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The Industries of the Future

4.5 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1476753652
ISBN-10: 1476753652
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Editorial Reviews


"In a world growing more chaotic, Alec Ross is one of those very rare people who can see patterns in the chaos and guidance for the road forward. He has an unusual diversity of expertise that allows him to apply multiple lenses to the world's challenges and dream up the kind of innovative solutions that are changing the world."
—Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google and author of The New Digital Age

“A fascinating vision of the future of industry. The Industries of the Future reads like a portable TED conference at which you have been seated next to the smartest guy in the room. The book is filled with glimpses of cutting-edge biotech research, statecraft, and entrepreneurship. Ross writes engagingly, and the book should be compelling whether you follow these fields closely or you still think of Honda as a car rather than a robotics company.”

"The next 20 years are going to be even faster-moving and more transformative than the 20 we just lived through. Predicting exactly what is going to happen is impossible. But thinking systematically and strategically, as Alec Ross does here, about robotics, genomics, and the codification of everything is absolutely critical. Anyone who wants to understand the key forces that are shaping our economic, political, and social futures will benefit hugely from Ross's insights."
—Reid Hoffman, Founder & Chairman, LinkedIn

“It will likely be one of 2016’s most talked about releases, and I predict will take its place alongside other classic tech-and-society books, like Tim Wu’s Master Switch and Jonathan Zittrain’s Future of the Internet. It’s that good. His writing reveals not just where industries are heading, but where entire societies may end up as a result. This is important reading. Ross takes on an enormous challenge of making sense of how new technology is changing the world, and does so incredibly well, by any standard.”

"This book is a must read for the rising generation and their concerned parents and educators. Alec Ross brings a far-reaching perspective to bear in illustrating the opportunities to be seized in our changing worldacross sectors and the globeand the kind of preparation that will be important to make the most of them."
—Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach For America and CEO of Teach For All

“A riveting and mind-bending book. If you want to know how to survive and thrive in the fast-paced world of today and how to anticipate the opportunities of tomorrow’s information age as well as how to solve big mysteries, this is a good place to start.”
—New York Journal of Books

"A lucid and informed guide, even on the most technical issues."
Financial Times

"A brilliant, captivating description of the profound changes that will be ushered in by advances in robotics, big data, and genomics – and of the implications of those developments for employment, wealth distribution, and global trade. Alec Ross combines an extraordinary understanding of future trends with an equally extraordinary ability to describe those trends and explain what they mean for the world in the decades ahead."
—General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus, Chairman, KKR Global Institute; former Commander of the Surge in Iraq and Director of the CIA

"The Industries of the Future is an engaging, clear-eyed look at the benefits and challenges of the coming wave of global innovation. Alec Ross, with his years of passionate work in the public and private sectors, is uniquely positioned to understand and explain where we’re coming from and where we’re going."
—Arianna Huffington

“How can we prepare our children—and ourselves—to succeed in a world of robotics, globalization, and digitally driven markets? In this valuable book, Alec Ross analyzes what it will take to survive and even thrive. The future is already hitting us, and Ross shows how it can be exciting rather than frightening.”
—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and The Innovators

“Well worth reading.... Mr. Ross does a good job of describing the advantages and disadvantages of the third wave, which is just beginning.”
Washington Times

“Asks big questions to help prepare us for the inevitable, and is an important read for everyone from businesspeople to parents to teachers.”

“Ross offers us an articulate, accessible and engaging blueprint for the prosperity of people everywhere.... Whether you are a business executive considering new investments and navigating emerging markets, or an advocate for human rights issues, this book is your guide to the geopolitical, cultural and technological contexts that will impact your work.”
—Global Daily

“A wide-ranging and smoothly written prospectus on the near future of innovation. It’s a whirlwind tour, incisively covering economics, politics, cyberwarfare, genomics, and the complexities of Big Data—among many other things—in language for the layperson interested in what tomorrow could bring.”

“This astute and enlightening book is generous with insight about what the future holds and how best to prepare for it.”
Publishers Weekly

"Discerning insights on approaching changes to our economic and social landscapes and solid advice on how we should navigate them."
Kirkus Reviews

“A very readable discussion of what the future might look like.... This book will have a large audience among general readers of business and technology titles and should also appeal to high school and college students, as well as anyone trying to prepare for the economy of the future.”
Library Journal

“This book is a worthy addition to the near-future canon.... Ross writes well on what he knows and, like an expensive consultant, he knows a lot about a lot.”
—Mob76 Outlook

“Ross expertly weaves stories from his travels into his projections for the future of innovation.... Ross’s book gives a thorough overview of the exciting developments ahead in healthcare, financial services, and technology. For anyone interested in a glimpse of the future, it’s a must-read.”
—Opportunity Lives

“Ross blends storytelling and economic analysis to give a vivid and informed perspective on how sweeping global trends are affecting the ways we live.... This is an essential book for understanding how the world works—now and tomorrow—and a must-read for businesspeople in every sector, from every country.”
—Stevo's Book Review on the Internet

