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The Watchman's Rattle

The Watchman's Rattle

A Radical New Theory of Collapse

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 headlines from 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 the tendency to find a quick solution–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.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Social Science / Sociology / Social Theory

On Sale: November 13th 2012

Price: $15.99 / $18.5 (CAD)

ISBN-13: 9781593156862

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

If there were a "Watchman" to protect us from danger, he would be shaking his rattle vigorously right now. We are in danger of becoming extinct, for the signs of the collapse of our civilization are obvious, according to Rebecca Costa's excellent and thought provoking new book, The Watchman's Rattle.

The theme for The Watchman's Rattle can be summed up in the story of the sophisticated and scientifically developed Mayan society: Unproven beliefs became the substitute for facts. Once this happens, as the practice of beliefs cannot result in real solutions, the inevitability of failure takes place, and disaster is the only outcome.

Our inherent hubris about our being as evolved as we can possibly ever be, is another message that one can take from The Watchman's Rattle. If we do not heed the lessons of the past, if we continue to ignore all the warning signs that threaten human existence-such as global recession, powerful pandemic viruses, terrorism, rising crime, climate change, rapid depletion of the earth's resources, nuclear proliferation, and failing educational systems-we are doomed to extinction. However, if we do pay attention, Costa lays out a plan that places us in an excellent position to change a repetitive pattern of decline.

This is an excellent book, rich with challenging thoughts as well as perceptive solutions. Costa offers excellent research in this fully developed dissertation on the warning signs and potential solutions to human and global destruction.

Highly recommended.—Geri Spieler, New York Journal of Books
"The Gulf is drowning in oil, the housing market stumbles along, the Afghanistan conflict nears a decade long...why do all these problems seem so intractable and unstoppable? How did we get to this point of gridlock? Instead of hand-wringing we should all read Rebecca Costa's The Watchman's Rattle and start figuring out how to really solve these messes. Few other books have so clearly and sharply captured how our symptom-obsessed society means we're always looking for the quick-fix and easy cure rather than searching for the deeper, longer lasting solutions. Her analysis of how we got to this point mixes history, biology, economics and much more to paint a picture of a society overwhelmed by tremendous problems, but with her Silicon Valley rationality and novel guide to intuitive thinking, Costa has pointed a way forward for all of us."—Tina Brown, Editor-in-Chief and Founder, The Daily Beast
"I am on the side of Rebecca Costa. Let us become realists-in-search-of-a-solution rather than doomsayers."—E. O. Wilson, Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner
"Problems eventually become too complicated for the average intelligence-in The Watchman's Rattle, Rebecca Costa depicts the challenges this presents."—Dr. James Watson, Nobel Laureate
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