Critical Path
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Critical Path

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  575 ratings  ·  47 reviews
R. Buckminster Fuller is regarded as one of the most important figures of the 20th century, renowned for his achievements as an inventor, designer, architect, philosopher, mathematician, and dogged individualist. Perhaps best remembered for the Geodesic Dome and the term "Spaceship Earth," his work and his writings have had a profound impact on modern life and thought.

Hardcover, 471 pages
Published March 1st 1981 by St Martins Pr (first published 1981)
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May 22, 2010 Andrea is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
The man is brilliant, he is blowing my mind. I'm in totally over my head with this book. I haven't the faintest idea what he is talking about half the time, however I'm trying to stretch and understand, even if just a little. He included the most amazing poem in the introduction written by e e cummings.
Jul 05, 2010 Sally marked it as to-read-library-has  ·  review of another edition
Haven't had a desire to seek out this author - despite the coolness of the Buckyball. But then I read this quote by him today: "All children are born geniuses, and we spend the first six years of their lives degeniusing them." Food for thought, certainly. This book is like the capstone of his writing, and the library has it, so a good place to start.
After 20 years, I finally managed to finish this book. It's a difficult book to stick with and in it Bucky truly presented some unique and original ideas on the history of civilization, wealth, government and ecology and he was definitely well ahead of his time. I wonder what he would think of the past 30 years since this book was written if he were still around with the recent economic meltdown, the rise of a limited free market China, the demise of the Soviet Union, and the explosion of extrem...more
this was the most depressing book i have ever read. it is so full of so many amazing ideas that would greatly enhance human life and repair so much of what humans have done to their environment, pretty much everything in this book makes perfect sense. the depressing part you ask? this book was written 30 years ago and virtually none of these ideas are being used and i fear they never will be.
R. Buckminster Fuller published this, his last major work, in 1981. This book provides a general overview of his life, and collects together his writings about a number of projects that helped bring his work to prominence, including his geodesic domes, his World Game exercises, as well as covering various aspects of world history and social organization and development. Written in a unique voice that is sometimes difficult to follow, this book is worth it just for insight into his biggest and mo...more
I had a mixed reaction to this book. A few chapters were fascinating and provided me new perspectives on the world, but most were rambling and incomprehensible (to me at least). My main takeaway is that R Buckminster Fuller was a really smart guy, but didn't put much effort into making his ideas accessible to others.
Dickson Lai
A master piece. Never miss this and must read as a group.
Max Nova
Oh Buckminster. You are a character. This has got to be one of the densest, most made-up-word-filled, self-aggrandizing, and brilliant books I have ever read. Instead of trying to summarize the approximately 3-bajillion things Fuller talks about, it's better if I just describe his unique perspective. Born in like 1895, he dropped out of Harvard (before it was cool) and basically devoted his life to trying to make things better for humanity through a "design-engineering revolution". His central t...more
Sep 14, 2007 Partha rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: this book just broadens one's horizons
Buckminster Fuller was one of the greatest inventor,architect, designer and Philosopher United States of America ever had..

Fuller's deep insight and understanding into varied subjects ranging from astronomy to physics to zen philosopy has helped him weave a beautiful story on the history of time and evolution..

He corrobarates the theory that our ancient Indian civilization consisting of traders who traveled in ships to other shores for business had indeed actually prior knowledge of mathematics,...more
Buckminster Fuller is most definitely a visionary thinker, well before his time. I love his awareness of inventions in relation to time. He has a very engineering centric historical view of the world.

His writing is often over-omni-adjective-heavy-made-up-word-what-the-heck-is-he-talking-about.

I feel like the book could have been about 1/3 the length and had all of the information. My critique here is mainly of the writing, not the ideas presented therein, which I found to be extremely interestin...more
Paul Bond
Buckminster Fuller was far-sighted, literally. He had no problem discerning objects at a distance, but had trouble seeing up close. His books, capped by CRITICAL PATH, mirror this strength and weakness. Bucky is undoubtedly right that the best future is one approached through rigorous application of critical design principles. But, given the society around us, how do we bring those principles into currency? Ultimately, Fuller's path to progress doesn't seem to lead through human nature or instit...more
Larry Rinaldi
Refreshing, Enlightening, and Clarifying.
Eric Phetteplace
I agree with Fuller's basic, all-one-humanity paradigm and like his crazy stylistic ticks (including using the prefix omni a whole lot) but there were a ton of wholes in this book and a lot of arguments which were cool the first time get repeated over and over. Perhaps a bit too starry-eyed optimist. There's a reason why most of his designs never made it, and it's because a "design revolution" doesn't automatically get produced just because it's better, the production authorities have to finance...more
D.C. Musgrove
Buckminster Fuller is an ecclectic genius who wrote a number of books, but in my opinion, none so seminal a work as Critical Path. It used to be a textbook and required reading at college level. Anyone would benefit from Fuller's research and recounting of the origins of commerce, trade and even city-states that grew up along ancient trade routes. How early inventions, one built upon the next, led to a steady path forward for civilization is a fascinating review of human history in the making.
The author of this book is a genius but finds it difficult to express ideas in a simple manner. It is an inspiring work that examines why there is such a disparity between the haves and have nots of the world, and what can be done so that everyone lives at an adequate standard of living. Bucky practiced many disciplines in his long lifetime, and this book shows that the information age is a good place to take advantage of our information wealth. Difficult reading, but very worthwhile.
Alan Hoffman
All of his fascinating ideas and inventions might not have worked, but he seems always to be heading in the right direction, so focused on mixing the practical and the big picture .