“Excellent for those who are curious about what may happen in the future based on today’s innovations.”
—Sandbox Advisors

“A rigorous and revealing exploration of the industries that will drive the next 20 years of change to our economies and societies.”
—Blogging on Business

About the Author

Alec Ross is one of America’s leading experts on innovation. He served for four years as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a role that earned him a Distinguished Honor Award from the State Department. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and serves as an advisor to investors, corporations, and government leaders. Ross lives in Baltimore with his wife and their three young children.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476753652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476753652
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, the good. These are interesting topics. It's good to be reminded of how much has changed in the last couple of decades. This is a fun read with some interesting stories. If you read the newspaper, you will find nothing new here. But getting a 10,000 foot view of the world can be a useful way to orient yourself.

He also points out the troubling aspects of what he's highlighting, and at no point in the book does he come across as being way off base. His ideas about the future are probably as valid as any popular writers.

Next, the "needs improvement." The book is peppered with cringe-worthy throwaways about who the author has hobnobbed with. It's fine that he starts off in the introduction elaborating on all he's seen and done. But then he reminds us again and again that he knows important people. When I first started reading the book, I thought the author must be in his late 20's, and that might account for him coming across as insecure. But then I read his bio and saw that he is in his 40's. I'm not saying we don't all have moments of insecurity, but for a writer to wear his on his sleeve like this is terribly offputting. Who was the editor that let him embarrass himself like this?

If you are buying this book to answer the "how do we prepare our children for the future" question, don't bother. It's the same answers you've heard before. Raise them to be technologically literate and comfortable in a multicultural world.

In reading his biography, it's clear he's done a lot of good things and his heart is most likely in the right place. Not a lot of schmucks volunteer for Teach for America or try to help the disadvantaged. But his record speaks for itself, so why the self-aggrandizement?
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

“The Industries of the Future” is an informative and accessible book about the next economy and how this next wave of innovation will affect our societies. Leading expert on innovation and former Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Alec Ross, explores the industries that will drive the next 20 years of change. This 320-page insightful book includes the following six chapters: 1. Here Come the Robots, 2. The Future of the Human Machine, 3. The Code-ification of Money, Markets, and Trust, 4. The Weaponization of Code, 5. Data: The Raw Material of the Information Age, and 6. The Geography of Future Markets.

1. A well-researched, well-written book.
2. An interesting topic in the hands of a gifted author: the industries of the future that will transform our societies in the next 20 years.
3. A good format. The book includes six chapters each covering topics of interest such as: robotics, advanced life sciences, the code-ification of money, cybersecurity, and big data.
4. Factoids abound throughout this book. “About 70 percent of total robot sales take place in Japan, China, the United States, South Korea, and Germany—known as the “big five” in robotics.” “With 78 organs, 206 bones, and 640 muscles, not to mention up to 25,000 genes, our bodies are complicated machines.”
5. A fascinating look at robots and where there are more likely to emerge.
6. Concepts worth discussing, singularity. “Within the robotics community, the future of technology is wrapped up in the concept of singularity, the theoretical point in time when artificial intelligence will match or surpass human intelligence.”
7. Cool technology for the near future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well intentioned: author is perfectly qualified to talk about the subject, however there's not a lot of new information here. Grabbed a few things out of here, but mainly a bunch of examples already cited elsewhere. I was hoping for some possible solutions or speaking in definite terms. If you're already an avid and frequent reader on future tech (I.e. Robots, cybersecruity growth, etc) than there's not a lot new. I'd recommend checking out something like Bold or Raw Deal instead.
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The Industries of the Future, by former State Department Senior Advisor Alec Ross, is a compelling exploration of the conditions businesses and countries need to optimize in order to be successful in the decades to come. It borrows extensively from his time traveling the world in the federal government’s service, which means that his examples are unexpectedly diverse and shared in such a way that is only possible when the author has experienced something first-hand.

The ‘industries of the future’ in the context of this book are not familiar verticals such as healthcare, manufacturing, or financial services, but the shifting paradigms that will govern future business. As Ross states in the introduction, “This book is about the next economy. It is written for everyone who wants to know how the next wave of innovation and globalization will affect our countries, our societies, and ourselves” (p. 6-7). Competitiveness is a function of all three dimensions, and it assumes that connectivity (and therefore interdependence) will only increase in the future.

Advances in robotics play in important role throughout the book, and my only disappointment is that Ross confines his robotics discussions to traditional (mechanical) robots as opposed to including their newer software-based counterparts. While Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a relatively new service delivery model, and serves a different role for individuals and businesses than physical robots such as Honda’s ASIMO do, some of the human acceptance barriers seen in traditional robotics still apply. The need to lower costs and fulfill tactical service requirements drive robotics innovation and interest, but people continue to have trouble ‘bonding’ with these automated support systems.
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