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The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change Hardcover – January 29, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Since exiting the political stage after the controversial presidential election of 2000, Al Gore has pursued a lucrative business career while continuing his series of works of environmental warning, which began with Earth in the Balance (1992). While less admonitory than An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Gore’s green concerns persist in this new assembly of prognostications, which organize the author’s vision of humanity’s prospects into six categories. Those are economic globalization (which Gore tags as “Earth, Inc.”), instantaneous communication (“the Global Mind”), international relations, demography and capitalism, human health and biotechnology, and natural resources and climate change (“the Edge”). Identifying trends in each area, Gore the polymath posits directions and destinations he sees as desirable and scolds what he regards as the impediment to their realization, namely, a corruption of American democracy by corporations, lobbyists, and campaign cash. Certainly a wide-ranging socioeconomic and scientific survey of humanity’s next decades, Gore’s palpably political imperative is the distinguishing trait of this contribution to futurology, a genre with a checkered past. Time will tell whether the author’s predictions hold up. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Some of former vice president Al Gore’s books have cracked best-seller lists, and though this title will not likely do so, Gore’s high media profile will draw plenty of attention to his new book. --Gilbert Taylor


Magisterial . . . The passion is unmistakable. So is the knowledge. Practically every page offers an illumination.”—Bloomberg
“In The Future . . . Gore takes on a subject whose scale matches that of his achievements and ambition.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Historically grounded . . . Gore’s strengths lie in his passion for the subject and in his ability to take the long view by putting current events and trends in historical context.”—Publishers Weekly
“Provocative, smart, densely argued . . . a tour de force of Big Picture thinking.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A luminously intelligent analysis that is packed with arresting ideas and facts.”—The Guardian

“This is a great book. From political policy and economics to science and the most thorny ethical issues, Al Gore has stated the human condition and the issues we face forthrightly, fearlessly, and in easily understood language—and has said what must be done. I asked myself halfway through who else could have written a book of this magnitude. The only answer I could imagine was Jefferson.”—E. O. Wilson, Harvard University, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“I’m a pro-growth supply-side economist, so my admiration for Al Gore may seem like an oxymoron. It’s not. This book is amazingly rich in wisdom, practicality, and insight. Al Gore has a portfolio that warrants credibility and is an accomplished polymath who transcends ideology while turning our attention to big issues, big ideas, and big solutions. The Future frames the discussion whether you’re conservative, agnostic, or liberal. It’s a fascinating deep read.”—Arthur B. Laffer, Ph.D.
“Whether he’s discussing cyberspace, the environment, science, or the economy, Al Gore presents in this book, with impressive breadth and well-researched depth, the challenges we have to meet to ensure that they become opportunities rather than threats. If you are concerned about the massive changes the world is just heading into, then you should read this book. If you aren’t, then you must read it!”—Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812992946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812992946
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Former Vice President Al Gore is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and a member of Apple, Inc.'s board of directors.

Gore spends the majority of his time as chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit devoted to solving the Climate Crisis.

Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years. During the Administration, Gore was a central member of President Clinton's economic team. He served as President of the Senate, a Cabinet member, a member of the National Security Council and as the leader of a wide range of Administration initiatives.

He is the author of the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, and Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. He is the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary and is the co-recipient, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

141 of 164 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Thibeault on February 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
*A full summary of this book is available here: An Executive Summary of Al Gore's 'The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change'

Our world is becoming increasingly integrated and complex, and changing faster and faster. Out of the morass of elements involved here, Al Gore identifies 6 themes or factors that are emerging as the major drivers of change. The factors are 1) Work: the movement of labor from West to East (outsourcing); and, at the same time, a shift towards much more automation (robosourcing); 2) Communications: the rise of the internet that has led to a wild proliferation of information, and the ability of the world's population to instantly connect with one another for a host of purposes--and the increasing reach of the internet from the developed to the developing world; 3) Power: the shifting of power from West to East; and, at the same time, the shifting of power from national governments to smaller players, such as businesses and corporations, but also rogue players, such as guerrilla and terror organizations; 4) Demographics: the enormous increase in the world's population, and the movement of peoples both within and across national borders (as the result of numerous factors); 5) Biotechnology: the increasing manipulation of DNA to produce not only new organisms with novel features, but new materials and fuels as well, and 6) Climate Change: the increase in world temperatures caused by the continuing build-up of CO2, as well as the numerous other climate effects that this entails.
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132 of 163 people found the following review helpful By George Bush HALL OF FAME on January 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
'The Future' covers what author Gore believes are the six most important drivers of global change. They are, The emergence of

1)A deeply interconnected global economy.

2)Planet-wide electronics linking to rapidly expanding volumes of data, ubiquitous sensors throughout the world, and intelligent devices and robots.

3)A new balance of political, economic, and military power that is shifting influence from West to East, from wealthy to emerging states, from political systems to markets, and from nation-states to private actors.

4)Rapid unsustainable growth in population, water and other natural resource consumption, and pollution - all guided by a distorted set of economic metrics (eg. 'quarterly capitalism,' GDP).

5)A new set of biochemical, genetic, and materials science technologies enabling us to alter plants, animals, and ourselves, as well as create new materials.

6)New relationships between humans and the Earth's ecology.

One of the most interesting sections was Gore's treatment of the new economy and its impact on the U.S. and the developed world. He contends we don't recognize the employment impact of automation (3D-printing and much cheaper and easier to program robots are the latest developments), 'self-sourcing' - eg. ordering items from the Internet instead of interacting with clerks, and outsourcing to other nations - eventually these trends will challenge the role of labor in the economy of the future.
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147 of 189 people found the following review helpful By R. Sampson on January 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In "The Future" Al Gore moves beyond his traditional focus on climate change and takes on the major agents of change in today's global world. The book is very ambitious (and quite long). It looks at the six major forces that are transforming the world, and which will create the major challenges and opportunities for humanity going forward.

The part I liked best focused on how globalization and especially technology are transforming the economy and labor markets. Gore divides this into outsourcing and "robosourcing" (what he calls replacement of jobs by smart machines and robots). Unlike others who feel today's technology is just a continuation of what has come before, Gore sees it as a totally new force with dramatic (and often negative) consequences for workers.

As he points out, advanced information technology is a major driver of inequality. As machines are able to do more work, capital is worth more relative to labor. He notes that in the United States, "50 percent of capital gains to to the top one thousandth of one percent." (For more on technology transforming the job market, I would also recommend The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future, which all about how robots and AI will affect jobs).

Beyond this Gore takes on the other trends. For example, he is very optimistic about the global connectivity allowed by technology, calling it the "global mind." Gore seems to think this we lead to more collaboration and emerging consensus on big political issues. But there is plenty of reason to be skeptical... In the U.S.
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