Just in time for your holiday shopping, the Highlands Forum 2005 Reading List features 26 books and three documentary films (two on limited distribution VHS and one DVD). The three films and six of the books were used in research for the 2005 Highlands Forum meetings; there are fifteen titles that we have run across and wanted to share with you; and finally, we have five books recommended by guest reviewers. Our distinguished guest editors this year are Professor Charles Hauss of George Mason University and the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Search for Common Ground; General Robert Latiff, Deputy Director for System Engineering at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO); Mark McKinnon, chief media advisor to President George W. Bush and nominee to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG); Linda Robinson, senior writer for U.S. News & World Report and winner of the 2004 Gerald R. Ford Prize for Reporting on National Defense; and David Rothkopf, author, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rothkopf Group, and Acting U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton Administration.
The 2005 Highlands Forum Reading List, as always, consists of several categories. Most titles are new; some are classics worth discovering for the first time. They have been selected both for their topics and for their capacity to broaden our understanding of emerging issues and inform the way we think about things. We began compiling an annual list in 2000, at the request of many Highlands participants who read our periodic book reviews on the Web site. This is a continuing work - additional titles will be added during the year and compiled at the end of each year in a larger list. Review our lists for 2000-2004.
Charles "Chip" Hauss wears three professional hats - Adjunct Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia; author of nine books on conflict resolution, comparative politics, and international relations; and Director of Policy and Research at Search for Common Ground-USA. Chip's recommendation for this year's Highlands Forum Reading List is
It is also an important book because it documents, in three areas, the NSC's work and impact more clearly and more completely than anything I have ever read. First and foremost, with the exception of the first Reagan administration, the size and strength of the NSC and its staff have grown on a regular basis. Second, the NSC staff has been an important jumping-off point for ambitious men and women who wanted to build their careers. Third, although hundreds of people have served on the NSC staff, they reflect a very narrow slice of the American population. If Rothkopf is correct, virtually everyone who has mattered at the NSC since the 1960s has been no more than two degrees of separation from Henry Kissinger. Not everyone liked Kissinger, of course, but almost everyone either studied and worked with him or with someone else who had a direct relationship with him either at Harvard or in Washington.
There also are three issues that Rothkopf rarely addresses, but which members of the Highlands Forum should at least think about. First is the very narrowness of the NSC itself. There is little doubt that its staff has talented and well-trained professionals. But, the perspectives that the NGO community would bring to its deliberations are rarely heard because almost no one on its staff has ever worked for an NGO. Second, the NSC has not done much with foreign policy issues that are not geopolitical in nature. That made sense given the state of the world in the late 1940s. It makes less sense now that international security threats are as likely to be economic or environmental as military. Third, one should ask if it makes sense for the United States to have so many different agencies responsible for parts of its foreign policymaking.
Mark McKinnon is vice chairman of Public Strategies, Inc. and president of Maverick Media. As chief media advisor to President George W. Bush, Mark directed the advertising effort for the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. President Bush recently nominated him to serve as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the independent, autonomous entity responsible for all U.S. government and government-sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting. He is one of nine governors, whose membership also includes Karen Hughes and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Mark's recommendation for the 2005 Highlands Forum Reading List is
"During the recent Highlands Forum meeting ("Strategic Listening"), we spent a great deal of time discussing the topic of storytelling and the importance of narrative architecture. The conversation reminded me of a book by acclaimed playwright David Mamet:
Major General Bob Latiff, U.S. Air Force, is Deputy Director for System Engineering of the National Reconnaissance Office. He is the functional manager for NRO-wide systems engineering, and as the NRO's chief architect, he works with senior program managers to define the Integrated NRO Architecture for space-based reconnaissance and intelligence systems. Bob is a voracious reader of all genres of books, and regularly has wonderful recommendations for us. This time he alerts us to a recent favorite,
"This book by Tim Parks is an interesting study of powerful families and how they can change prevailing modes of thought. The subtitle, Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth Century Florence, is accurate but merely describes the subjects Parks treats. On a deeper level, he analyzes the deception or self-deception surrounding the then-forbidden idea of usury, and how the nation rationalized its own flagrant violation of its rules, with the full knowledge and active concurrence of its leaders. At the same time, it is a study in how enormous wealth led to greed and the taking of excessive risks, with subsequent disastrous effects for both the family and the nation. Finally, it is a great study in how wealthy individuals or families can influence society's views of pertinent topics, in this case art. What about science and technology as it relates to the present? The questions the book raises are numerous, but one might question whether such a situation is even possible today, given the proliferation of both wealth and information. There was a very close and intricate relationship between the Medici's business interests and the political and religious leaders of the time. History tells us these relationships have both positive and negative results. What such relationships exist today and how can they be nurtured and used to advance current society?"