Sting, in his album Nothing like the Sun, recommends the opening of this book in his liner notes, for its short take on people's motivations in history.

He does, however have an idiosyncratic way of sometimes stringing words and phrases together.
This is a mind opening and neural pathway creating book. It is futuristic and scientifically based and has incredible optimism on energy and how much we have and have not even begun to to tap. It is a very enlightening and I believe true account of history.
I am only a quarter of the way through but love it.
Now more than halfway but still impressing me with a future vision that leads toward stability and sustainability for all of humanity.
Bucky Fullers writing style is painful at times. Even reading a few pages can force you to put down any of his books and give serious thoughts to his ideas. Critical path is a summary of how each person can change his/her immediate reality and in fold force change within the world. This mans ideas should be serious studied by all. Even if you do not agree you are bound to walk away smarter for the deliberation.
Andrew Bourne
What an odd man. What a hopeless utopian, but what a trailblazer, what a mind! If the way he writes, his diction, syntax, and neologisms, not to mention content are what they are, and they certainly are aren't they, then we are dealing with someone who is profoundly disassociated from the majority. I don't see how he could have tied his shoes, or hold a conversation!

Plain Bizarre. Zween Bizef!
Brilliant but has no intuitional concept of humans. Some of his concepts are original and useful, but some of them are unconscious and horrific products of White Male Privilege written at a time when that privilege went almost completely without self or other Criticism. Ironic for a book called Critical Path.
Buckminster Fuller's has written a timeless roadmap for our time. His perceptions of society, greed and natural resources grow increasingly important as the world marches further down it's Critical Path. Fortunately, Bucky presents some plausible solutions if we can put them into action.
Paul Lux
Bucky is very intellectual and not always easy to understand. He has a language of his own, and a uniquely subtle sense of humor. once you get the hang of him, you will have a lot of fun. this book is quite readable and of all his works, is probably the most recommended for that reason.
A lot to chew on here. I first read this book as a student in 1981 or ‘82 and it did shape my thoughts on Governmental and Social Power Structures. Easier to read this volume than to sit through one of Mr. Buckminster Fullers long-winded Lectures (as I did...)!
Tim Jaeger
Overall, not bad...great to get inside this guy's mind for a how he came to the logical conclusion that because he had a failed business where he lost his friends' / investors' money he should dedicate his life to the service of humanity (i'm paraphrasing).
Buckminster Fuller's ideas, written in his strange, science-fictiony way of writing. You will feel like your reading a novel from the 1970's.

This guy has influenced a lot of artists, and has some good ideas about housing/architecture.
David Schilling
Opens up a new way of viewing the world. A scientific approach to living more rationally and humanely and in tune with the laws of nature. Cool words by the dozens like "livingry", etc. A true pioneer of the environmental movement.
If ever you read just one of Bucky's works, this would be it. 1) it doesn't weigh in at 140,000 pages like the Chronofile, 2) It is a complete work, unlike Synergetics, and 3) It will not depress you like Grunch of Giants.
André Spiegel
This book struck me like lightning. I wrote a summary of Fuller's line of reasoning in my blog: Energy - The Real Thing and the Substitutes
"The Dymaxion world map shows one world island in one world ocean with no breaks in the continental contours and with no visible distortion of the relative size or shape of any of the cartographic patterning."

The world needs more people like Buckminster Fuller. Many of his ideas were out there, but why not push the envelope? I think of "obnoxico" everytime I walk into a department store.
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“All the present bureaucracies of political governments, great religious organizations, and all big businesses find that physical success for all humanity would be devastating to the perpetuation of their ongoing activities. This is because all of them are founded on the premise of ameliorating individual cases while generally exploiting on behalf of their respective political, religious, or business organizations the condition of no-where-nearly-enough-life-support-for-all and its resultant great human suffering and discontent.” 3 likes
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