Rob McConnell Interviews – JOEL GARREAU – Radical Evolution

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Joel Garreau is a student of culture, values, and change. Most recently he is the author of Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies, and What It Means to Be Human, published in 2005 by Doubleday. Joel’s latest book takes an unprecedented, sometimes alarming, always spellbinding look at the hinge in history at which we have arrived. For hundreds of millennia, our technologies have been aimed outward at altering our environment in the fashion of fire, agriculture, or space travel. Now, for the first time, we are increasingly aiming inward at modifying our minds, memories, metabolisms, personalities, progeny and possibly our immortal souls. Radical Evolution is about altering human nature — not in some distant tomorrow, but right now, on our watch. Joel’s reputation as an astute interpreter of culture and values was launched with the 1981 publication of The Nine Nations of North America, a book that describes how the continent behaves not so much like 50 states or three countries, but nine separate and powerful civilizations or economies that pay scant attention to political boundaries in the course of forging their own destinies. Nine Nations won critical acclaim and has been embraced by readers, marketers, political operatives and academics, putting Joel on the short list of the world’s most prominent cultural demographers. Ten years later, Joel focused on who we are through the prism of the modern metropolis we are building in Edge City: Life on the New Frontier. In what was termed “groundbreaking” work by The New York Times, Joel points out that we are building the biggest change in 150 years in how we live, work, play, pray, shop, and die. The cities of the 21st century are not the 19th century versions like downtown Chicago or Philadelphia. Rather, they are the more than 180 enormous new centers of commerce that have sprung up in the last 30 years — places like Silicon Valley in California and the Route 128 corridor outside Boston, places shaped by the automobile, the jet passenger plane, and the networked computer. A long-time reporter and editor at The Washington Post, Joel is now principal of The Garreau Group, the network of his best sources committed to understanding who we are, how we got that way, and where we’re headed, worldwide. He is a fellow at The New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., and is Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University. He has served as a fellow at Cambridge University, the University of California at Berkeley and George Mason University, is an affiliate of The Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Oxford, and is a Science Journalism Laureate at Purdue. He is a member of Global Business Network, the pioneering scenario-planning organization, and is the troll of a small forest in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. –

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