David J. Rothkopf is chairman and CEO of The Rothkopf Group, which specializes in providing high-level advisory and consulting services on national security, intelligence, and international issues for corporations and governments. David chairs the Carnegie Economic Strategy Roundtable as well as studies focusing on America's role in the world, and is also a member of the advisory board of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and of the Johns Hopkins/Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to the establishment of The Rothkopf Group, he was managing director of Kissinger Associates, the international advisory firm founded and chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. He also served as Acting U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton Administration. David, whose latest book is also reviewed above by Chip Hauss, turns in his own recommendation for the Highlands Forum 2005 Reading List,
"My recommendation is my friend Moises Naim's book
Linda Robinson is a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report. She won the 2004 Gerald R. Ford Prize for Reporting on National Defense. She was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University in 2000-2001, and in 1999 she received the Maria Moors Cabot prize from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She has covered numerous wars, guerrilla conflicts, and special forces' operations. Linda's latest book,
Thomas P. M. Barnett
Tom Barnett, the keynote speaker at last December's Forum on "Connectedness, Content, and Security: 2015", has followed his important and successful first volume,
Eric Von Hippel
Eric Von Hippel is a Professor and Head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. In this new book,
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Rob Cross and Andrew Parker
We have discussed social networks over the past ten years in the Highlands Forum with David Ronfeldt, Valdis Krebs, Ray Ozzie, Dan Gillmor, Jack Thorpe, and others, and have learned the value of these networks. Now Rob Cross and Andrew Parker have written most clearly in
E. H. Gombrich
John Hagel III and John Seely Brown
There are many reasons to read this latest insightful book (
Joel Garreau is a staff writer for the Washington Post and author of two previous books.
What sets Garreau apart is that he interviews technologists like Ray Kurzweil (heaven) who think we are heading into an era of tremendous progress, and Bill Joy (hell) who thinks we are literally heading there in a hand-basket. Garreau outlines two other scenarios. The most plausible one is that we will muddle through (prevail), a thesis that he builds through the work of Jaron Lanier and others. But he also holds out the possibility that we will make a quantum leap as a species and civilization and use our brains and technologies to "transcend" our current predicaments. It is just as clear that whichever of the scenarios - or some variant of them - pans out, our security environment will change. The kinds of accelerating change Garreau discusses dwarf those covered in books on globalization, such as the three recent books by Tom Friedman, the well-respected columnist at the New York Times. The security risks would be most obvious in his "hell" scenario. However, how we deal with what Friedman calls a "flat world" in which the political "distance" between any two countries is sharply reduced will be an issue in any event. How will we govern ourselves if we simply get by, let alone meet his transcending goals? How will we deal with threats from people who don't share those goals, especially those who will be the losers in what will be global processes of change?
Andrew Parker marks a return to the Highlands Forum Reading List with the second volume in his trilogy on color, vision, and evolution. This brilliant 38 year-old Oxford zoologist set the science world buzzing with his first book (
Thomas X. Hammes
We first met Colonel (T.X.) Tom Hammes, USMC (ret.) in August 2002, through our mutual Highlands colleague, Commander Eric Rasmussen, MD, USN. At the time, Hammes was the commanding officer of the USMC Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force. In a day of high heat and humidity, we donned Hazmat suits to practice extractions of victims from a rubble pile. Hammes was our host; but instead of talking about chemical and biological (chem-bio) issues, he wanted to tell us about the ideas he was developing regarding third and fourth generation warfare ("3G" and "4G"). Later, at the National Defense University (NDU), he asked J.C. Herz and us to sit and listen over lunch to his latest edit. His ideas were compelling; now they appear as a highly regarded book,
Hammes describes that battlefield not as one might have seen in Desert Storm, a highly technological "shooting gallery" for the advantaged coalition (U.S.) forces - but rather as one that uses networks of all kinds (not just technological, but also social, political, economic, informational, and military) to weaken alliances, deter/delay/demoralize/defeat enemies, and attain political goals. This latter point is extended to include populations of belligerents as well as supporting nations and groups, who lose faith in the war effort. Hammes says that when 4GW belligerents stay focused on their aims and their social networks, and stay the course, their state opponents will not. Like John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, who argue for the U.S. military to become more networked - they see this through the eyes of successful Special Forces operations - Hammes says the hope for the Department of Defense (DoD) is to become more socially and organizationally networked, and to recognize that the battle for the narrative is key. Put this together with our previous year's selection of
The bottom line about the European Union (EU) that T. R. Reid (who served as Washington Post bureau chief in London from 1998 to 2003) focuses on in much of his book is every bit about security and a different approach to it. In
General Sir Rupert Smith
We were sitting in a hotel lounge with BBC anchor Nik Gowing recently, discussing the conduct of war and what transparency might mean for the forces in the fight. Nik, whose paper on information operations in complex emergencies ("Dispatches from Disaster Zones", which addresses the Great Lakes crisis in Africa) is still one of the most frequently downloaded readings on the Forum Web site, has been pursuing his ideas on information in conflict for some time, with leaders in forums around the world. In the course of our conversation, he asked if we had read a brand new book by General Sir Rupert Smith,
Peter Bernstein first made our list with his classic on the history of risk,
New York Times business and technology reporter (and frequent Highlands participant) John Markoff has written a new book that describes the culture of Northern California (particularly Palo Alto and Menlo Park) in the 1960s and traces the personalities, beliefs and actions of a number of major personalities as the personal computer became a reality. From the title, you can also surmise that there was a common thread of drug experimentation around the creative possibilities in the PC's creators, midwives, and godfathers. This is interesting ground that Markoff covers.
