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Felipe Simmel
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Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
von Tim Brown
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 17,95

7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Innovation and Change, 16. November 2009
'"Change by Design"' is the attempt of IDEO''s CEO Tim Brown to inspire people employing designers' analytical tools to master diverse challenges in life (i.e. to model, streamline, and experiment). This methodology, Brown terms 'design thinking', in other words, should be applied as solution concept not only to industrial design, but business in general as well as to political and societal issues. Brown maintains the approach of design thinking is superior to other problem solving strategies since it explicitly incorporates the human dimension '-- more precisely: starts from the human being ' and takes advantage of creativity in a channeled fashion. The latter ensures that the solution finding or designing process itself does not become endless and leads to concrete results. To illustrate his points, Brown draws from his own personal experience, from the successful business operations of IDEO, as well as from the example of unique design thinkers like Leonardo Da Vinci (to name one).

Despite explaining the notion of design thinking, Brown indirectly highlights another point: He criticizes the recent tendency of business people to think in fixed models without taking reality into account. Moreover, Brown advocates that a successful company could only stay so, if it leaves the classical notion of workforce as well as the separation between company and customer behind. In short, for the author it is mandatory to achieve an integrated vision of business, society, and politics, which empowers human beings and develop their unique abilities and capabilities.

As already indicated, Brown''s '"Change by Design'" has a inspirational and engaging tone to it and demonstrates that there is more 'out there' than conventional business methodology to solve problems. However, the backside of Brown's reasoning is that the prerequisites for employing design thinking are quite high and run counterintuitive to conventional wisdom: It requires management to let lose of its control function and become the facilitator. In other words, it requires business leaders to turn the hierarchy pyramid upside down in order to allow for the next step into a successful future.

To evaluate inspirational works like '"Change by Design"' is always a bit difficult since they are only grounded in part in reality and their value is very difficult to grasp in advance. On the other hand, these utopias are very important for our personal as well as societal development. They provide us with new ideas of how things could be done differently and ' hopefully ' better. Henceforth, I would definitely recommend Brown's work for reading as what it is: an inspirational work and food for thought. Nonetheless, I would have found it much more satisfying if Brown would have elaborated a bit more on his methodology and provided more concrete examples instead of the general success stories of IDEO. Thus, I award Tim Brown's 'Change by Design' with four, albeit well deserved four stars.


The Secret Royal Martial Arts of Ryukyu
The Secret Royal Martial Arts of Ryukyu
von Kanenori S Matsuo
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 20,00

4.0 von 5 Sternen Secret Karate & Kobudo of Okinawa, 9. November 2009
'"The Secret Royal Martial Arts of Ryukyu"' by Matuso Sakon is one of the few monographies available on Motobu Uduni, the secret karate and kobujutsu of the royal family of the Okinawan kingdom. Henceforth, the author puts a lot of effort in giving an all-encompassing overview of the history, lineage, and techniques ' unarmed and armed ' of this secret style.

Especially, the aspect of armed combat might come as a surprise since most students of karate have certainly learned that in historical Okinawa harshly enforced laws prohibited the use of weapons and led to the development of unarmed combat systems termed karate. Moreover, the author also illustrates in text and picture that Motobu Udundi was strongly influenced by weapon techniques similar to aikiken or iaijutsu as well as by Chinese armed combat techniques and incorporated them into its curriculum. But also the illustrations of grappling as well as joint lock techniques similar to aikido might provide extensive food for thought; especially if one considers karate to be a combat system consisting only of striking and kicking techniques.

In sum, I would highly recommend "The Secret Royal Martial Arts of Ryukyu'" for reading ' not only for karateka, but also practitioners of other martial arts styles like aikido or iaido. Moreover, Matuso Sakon's book is further interesting for researchers of the history of karate. Nonetheless, a certain care concerning the accuracy of given information is definitely recommended as in all works on karate.

In terms of presentation, however, there are two major points for criticism: First, the layout of the book certainly needs some additional editing. It would improve its readability as well as the quality of its look and feel. Second, unfortunately the given pictures are of low quality. This makes discerning some the technical details very difficult if not impossible. Maybe the author decides in future to publish a second edition of his work with improved layout and pictures. This would definitely be a gain.

Nonetheless, given the uniqueness as well as richness of the provided information "The Secret Royal Martial Arts of Ryukyu'" deserves 4 stars.


Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques
Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques
von Mark Bishop
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,30

5.0 von 5 Sternen An encyclopedia of karate .., 23. September 2009
If one has to characterize Bishop's 'Okinawan Karate', it is best described as encyclopedia of karate. This is because Bishop not only aims for a description of the different branches, but also--successfully--establishes a genealogy of karate, which takes the interrelations of styles, its particularities as well as its representatives into consideration. Moreover, Bishop's endeavor is not only based on hearsay and citation; its special value comes from the empirical research and interviews conducted by the author on Okinawa. Henceforth, Bishop's work can certainly claim special authenticity.

This, however, is not the only value of Bishop's book. It is also the latitude as well as depth of information provided by the author. This makes this work a good starting point for further research into the history of karate--or, which is equally important, supports the practitioner of karate to find the most adequate style for himself. For instance, Bishops nicely demonstrates that karate does not only consists of kicks, strikes, or punches, as most people might believe; it has also incorporated a vast array of joint locks, throws, and other techniques of grappling. This certainly helps to understand that karate in its traditional form is an all-encompassing fighting art.

Moreover, Bishop's work is not only interested in its presentation of technicalities. He also provides portraits of the different teachers of karate and their unique characteristics. This is important--at least, I believe so--to understand and feel the essence of different styles and approaches to karate. In short, it gives additional life to Bishop's treatise.

In sum, I would highly recommend Bishop's publication to all practitioners of karate or readers, who seek an all-encompassing introduction to karate. Moreover, 'Okinawan Karate' further deserves 5 stars for the quality of the empirical research conducted by Bishop. A definitive must-have.


Classical Bujutsu (Martial Arts and Ways of Japan, V. 1.)
Classical Bujutsu (Martial Arts and Ways of Japan, V. 1.)
von Donn F. Draeger
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 16,70

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Introduction to the Classical Bujutsu of Japan, 20. September 2008
Donn Draeger's 'Classical Bujutsu' is the first book in a three-work series on the martial arts and ways of Japan. As the title already suggests, Draeger describes in this work the creation and evolution of the arts of war in Japan. In other words, he presents to us the various fighting disciplines of the samurai in word as well as in various illustrations -- ranging from swordsmanship to weaponless fighting systems like jujutsu.

Nonetheless, this book is not a technical handbook. Rather it provides the reader with information on the social as well as political background and philosophies of the classical martial arts. Draeger's primary aim is to give us a better feel for the classical fighting systems and thereby provide us with a sense for the differences between the bujutsu and today's budo. According to Draeger, the diverse forms of bujutsu are primarily concerned with the preservation of a political group as well as killing efficiency. The budo instead aims for the individual spiritual growth; technical efficiency is only a secondary goal and rather a vehicle for inner growth.

This book is worth reading by every serious martial artist and student of its history. It provides the reader '-- as already stated -- with a fair overview on the different bujutsu forms and its historical background. Moreover, Draeger's observations and conclusions gain special credibility, since he trained in some forms of bujutsu himself. And finally, the book contains several illustrations taken from historical sources that give the reader a better understanding about the issues discussed in the text. Thus, given the overall exemplary quality, I would definitely recommend this book (as well as the other works of this series) and give it 5 stars.


Classical Budo (Martial Arts & Ways of Japan Series: Vol.)
Classical Budo (Martial Arts & Ways of Japan Series: Vol.)
von Donn F. Draeger
  Taschenbuch

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5.0 von 5 Sternen From Bujutsu to Classical Budo, 19. September 2008
'"Classical Budo"' is the second work out of three, in which Donn F. Draeger describes the Japanese martial arts and ways. While Draeger focused in the first book titled '"Classical Bujutsu"' on the creation and spread of Japan's diverse arts of war, he describes here the transformation from the bujutsu systems towards the realm of classical budo, the more spiritual-oriented version of martial arts. As Draeger maintains that the transformatory process was not so much a consequence of societal changes, but rather due to deliberate attempts of the shogunate to pacify Japan's warrior caste during the Edo period: During the unification process of the Japanese political leadership, the education and use of warriors executing effective martial arts was paramount and wished for. However, with the end of this process, the great numbers of very capable martial artists became an internal thread to the newly established shogunate. Henceforth, it was necessary to divert the energies of the 'bushi' (Japanese for warrior) into other productive realms. On the other hand, it was still necessary that these warriors kept their deadly edge -- in case the defense of the shogunate against foreign or internal forces was required. The solution to this dilemma was, as Draeger argues, the realignment of the ultimate goal of martial arts from the efficient technical skills towards the spiritual aim of self-perfection. This change, however, was not only of philosophical nature; it had significant impact on the technical aspects of the martial arts and in some instances reduced the efficiency radically. Draeger illustrates this by referring to the creational process of Kendo, Iaido, and classical Judo.

