how initial strong believes in superiority of socialist ideology led to disasters of Mao years and how it was substituted by retreat from these ideals. This retreat included allowing somewhat market economy with communist party retaining power while permitting Western capital and knowledge inflow in exchange for cheap labor and shelter against environmental and other regulations. Author describes how this policy succeeded beyond all expectation in moving China to the level of industrial development tat was closing gaps with the West and causing current Chinese leadership decision that time arrived to through away mask of peaceful participant in international economic and political order and take what they believe is proper place of China – world wide dictatorship of Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Author provides plentiful evidence of Chinese leaders’ expressing these believes and, moreover, readiness to achieve this goal by all means necessary including military.
Part II: “Blue National Soil”: China’s Strategic Geography and Military Plans
2.1 The Military Rise of China; 2.2 New Technologies, New Frontiers; 2.3 Internal Security and Homeland Defense: China’s Traditional Military Geography; 2.4 The New World Map: Regional Expansion and Global Military Presence; 2.5 Toward 2049: China’s Vision of Military Power “Catch up to America, Surpass America”: China’s Economic and Technological Ambitions
This chapter is about Chinese military ambitions and it starts with something that so far was only rarely mentioned in literature: Chinese territorial claims. Something that pretty much disappeared in international relations since WWII. Here is the map of these claims:
Author reviews different areas of recent Chinese military development and concludes that building of military capable successfully conduct world wide conflict and win in it became clear objective of Chinese leadership. There is also pretty clear formulation of who is considered the enemy, and it is USA and by extension all countries that would refuse to accept China not just as superior power, but also as rule maker and dictator.
3.1 “Comprehensive National Power; 3.2 Made in China 2025: Mastering Future Industries and Going Global; 3.3 The Importance of Economic Power: Technology and National Strength; 3.4China’s Economy: Rejuvenation’s Engine;
3.5 China’s Ambitions in Technology and Innovation; 3.6 China Goes Global: State and Private Enterprise Take on the World; 3.7 Toward 2049: China’s Vision of Economic Power
This part is about economic power. Author provides graph representing past, present, and future economic balance of GDP between countries and regions:
It demonstrates vision of achieving economic superiority by 2030. It is not only GDP, but also technological superiority that Chinese leadership is expecting to achieve. The method used is to transfer technological achievement from other countries to Chine either via purchase or stealing IP, or forcing transfers as price to access Chinese market. So far this worked wonderfully for China allowing it to jump to forefront of technological advancement without spending really that much on R&D.
Part IV: FF Reo “The Ceaseless Expansion of National Interests”: China’s Growing Global Reach
4.1 Overview: China’s Need for the World’s Resources; 4.2 China in The Middle East; 4.3 China in Africa; 4.4 China in Latin America; 4.5 China in the Arctic and Antarctic; 4.6 The Indo-Pacific: The Indian Ocean Region and South Pacific States; 4.7 China And The “Major Powers”: The United States, Russia, India, Japan, and Europe;
This part is about China expansion of its influence around the worlds in search of resources, bases, and vassals. Author moves through all major geographical points demonstrating how it is currently in process.
Part V: “A Community of Common Destiny for Mankind”: China’s Vision for the New World Order
5.1 China’s Vision for World Order; 5.2 A Global “Middle Kingdom; 5.3 “Interior Vassals” and “Exterior Vassals” in the “Community of Common Destiny for Mankind”; 5.4 A World Transformed: A Day in the Life of Chinese Power; 5.5 2049: China’s Vision of a New World Order;
Here is how author presents main question of this part and the answer he provides:
“WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR CHINA TO RULE THE WORLD? The answer has been in front of us all along. It has been in front of us as we read the Chinese Communist Party’s statements, observe their strategies and actions, and come to understand the intentions behind China’s ascendency in this century. It is simple: China’s rise, in the minds of its leaders and many of its people, is not a rise, but a restoration. It is a restoration, simply put, of the power and prosperity enjoyed by the Chinese Empire. It is the restoration, as the Communist Party sees it, of an entire world defined by China’s supremacy. Most importantly, both as a political culture and as a civilization, China has plenty of experience ruling a world system. It is from the earlier time of supremacy that much of the character of current-day Chinese political thought and action derives.
Author also provides an interesting list of values of Western world that are completely unacceptable to Chinese communist party and are intensively suppressed by all means necessary:
Author also presents a vision of what world would look like if Chinese communist party will be successful in achieving economic, military, and ideological supremacy, and it is not a pretty picture.
MY TAKE ON IT:
To me the author’s warning about China’s ideology and objectives sound quite convincingly. Actually it is not that China specific, as author believes. Russia, Germany, and some others believed in their special destiny as world superpower coming from century or two of humiliations. I appreciate author’s understanding of complete support of Chinese people that party enjoys, which is kind of a feast for an American whose culture built on idea of people thinking for themselves. I also think that China is real and present danger to the free world, but I believe that we are already over the pick of this danger. Reason for my opinion is that China’s superfast growth was not generated by its system or even by its people. It was more consequence of China’s low labor cost and protection from regulations, especially environmental regulations ubiquitous in the Western world. There are a number of factors that made this calculation outdated, not last of which is Chinese leadership’s arrogance in announcement of China’s intentions. All together it lead to wide recognition of danger by the Western politicians and business, which in turn will most probably cut China off Western investment, technology transfer, and access to know how in many areas, most important military. The consequence will be beneficial for China because it will eventually send its Communist part to the same place where Soviet Communist and German National-Socialist parties ended – dustbin of history. The only question is whether it will happen within near term with CCP leadership starting process of peaceful self-dissolution with intermediate transfer to oligarchy or over long Cold War with the whole world consolidated around USA.