C. K. Prahalad
In Highlands Forum 26, we ended our first day with a presentation by Professor C. K. Prahalad, Professor of Corporate Strategy and International Business at the University of Michigan Business School. Business Week has said "he may be the most influential thinker on business strategy today." In his new book,
Sultan Barakat (Editor)
Dr. Sultan Barakat is the Director of the Postwar Reconstruction and Development Unit, which he founded at the University of York in 1992. He has field experience in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Colombia, Indonesia (Aceh), Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, Palestine, the Philippines (Mindanao), Somalia (Puntland), Sri Lanka, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uganda, and Yemen. In his book,
James M. McPherson
Frank Fukuyama is Professor of International Political Economy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and director of the SAIS International Development program. His 1992 international bestseller,
Ernest J. Wilson
Ernest J. Wilson III holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Government and Politics and in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also Faculty Associate of the School of Business and Management and the School of Public Affairs, and recently accepted the position of Senior Visiting Fellow in the Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California (USC). In
Martha Wolfenstein and Nathan Leites
Over the years we remember the advice of Andy Marshall that "if you want a new idea, read an old book." When we sat with Andy in his office early this year to discuss the basis for our July Enrichment Session on strategic listening, he politely listened to our questions about comparing cultures and how those cultures see the same stories. He suggested that we find a copy of the out-of-print 1950 volume,
Director: Mohammad Mokhtari - 2000
Zinat: One Special Day won the "audience award" at the Highlands Forum Film Festival last July (Highlands Forum Enrichment Session: "One Night in Tehran"), in which we examined how Iranian filmmakers told their own stories about life in Iran. Zinat is a plucky, immediately likable person who wins over the audience's heart, and we find ourselves rooting for her. Zinat is a wife and a public health worker who is running for city council in a small village in southern Iran. Thirteen years ago, she abandoned her borgheh, a facemask worn by women in public, to attend school to become a health worker. One scene in the film shows Zinat at home preparing food and providing health care for locals who come to see her for medical help. On this day, it is election day, and both she and her husband are running for city council positions. Rather than run against each other, the top vote recipients are all elected to office, thus Zinat and her husband are not directly competing with each other. A local elder comes to her home on the pretense of illness, and proceeds to try to dissuade her from running. Zinat, however, defends her right, ability, and vision as a candidate. She argues that her reason for running is to fight for improvement of the community's standard of living. At the end of the movie, it is revealed that Zinat received the most votes in the election and that her husband came in third place. They both became members of the city council - and she got the road and community center built that she promised. This documentary is available only at First Run Icarus Films in VHS format at http://www.frif.com/.
Directors: Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Husseini - 1998
Divorce Iranian Style is the second documentary that we recommend; it is a stark look at a family court in Iran, where men and women are struggling to divorce each other. Both men and women are allowed to divorce. However, the requirements for a woman to divorce her husband are much more stringent. One woman seeks to divorce her husband because of his inability to conceive. The woman is persistent and challenges the judges and court workers in order to push her case through the system. Her husband refuses to take the required medical tests to prove her case. He procrastinates and postpones the divorce process. He finally gives in to the divorce, on the condition that the woman relinquish her claim to the bride money (mehriyah). The key take-aways here are the unbelievably inefficient and uncaring bureaucracy that determines essential events in people's lives; the tribulations of modern Iranian women who do not accept the old order and rail against the system (including the strictures of family bonds and exhortations to quietly accept the status quo); and the fact that not all mullahs are like the Taliban or the Ayatollah Khomeini. This film is available at IranianFilms.com in VHS format: http://www.iranianmovies.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Product_Code=403&Screen=PROD.
Directed and Produced by Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman - 2004
Born Into Brothels was the winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary Film. It was produced and directed by New York-based filmmakers Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski. Zana, a key speaker at Highlands Forum 27: "Strategic Listening", is a New York-based photographer, and this was her first film. She went to India for six months a year for six years, spending most of her time in Calcutta. After living in a brothel among the children and their mothers, building a bond of trust, she found that the kids opened up to her, asking her for help, along with their mothers and grandmothers. She gave them cameras and instruction in how to use them; she gave them caring and listening; she gave them hope and aspirations; and she gradually helped find schooling and another life for them. The film is a remarkable story of Zana trying to figure out how to help and to find solutions through official channels; the resistance she met at almost every turn; the kids' curiosity and growth; and the remarkable creativity that ensued in their photos. Zana, a powerful presence who illuminated our Forum session this November, told us, "Their photographs are prisms into their souls, rather than anthropological curiosities, and a true testimony to the power of the indelible creative spirit."
Born Into Brothels is available widely in DVD format, but be sure to look for the