While Draeger's series on the marital arts and ways of Japan was firstly published in the 1970s, it is still quite recent and gains special credibility, since Draeger was training in diverse martial arts ranging from the bujutsu to modern budo like karate. The biggest achievement of this work in my opinion is that he describes the intermediate step in the transformation from bujutsu to budo in its various dimensions. This issues is unfortunately missing in a lot of books on the Japanese martial arts -- and wrongly so. Since having a complete understanding of this evolutionary step is necessary to better grasp of modern budo, its origins and its future developments. Thus, Draeger's book is highly recommended (as well as the other works in this series) and deserves 5 stars.


Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground
Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground
von Robert D. Kaplan
  Gebundene Ausgabe

4.0 von 5 Sternen The American Empire from the Grunt's Perspective, 9. April 2006
"Imperial Grunts" is the literary product of recent journeys of Robert Kaplan into contemporary realities of the post-9/11 world. As the title of his work already suggests the overarching theme is the new imperial order established by recent US military interventions. Thus, Kaplan already takes for granted what is still debated in academic circles. Nonetheless, the main focus is not on the general structure of American Empire, nor on the policy elites in Washington; Kaplan is more interested in the basic realities of creating and maintaining the imperial order. He tells the stories and reflects on the experiences of US military personnel on the ground: the grunts.
These grunts however are not the regular military personnel as one might think of when hearing the term 'grunt'. Kaplan travels with US Army Special Forces and US Marines. In other words, he gives account of the elite warriors of US armed forces; and this according to Kaplan is one distinctive features of the recent imperial order. For him, imperial order could not be created and sustained by regular military, which was structured along the requirements of Cold War. An empire could only exist when the "hearts and minds" of local communities are won over by a mix of humanitarian and military measures-this being a second feature of imperial order.
Although Kaplan's tone is sympathetic to the idea of empire, he does not fail to reveal the inner contradictions of recent imperial order: while in some cases the application of discriminated violence is necessary to establish order (for instance, in Columbia or Afghanistan), civilian leadership in Washington fails to allow for the required measures. The fear of possible US casualties is paralyzing policy elites, although grunts themselves are willing to take all the risks involving their assignments. On the other hand, political leadership fails grasping the subtleties of imperial order. It orders large-scale military engagements without taking mid- and long-term consequences into account, while soldiers on the ground immediately grasp the futility of these measures. Iraq is one example here.
Who should read this book? I would recommend it to everybody who is interested in recent international affairs and seeks a more precise understanding of political realities on the ground. However, one should not expect to find a comprehensive analysis of the concept of empire. Kaplan borrows his notion of imperial order from Roman history, which in my opinion is undermining the effectiveness of his endeavor. It would have given his work more structure and provided more insights for the reader, if he had discussed the difference between the Roman Empire and the recent American Empire before giving an account of the daily lives of US military personnel. To be fair, it should be mentioned that Kaplan plans for writing further books on recent imperial order; so the missing analysis might follow. This criticism however should not belittle the work of Kaplan. His worm-eye-level approach gives us important information of the contradictions of global empire that could not be discovered by just discussing abstract concepts. Thus, I rate this book 4 stars.


