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The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century Paperback – January 26, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 485 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, January 2009: "Be Practical, Expect the Impossible." So declares George Friedman, chief intelligence officer and founder of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), a private intelligence agency whose clients include foreign government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Gathering information from its global network of operatives and analysts (drawing the nickname "the Shadow CIA"), Stratfor produces thoughtful and genuinely engrossing analysis of international events daily, from possible outcomes of the latest Pakistan/India tensions to the hierarchy of Mexican drug cartels to challenges to Obama's nascent administration. In The Next 100 Years, Friedman undertakes the impossible (or improbable) challenge of forecasting world events through the 21st century. Starting with the premises that "conventional political analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination" and "common sense will be wrong," Friedman maps what he sees as the likeliest developments of the future, some intuitive, some surprising: more (but less catastrophic) wars; Russia's re-emergence as an aggressive hegemonic power; China's diminished influence in international affairs due to traditional social and economic imbalances; and the dawn of an American "Golden Age" in the second half of the century. Friedman is well aware that much of what he predicts will be wrong--unforeseeable events are, of course, unforeseen--but through his interpretation of geopolitics, one gets the sense that Friedman's guess is better than most. --Jon Foro
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

With a unique combination of cold-eyed realism and boldly confident fortune-telling, Friedman (Americas Secret War) offers a global tour of war and peace in the upcoming century. The author asserts that the United States power is so extraordinarily overwhelming that it will dominate the coming century, brushing aside Islamic terrorist threats now, overcoming a resurgent Russia in the 2010s and 20s and eventually gaining influence over space-based missile systems that Friedman names battle stars. Friedman is the founder of Stratfor, an independent geopolitical forecasting company, and his authoritative-sounding predictions are based on such factors as natural resources and population cycles. While these concrete measures lend his short-term forecasts credence, the later years of Friedmans 100-year cycle will provoke some serious eyebrow raising. The armed border clashes between Mexico and the United States in the 2080s seem relatively plausible, but the space war pitting Japan and Turkey against the United States and allies, prognosticated to begin precisely on Thanksgiving Day 2050, reads as fantastic (and terrifying) science fiction. Whether all of the visions in Friedmans crystal ball actually materialize, they certainly make for engrossing entertainment. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 Reprint edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780767923057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767923057
  • ASIN: 0767923057
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (485 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Although I am a large fan of America's Secret War and respect Mr. Friedman's logical thinking and intelligence, this book is an undertaking so far beyond the capability of man -trying to outline how the next 100 years of history will look- that even though it started off captivating it ultimately left me feeling like the whole thing was a fool's errand. It's not that the author is illogical or a nutcase as some of the negative reviewers have suggested, it's just that there's no way to meaningfully try to predict the simply unpredictable, regardless of the complexity of your analysis. And as the author stretches his future history farther and farther away from the present it simply becomes an implausibility on top of an implausibility on top of another implausibility to the point that any value the reader could derive nearly evaporates and I wish I had spent my time reading actual history.

Of course the author believes some rough prediction of the future is possible based on trends analysis, an understanding of strategic nature, and other such information. I immediately concede that trying to predict the future is not only necessary as a basis for security planning but can be done profitably over maybe 10 years, 20 at the extreme, but only if you build in a huge amount of risk management / "reserve" into your planning results to account for the inevitable unexpected. Thus my critique is simply with the overly ambitious timeline of the author rather than the endeavor itself.

There are some positives of the book which were informative and argue in favor of reading perhaps the first half for pertinent information and analysis.
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Format: Hardcover
If it were not for the background and the reputation of the author, it would be easy to dismiss this book as surreal and way too imaginative. On the other hand Friedman should be commended for having the courage to look into the far future, beyond current trends and fads, and giving us a taste of international developments likely to happen within the next century.

He does a good job in preparing the reader to expect the unexpected to happen based on past history. What may sound silly now, may in fact be feasible in the future, and not necessarily far future either.

Pages are packed with very interesting insights and not surprisingly, USA is the center of history in the 21st century. Was 20th century not an American century also? Other players come on to the stage though, and as a Turk, I was really puzzled by his assertion of Turkey becoming a key global power player. It is hard to imagine now Turkey becoming much more than a regional superpower within next 50 years. It would require a succesful reformation movement in Islam for a non-Arab Muslim country to be able to lead the Muslim block, not to mention a reduction of oil based wealth creation in key Arab states that would force them to look for alliances beyond USA.

He makes a case for how the shift in demographics, mainly the drastic drop in birth rates, will alter how the history flows. His arguments and methods give us a glimpse of how a professional analyst applies his trade.

I did not agree with some of the technology related predictions and analysis. This seems his weakness and he was way off. Nuclear power will dominate for sure before we beam in microwave power from space. Solar energy is not free, except for solar heating.
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2 Comments 34 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Everyone praises "America's Secret War" for Friedman's in-depth knowledge of both the U.S. military, and 25 years experience in studying Eurasia. However, it is a far leap to predict the next hundred years and expect to be taken seriously by applying strict geopolitical ideology to the world to the absence of any and all other significant factors and historical "twists of fate," as in a rogue nuclear weapon/s?

Either it is of no interest to him, or he has far less area of expertise in Asia itself, but to write off China in one small, vague, chapter is an enormous disservice, completely without any supporting data that by 2020 China will "destabilize." In 2008-9 the entire world banking system "destabilized" to the surprise of many, and yet China's did not, has not; and possesses the largest liquid assets on the planet, of which they have invested heavily in U.S. Treasury bonds. His lack of any mention of the New World's banking was an obvious oversight.

Additionally, his premise that, to summarize, Japan will again expand as it did prior to WWII and will again take over parts of Mainland China is laughable. China has the largest standing military in the world. No, they do not possess much of an navy, but it has more than enough aircraft to do the exact reverse, which is physically invade Japan to put an immediate stop to Japanese aggression. Boots on the ground are quite cheap, and China has lots and lots of boots. And the money to keep them there.

Does Friedman believe Nanking has forgotten? China is an excellent observer of other cultures' mistakes. When the Chinese government converted and moves into a capitalist driven economy, they did not have the problems and horrors Russia had, because they were astute observers.
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