Book Review: The Seventh Sense by Joshua Cooper Ramo

31 Jan 2017

Book Review: The Seventh Sense by Joshua Cooper Ramo

Joshua Ramo believes that we are in a new revolutionary era where surprising election results, refugee waves, war against terrorists that produces more terrorists, domestic politics turning into extremism, new billion-dollar fortunes all have the same cause: networks.

And by understanding how they work, we can begin to shape this age, instead of ‘being used by it.’

At the turn of the last century the German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche suggested that humans needed a sixth sense to survive the changes of the world at the time of the Industrial Revolution. Ramos says that the seventh sense is for a new era of constant connection and the world of networks that surround everything. ’Ever faster, smarter connections that are transforming our lives.’ This is a world that is both exciting as it is unsettling.

One of the first things we need to understand is that we aren’t living in a ‘normal manner’…

Ramos agrees that human habits change faster than instincts and that we have all the habits of the new era – mobiles, emails, computers to name a few.  Now we need the instincts.

He says that one of the first things that we need to understand is that we aren’t living in a ‘normal manner’ – just as the Age of Enlightenment and Age of Reason changed institutions in Europe. A world where we are connected all the time represents a profound shift.

The Seventh Sense examines the historic force now unsettling our world–and explains how our leaders, our businesses, and each of us can master it. The book takes us on a journey of how networks operate – activists, diplomats and terrorists all use the network power to build or destroy.

Some people have the instincts to use the hidden network power. He gives an example we will all recognise – ‘an entrepreneur with the seventh sense looks at a spare bedroom and sees the possibility of a network to unseat hotels.’

A new discipline – ‘network science’ provides a framework for thinking.  It shows how diverse systems such as Facebook and the human brain follow similar patterns. The lessons teach us where power sits in the networks and how it might be used. How we might apply it to the questions that worry us most. The secret is to understand our new age of networks–not only the Internet but also networks of trade and DNA and finance.

Based on his years of advising generals, CEOs, and politicians, Ramo leads the reader into the  heart of our world’s rapidly connected systems and teaches us what the victors of this age know–and what the losers are not yet seeing.

The Seventh Sense won’t just change the way you see the world. It will also give you the power to change it.