The 33 Strategies of War
The 33 Strategies of War
von Robert Greene
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 18,80

10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Master the Art of Strategy, 5. April 2006
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The 33 Strategies of War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
"The 33 Strategies of War" is Robert Greene's latest publication on power play and should be seen as extension to his preceding books on power and seduction. In particular, Greene intends to introduce the reader to the art of strategy. He, however, does not stop there: instead of trying to find another definition of what strategy exactly is, he is interested in the application of particular strategies in all kinds of social situations--ranging from personal relationships to all-out war. In other words, he gives a vivid illustration of the art of strategy. And this approach makes Greene's book attractive and seductive.
In his typical style, Greene first provides a concept of a particular strategy, then illustrates it by referring to historical events, and finally gives an analysis of methods of application. In other words, the reader is not bored by abstract conceptualizations and then left on his own; due to the historical examples one will gain an immediate feeling for and understanding of the discussed strategies. "The 33 Strategies of War" is thus a very useful introduction for beginners of strategy.
Nonetheless, this does not imply that more advanced students of strategy should omit this work and rather refer to original writings like Sun Tzu's "Art of War" or Clausewitz' "On War". "33 Strategies of War" is a useful addition to them (especially to Asian works on strategy) because Greene's expertise in Classics allows him to transcend cultural barriers that often obstruct the understanding of particular concepts of strategy. Thus, the essence of each strategy is revealed, which makes the application in every social context much easier.
Despite the given reasons to have this book, there is also an artistic one: as in the previous works of Greene the arrangement of the texts is beautifully crafted, which improves the readability and satisfies aesthetical demands.
In sum, Greene's "The 33 Strategies of War" rightfully deserves five stars--despite minor errors concerning historical examples. For instance, Napoleon quite well knew Sun Tzu's "Art of War". Thus, maneuver warfare was not independently invented by Napoleon as Greene suggests. However, this is only a minor issue, and it is not lowering the overall quality of Greene's third work.


Generation Kill
Generation Kill
von Evan Wright
  Gebundene Ausgabe

15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen War from the Soldier's Eyes Perspective, 19. Juli 2004
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Generation Kill (Gebundene Ausgabe)
War like love is one of human endeavors that never ceased to exist. Nonetheless, despite the long history of warfare, misunderstandings about the nature of war still persist: Often it is characterized as heroic enterprise, which forms the best of a generation. Other accounts assume the opposite: Human beings are turned into beasts of war that lost their humanity over the atrocities they witness. Evan Wright shows in "Generation Kill" (as many war reporters before him) that the reality of war is much more nuanced and complicated.
Wright accompanied the Marines of the First Reconnaissance Battalion as embedded reporter during the invasion of Iraq. His first-person account provides a minute-by-minute report of success, mishaps, and personal stories that surround the members of First Recon. He demonstrates that soldiers are not killing machines - though killing is their profession -, but still human beings that show different reaction to the stress of battle: Some behave heroic without intending it; some want to be heroes, but act savagely and irresponsible; others are just enjoying the thrill of combat or deal with their moral qualms over invading Iraq.
Despite his focus on personal observation on the characters and psychologies, Wrights second topic is on the reality of modern, asymmetric warfare and the inability of the West to adequately meet its challenges. Rules once learned by soldiers like the distinction between combatants and civilians or the immunity of civilians do not apply anymore - and the respect for them disintegrates increasingly. But it is not only the normative rules of warfare that seem to have changed: The modern battlefield is in a permanent flux, and military leaders have increasingly difficulties to understand the dynamics and adjust their strategies accordingly. Following Wrights descriptions, it seems that war returned (despite the use of modern technology) to the savage practices that had been commonplace before modernity.
I would highly recommend "Generation Kill" to everybody - and not just students of international relations. Like Mark Bowden in "Black Hawk Down" before, Wright let us experience war from the soldier's eyes perspective and thus gives a gruesome picture of what war is like; by just reading theories and philosophies of war and peace, we do not get such impressions and tend, thus, to easily misjudge the costs and benefits of war. Wright's account reminds us that sending soldiers to a foreign country should always be the last resort and that military power neither truly liberates people nor can be the only base for nation building.


Links
Links
von Nuruddin Farah
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 19,06

