Cristoph, Ed, Steve, Kevin with me teaching how to say hello in Pawnee.
I read a book that I found so profound that I thought I better share it with you. It is all about connectivity and the bright, even brilliant future so immediately at hand. The book is The New Rules for the New Economy by Kevin Kelly. Kevin is the editor-at-large and cofounder of Wired Magazine and is also the author of Out of Control. A longer review will follow in July when I feature The New Rules on the Buck’s menu and we will have it for sale here as well.
I called Penguin Putnam, the publisher, to open an account and to order my first two hundred books. They asked if Buck’s was a bookstore. I realized that Buck’s is indeed a bookstore and we generally carry one book at a time. Right now we are not featuring any books at all so we are, in fact, the smallest bookstore in the world. In July we make up for it by carrying Kevin’s book as well as two others by friends. Why books just by friends? Because I can.
The New Rules presents an absolutely riveting long view of where our information-saturated world is headed. Kevin has seen the future and the news is good. How big a deal is it? Well, in essence he says the world has been around for about 6 billion years. Single celled life forms showed up after 4 billion years. One billion years ago neurons allowed the development of multi-celled creatures and BOOM! 2,000 some days ago the world wide web came effectively on line. Reading this book expanded both my confidence and ability to dream big dreams about the future of humanity.
Kevin talks about swarms, hives, schools and how we humans share some of the same drifts. How do the birds in the sky, the ants in the earth and the fish in the sea communicate with such immediacy? How does the herd turn? Read these books and find out. You will never look at society in exactly the same way again.
A basic point in The New Rules is how we now have the opportunity to connect easily and immediately with people all over the world. So I thought hummm. I typed a search for Kevin Kelly and in less than 5 minutes I had sent him a note and we set up breakfast. Steve Jurvetson, powerhouse venture guy, joined us along with Ed Kahl, pal, intellectual and real estate typhoon. A reporter, Christopher Zurcher happened to be here from a business magazine from Switzerland called Cash and he sat in too. One of Kevin’s kids, a vivid three year old boy named Tywen was a treat to have with us as he stuffed flapjack one after another. We never once talked about start-ups, the stock market or home prices. We discussed projects like the 10,000 year clock and the texture and warp of emerging technologies.
One thing Kevin is doing is gathering billion dollar ideas. The thrust is that they are non-commercial, long-term endeavors with public benefit. One idea he is working on is to set up a national program to teach reading to as many prisoners as possible. Think about the ramifications of this concept.
Kevin is also conspiring with Stewart Brand, of Whole Earth renown, to catalogue all the creatures in the world. Not just DNA, but pictures of the plants and animals. A homepage for every species! All this to be put on durable discs for our progeny. These are the boot discs for life. It makes just another ecommerce site look a little chumpy, doesn’t it? These projects take quite a bit of do-re-me and Kevin is soliciting both billion-dollar ideas and would certainly welcome funding for those projects. Check out longnow.com
These projects are as much art as science and to me sound like a whole new thing, almost like music and in a way it is music. It’s music for the soul. Thinkers like Kevin, Stewart and others are keepers of our collective consciousness.
Big ideas and a fun breakfast. It doesn’t get any more interesting than this around here at Buck’s.
Don’t wait for me to stock these books. Just order them right off your computer.