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The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World [Kindle Edition]

Marina Gorbis
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

A renowned futurist offers a vision of a reinvented world.

Large corporations, big governments, and other centralized organizations have long determined and dominated the way we work, access healthcare, get an education, feed ourselves, and generally go about our lives. The economist Ronald Coase, in his famous 1937 paper “The Nature of the Firm,” provided an economic explanation for this: Organizations lowered transaction costs, making the provision of goods and services cheap, efficient, and reliable. Today, this organizational advantage is rapidly disappearing. The Internet is lowering transaction costs—costs of connection, coordination, and trade—and pointing to a future that increasingly favors distributed sources and social solutions to some of our most immediate needs and our most intractable problems.

As Silicon Valley thought-leader Marina Gorbis, head of the Institute for the Future, portrays, a thriving new relationship-driven or socialstructed economy is emerging in which individuals are harnessing the powers of new technologies to join together and provide an array of products and services. Examples of this changing economy range from BioCurious, a members-run and free-to-use bio lab, to the peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club, to the remarkable Khan Academy, a free online-teaching service. These engaged and innovative pioneers are filling gaps and doing the seemingly impossible by reinventing business, education, medicine, banking, government, and even scientific research. Based on extensive research into current trends, she travels to a socialstructed future and depicts an exciting vision of tomorrow.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gorbis, a futurist and consultant, describes a new era she calls “socialstructing,” in which individuals use technology and the collective intelligence of a large group of people, their social network, to take on jobs previously done by big businesses and organizations. She cites the values in these networks, including open collaboration, independence, and the ability of anyone to rise to an endeavor. The author observes that “empowered by computing and communication technologies that have been steadily building village-like networks on a global scale, we are infusing more and more of our economic transactions with social connections.” She offers chapters describing how social structing will impact education, government, scientific research, and health. Gorbis suggests that young people need to develop new skills and capabilities for this self-driven and self-directed world with resources and content available on personal devices to increasingly acquire more knowledge and consume more rich content, or they will be left behind. This is a thought-provoking, excellent book for a wide range of library patrons. --Mary Whaley


"There's no better futurist to learn from today than Marina Gorbis, who taps her vast social network of innovators and researchers for the biggest, most disruptive ideas that are changing how we work, solve problems and create value today. This book is a thrilling and insight-packed guide to harnessing the power of the new social economy. It's full of compelling stories and practical lessons from on-the-ground visionaries who are inventing the future as we speak. This book will help you see the next century clearly -- and maybe even turn you into one of the amazing SocialStructers who are changing what's possible for the rest of us." (Jane McGonigal, author of Reality Is Broken )

“Challenging… well worth reading and considering.” (Kirkus Reviews )

Product Details

  • File Size: 2252 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00F6I5QBO
  • Publisher: Free Press (April 9, 2013)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,824 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Why did Marina Gorbis write this book? Her core contention "is that the innovations rapidly emerging through socialstructing are not mere fringe developments but are the early manifestations of a new economy that will increasingly replace the institutional production we have come to rely on in so many areas of our lives. A number of industries are already being profoundly disrupted by the rise of socialstructing such as publishing and the music business. Over time this emerging socialstructed economy will likely become mainstream, but that might be a long-term process. I believe we can all benefit right now, though, by learning about the ways the new economy is rapidly evolving and by taking part in it." Her book, then, offers a rigorous and comprehensive explanation of the aforementioned "ways" as well as well as her counsel as to how best to participate in the new economy.

As I began to read her book and then later while re-reading it prior to going to work on this review, I agreed with the subtitle that each of the nine chapters could be viewed -- and probably [begin italics] should [end italics] be viewed as a "dispatch" from someone who has explored the socialstructured world. Others may think of Gorbis primarily as a futurist but I view her -- as I also view others such as Kees van der Heijden, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, and Peter Schwartz -- primarily as an anthropologist. In The Nature of the Future, she focuses on what she believes to be the most likely implications and consequences of the aforementioned "early manifestations of a new economy." It is also possible to view her book as a map or, better yet, as a GPS by which to navigate the transition to the socialstructed world now underway.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas June 16, 2013
A good read with many interesting thoughts about how social groups, corporations, governments, etc, are being reorganized by the internet and how that may change the future. At points I found the book somewhat hand-wavy and wished for more detailed support of its arguments. Though the book predicts decentralization and a shift to organizing society through social interaction instead of money, it fails to address the massive rise in income inequality we are seeing right now. That aside, it raised several interesting ideas, and also brought to my attention several other books I am going to have to look into.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not my kind of logic February 9, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Maybe my left-brain mind is just too rigid, but I found the basic thesis of the book unconvincing. Yes, non-financial motivations are important, and yes, Drucker did say very positive things about how to manage volunteers successfully. But I don't think there's anything wrong with increasing material value, and I think the real transformation is more likely to be driven by Singularity-type exponential tech advances rather than a return to a gift economy. Exponential tech will drive huge social transformation, but not, I suspect, in this direction.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Easy to read engaging look into the future. Would have like more rigor showing which projections have a pretty solid probability of happening and will impact both on technologies, communities and most neglected- sustainable development. Demographic trends, trends in environmental factors, political instability and erosion of governance are macro issues that were neglected in favor of advances that may well benefit a shrinking proportion of the world.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Both clear and thought provoking February 7, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was both clear and thought provoking. Each chapter started with a scenario to make the concept easy to grasp. I found it to be an eye opening discussion of powerful trends that are going to impact all of us in the future. An excellent primer for business people and university students.
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