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The hell Mogadishu became �, 13. Juli 2004
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Links (Gebundene Ausgabe)
"Links" is the latest novel of Nuruddin Farah. As some of his previous works, the plot is situated in Somalia - specifically in the civil war ridden Mogadishu some time after the UN and US intervention in 1992 / 93. The novel tells the story of the exile Somali Jeelbleh, who leaves temporarily New York and with it his Western-influenced life attending some unfinished business in Mogadishu: finding the grave of his recently deceased mother, meeting old friends, recover two lost children, and revenge the wrong that was done to him before the civil war. However, while fulfilling most of these tasks should not prove difficult, it becomes for Jeelbleh. Clan politics immediately enter his life upon arrival and complicate matters. He has to realize that his now Western ways can achieve little and rather alienate people. The only option left for Jeelbleh, thus, is to balance his Western and Somali identity, violate social norms where permissible and follow them where necessary.
Farah's "Links" is rather intriguing. Although a novel, after reading some pages one forgets about this and feels that he describes the life of actual persons facing the difficulties of contemporary Somalia; i.e. how clan politics govern every aspect of life and easily draw outsiders, Somali or non-Somali, into its violent and lethal logic. In some way, one could argue that Farah starts telling his story where Mark Bowden's "Black Hawk Down" ended. Actually, Farah makes explicit references to these events (and the book) and tries establishing an understanding for the physical and psychological wounds they caused to the Somali collective identity - or more precisely, the remains of such. However, this does not mean that the novel's characters (or Farah) simply place blame for all evils on the West or, in particular, on Operation Ranger. The causes are much more complicated as the complicity of all involved is, which Farah demonstrates impressively.
In my opinion, "Links" is an extraordinary piece of literature. This is not only because of Farah's prose. He is very skilled in giving the reader a feeling what the social realities in Somalia feel like. Nonfiction books can and do not achieve this. For this reason, I would recommend "Links" as addition to nonfiction on Somalia. Nonetheless, on has to exercise caution in this case, since it is not about real events, only the historical background is.


Secret Soldiers: Special Forces in the War Against Terrorism (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
Secret Soldiers: Special Forces in the War Against Terrorism (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
von Peter Harclerode
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen Geschichte der Terrorbekämpfung, 10. Juli 2004
Peter Harclerodes "Secret Soldiers" ist eine detaillierte Geschichte der weltweiten Bekämpfung des Terrorismus zwischen den 60er und 90er Jahren. Im Mittelpunkt der Darstellung stehen dabei nicht nur die verschiedenen Antiterror-Kommandoeinheiten - wie die britische SAS, die deutsche GSG-9 und die amerikanische Delta Force -, deren Gründungsgeschichten und verdeckten Missionen; Harclerode zeichnet ebenso die Entwicklungen des modernen Terrorismus, seine Ursachen und Agenden nach. Von besonderem Interesse für den Autor scheinen dabei das komplexe Zusammenspiel zwischen terroristischer Gewalt und die staatlichen, meist militärischen Reaktionen zu sein. Er verhehlt dabei nicht, dass die Auseinandersetzungen oftmals durch Grausamkeiten beider Seiten geprägt waren. Besonders nachhaltig illustriert er dies am Konfliktherd Nordirland: Zeitweise artete die Terrorbekämpfung in persönliche Vergeltungsmaßnahmen aus, die in ihrer Gewalttätigkeit nicht den Aktionen der IRA nachstanden (Dies mag u. a. erklären, wieso der Friedensprozess derart kompliziert und langwierig ist).
Harclerode gelingt auch in diesem Buch die delikate Balance zwischen Detailfülle und Verortung der Geschehnisse in größeren politischen Rahmen. Besonders gelungen ist dabei das Herausarbeiten der wechselseitigen Dynamik von Terror und staatlichen Gegenterror. Dies wirft die moralischen Fragen nach der Vertretbarkeit und dem Umfang von Terrorismusbekämpfung auf - ein durchaus aktuelles Thema. Harclerode bleibt hierzu jedoch Antworten schuldig. Allerdings ist das Fehlen jeglichen Moralisierens auch von Vorteil; der Leser ist gezwungen, sich selbst ein Urteil nach Abwägen der Fakten zu bilden.
Wünschenswert wären jedoch an Haclerodes Buch zwei Dinge: ein Untergliederung der Kapitel zwecks besserer Übersicht und eine abschließende politikwissenschaftliche Analyse. Letzteres ist nicht nur unter Berücksichtigung des gegenwärtigen "Krieges gegen den Terror" von Interesse, sondern auch deshalb, da es zu diesem Themenkomplex nur wenige ernsthafte Analysen gibt. Harclerode wäre eine solche Beurteilung aufgrund seines Fachwissens durchaus zuzutrauen.
Trotz der genannten Abstriche ist "Secret Soldiers" zu empfehlen. Nur wenige Publikationen zu diesem Thema sind derart umfassend und sachlich. Vier Sterne erscheinen mir angemessen.


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