Thursday, November 13, 2008

Really Close...

...but of course I've said that before.

More importantly, I've decided that this time, I really am close enough (I'm halfway through a "cosmetic" seventh draft polish that I think is where I'll leave MSL for now and move on to other writing projects. I'll make brief notes here about it's status, but leave it at that. I'll also comment briefly on publication progress (and possibly on sales) on Twitter at

I'm not leaving the "Mai Shangri-La" concept behind, though. Instead, I'm going to begin posting here some of the thoughts, beliefs and concerns that have driven this project for the past three years, along with the background reading and activities that have kept it alive.

Underlying everything about MSL is a concern for the state of the environment and a fear, which is growing rather than receding, that we've already passed a number of both environmental and social Tipping Points which mean that the Future is going to be about mitigating the effects of two centuries of excess and learning to cope with the results rather than preventing them.

My first posting along this line will be a commentary on Thomas Friedman's new book "Hot, Flat and Crowded". Friedman's "The World is Flat" figured prominently in the original draft of MSL in how it shaped Reuben James's thinking, and the striking thing for me is how fast and how radically Friedman's emphasis has changed from touting the benefits of a "flat earth" to explaining how the flat earth concept will still be a factor in a world which is Hotter and More Crowded.

Hot, Flat and Crowded. Thomas L. Friedman. Farrar, Strous & Giroux, 2008