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Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity 1st Edition

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3037781272
ISBN-10: 3037781270
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) architect and philosopher


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Müller Publishers; 1 edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3037781270
  • ISBN-13: 978-3037781272
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Davidicus on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
In its day (1969-72, when I first read it), this was one of those inspirational heartbreakers -- why can't EVERYONE see the promise of the approaching possible Golden Era? But with time (what, over 35 years now, since I first read it) even the great futurist himself seems a little dated. And I'd forgotten (or never really noticed before) how angry he could get, and not just at the Great Pirates who well deserve(d) it (especially considering recent economic news), but for those who had slighted him in the past as a gadfly of sorts. These lectures/expositions are a series of previously-published papers, and there is a lot of redundancy, but the basic question ("It's up to us, do we want to succeed or fail?") still rings true. And some of his ideas, like the World-Wide Electrical Power Grid, and the end of the Nation-States were absolutely brilliant in their foresight. The bottom line, however, and what I think will be his legacy, is to look at the world not only differently (the sun doesn't set, the world turns), but holistically (there is no up and down, only in and out)... and how about those buckminsterfullerene molecules -- they will change the world. We'll miss your kind, Bucky... we already do. (As a side note, I got to shake hands and speak briefly with Bucky after his Earth Day speech at Florida State University in 1974[?], just as the sun went down, and it still brings a tear to my eye to recall how both intelligent and innocent he was at the same time.)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jo on April 24, 2001
Format: Unknown Binding
A very tough read which I go to over and over again, I was inspired and enlightened every step of the way. Bucky's revolutionary ideas are the way of the future. Enable a future. A true visionary he saw the inevitable and being the humanitarian that he was, along with his genius devised ways to achieve world peace, free of hunger. Less is more...doing more with less. The design science revolution. A must read if you are interested in urban planning, and making a difference. Made me want to fulfill his dream. If you build it they will come. He got the buckyball rolling. Great for youth if only he wasn't so darn hard to read. Explains very well the corporate and military structure as well and the evilness implicit in the malthusian robber-baron structure to our economy. I gave it a four star review but conceptually it is 5 being so difficult...I gave it a four. Bucky like McLuhan is more relevant today than in his own time and equally hard to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By asherasator on October 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the greatest books you will ever read. He is one of the most important figures of the 20th century only surpassed by Nikola Tesla. This book will open your eyes to so many things of science, politics, ecology, economics & much more. It is so profound & important I think it should be required reading for all politicians, all involved in academia & a must read for all High School & University students.

Richard Buckminster Fuller is a University to himself. I highly recommend everybody to watch on youtube his series of lectures "Everything I Know", they are from 2-3 hours each, & you'll learn more from him than probably anywhere or anybody else in your life. I discovered him later in life & wish I could have discovered him earlier. This man is a treasure chest of wisdom, profound empirical knowledge & overall supreme intellect he will blow your mind. He is a Demigod.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Plus on October 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the 1960's, Buckminster Fuller lectured to anyone who would listen (and he had no trouble getting speaking engagements around the world) that shipbuilders, and then aircraft engineers, aerospace engineers, electronics engineers and companies in the business of building advanced weapon systems, had stumbled across principles for doing more with less, a trend he called "ephemeralization," which squeezed ever higher performances out of every pound of resources. By bringing the obsolete versions of these technologies onto the civilian market while going on to the next technological frontiers, these companies had inadvertently raised humanity's economic efficiency and started the process of overcoming traditional Malthusian limits. Fuller estimated that only 1 percent of humanity could live "successfully" on a physical level before the 20th Century because of the inefficient use of resources, but because of ephemeralization, by the 1960's the percentage of successful humanity had reached into the 40's. Fuller then argued (over and over again, which makes this book a bit repetitive) that a "design science revolution" led by 1960's college students could bypass political barriers and in a decade or so bring this level of success to "100 percent of humanity," even with population growth, which Fuller expected would stop once everyone became sufficiently affluent.

Well, 40 years have passed since then. We still don't have anything near "100 percent of humanity" living as a physical success despite enormous economic growth since then (and many countries have slipped backwards), so what happened to all those trends Fuller claimed he identified from the scapbooks he kept and called his Chronofile?
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