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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 25, 2012
As an avid reader, I thought many chapters of this book stated facts, ideas, and deductions that have been told and maybe even retold in other publications and best sellers. To me this book was quite redundant.

The book has 20 chapters and each chapter is written by a different writer associated with the Economist magazine.

For many chapters, the title was more noteworthy than the content. For example, in a chapter titled "The exponential future", the author basically restates the title. The future technology will grow exponentially and it will have profound (only couple of vague examples given) impact on the future. In another chapter lableled "The Asian century", the author states that China's rising population and economy will make a substantial impact on the global economy and the Asian economy as a whole. Oh really? So where is the deeper analysis and imagination?

If you have never read a book about the future trends (probably majority), then the contents in this book will be very noteworthy. I meet way too many Americans who are still stuck with "America is #1" mentality when America is quickly losing its edge in practically everything. For example, as this book states, did you know that America's life expectancy is not even top 30 in the world? The book also highlights that America's wealth doesn't coincide with its quality of life, which is low by OECD standards. Yes, Americans live way better than countries like North Korea, but its quality of life pales in comparison to many wealthier nations. The future doesn't look that much brighter either. It hurts me that America is losing its competitive and quality-of-life edge and it is frustrating to see how little of this is known by the general American public.

I recommend this book to the general population. I recommend it far less to those who are already familiar with much of the problems and advancements facing America and the world today how they might impact the future.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This anthology's essays forecast future developments in areas from social media to religion. Daniel Franklin, executive editor and business affairs editor of The Economist, and John Andrews, a writer for the magazine for 30 years, compiled and edited this volume. Since all 20 writers contribute to The Economist, they share a lucid style and a generally aligned conceptual framework. No one can promise accurate predictions, but these reporters share deeply informed insights about forces that will affect the world by 2050. The result is a useful, intriguing mosaic of the near future. The writers clearly explain complex concepts as their shared references let one essay build synergistically on the next. Readers who already know the contents of one essay will turn the page to remark on how startling the next one is. getAbstract recommends this collection to futurists, long-term planners, and readers interested in social analysis and forecasting.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2012
This is a quote directly from "Megachange, the world in 2050". Another future babble book in the same vain as "Everything we know is wrong", "Future Files", "Physics of the future", "Future minds" and "Flash foresight".

The book covers

Population (Demography is destiny, 9 billion by 2050, time bomb in ageing population, water, political violence, food, carbon)
Health '(old age, innovation, gnome sequencing)
Women' (will equalize, with choice comes pressure)
Social media' (Facebook, gaming, politics, mobile, embedded into products)
Culture '(art, local, importance of language)
Religion '(10,000 religions, unbelief biggest, fun)
Global warming' (Unrealistic rhetoric of action, Antarctica, technology)
War' (China, technology, robots, nuclear)
Freedom '(Berlesconifaction, complacency, fragmentation)
The state '(f***ed, not making hard decisions)
Emerging markets '(not for long, BRICKs, education and prosperity, services)
Globalisation (in trade, not in movement of people)
Rich and poor' (narrowing between countries, not between people)
Creative destruction (Schumpeter as the new economic theory, innovation, entrepreneurship, frugal innovation)'
Market momentum (volatility of stock market)
Science' (Everything will be biology, China not sited in academia, mindset)
Space '(Aliens and space travel)
The internet (Memex, information overload, sensor dust, 13 billion devices, quickening adoption rates, DNA computers, 2045 singularity event)
Distance (location, Hybrid networks)
Future babble (the future is bright, invisibility of good news)

Recurring themes

The recurring themes are China (mixed story there), technology, biology as the new black (nano is sooo pase), the impact of population growth on the planet and its resources and dependent on where you are coming from, a sense of opportunity and optimism or a sense of impending doom.


I am firmly on the optimistic side and my favourite chapter is "Schumpeter Inc", which talks about "unleashing flocks of black swans", radical reduction in the life span of businesses, turbulence, SUPER high speed broadband (100 times faster), professional guilds, frugal innovation (houses for $ 300), tidal waves of change, the emerging economies as the cauldron of innovation, embedded sensors, complicated careers, managing life as an opportunity, etc., etc. Flux, chaos, opportunity!

Tidal waves of change

That chapter speaks my language and as I have written many, many times before, as a business you ignore the "tidal wave of change" at your peril. But to go back to the start of this blog; "The storms of creative destruction are blowing us to a better place". How cool is that!? Schumpeter as the new economic theory to future growth and prosperity for the world, but hopefully also for your business.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2012
The book is a compilation of average journalistic articles about changes happening around us. No real insight as to what can be expected and what will be the real long-term and concrete impact from these changes. Try reading bold and insightful authors like Ray Kurzweil instead.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2012
Or "Predictions about the future that don't assume the global system in which we currently live will be changing much at all; also absent are any arguments defending the unlikelihood of such change."

Although I'm not a normal reader of the Economist, and typically have a very anti-statist mentality, this work in my opinion only ponders change assuming that the current floundering system of international power continues unchanged. It offers no critique of any view that challenges their own viewpoint--it simply does not take opposing viewpoints into consideration. What do I mean? There is no mention of certain seemingly inevitable trends (even if it is simply to disprove their likelihood) such as: growing independence/secession movements among unique regions currently within the boundaries of larger countries (Catalonia, Quebec, Flanders, Scotland, etc), the collapse (or at the very least restructuring) of the international Bretton Woods fiat currency system, market reform in aftermaths of derivatives/false credit expansion-related crises, government sovereign debt crises/social security insolvency, the waxing/waning of the ongoing war on drugs, etc. These issues are real and do not appear to be mentioned at all. Even the simple concept of the effects of price inflation in a fiat based economy is barely discussed.

Some opinions are unrealistic (i.e. human-caused global warming is assumed to be held by a near 100% consensus by all readers, even making in my opinion, quite ridiculous claims such as: NO summer ice will likely exist in the North Pole by 2050). Most predictions that are made seem very 'pie-in-the-sky' citing recommendations for states to curb certain spending and/or increase other types of spending such as redistribution and social spending without describing any real ideas about where these seemingly-out-of-thin-air funds will come from; also, suggestions are provided for states to promote innovation among public services, without stating how competition will exist in the inherent monopolies which are public services. The ideals put forth in these predictions and recommendations do not seem to match how they would perform in reality, and even if it is believed by the authors that they could perform as stated, they offer no real justification of any such claims.

Most of what this work describes is anything that might be spit out by 24-hour news channels without much long-term study: trends based on the extrapolation of datapoints starting now and projected into 2050, without much critical thinking to judge the feasibility or lack thereof of the predictions and recommendations contained within. You may find facts and statistics within, but no predictions or discussions of any significant world-changing changes.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2012
Well written, and avoids the usual 'were all doomed' or 'technology will save us' flaws of many other pure prediction books. Tries to justify the conclusions with hard facts about where we were, where we are and extrapolates out from there, with some good insights as to when a simple extrapolation wont work and why. An enjoyable read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2012
It is a poor and simplistic view of THE PRESENT, it really does not live up to its title..profoundly disapointed
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2014
Problem with this book that some developments have moved on. And Sustainability is the elephant in the room.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2012
The collection of articles is good, very Economist style. Not overly scientific but reasonably well documented. Nice reading as a base to further study if so desired.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2012
I actually loved the book, despite its dry style (those Brits sure can write dry prose! :-)) In any case, it is a really interesting book about the future. Definitely worth a read as it is a serious, non-sensationalistic look at what can happen by 2050. A lot of things would stay the same, BTW, and that actually seems likely.
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