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Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think Paperback – September 23, 2014
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“I’d like readers to read Abundance, the Peter Diamandis book with his coauthor, because if they did that, they would see that while the headlines are really bad in the world today, the trend lines are pretty good. Extreme poverty is down. [H]ealth care is improving dramatically around the world. There are developments now which make me believe we might be able to do what we did in the 90s which is use technological developments to create more jobs than we lose. For the last few months, for the first time in literally more than a decade, 40 percent of the new jobs have been in higher wage categories. I think people should read this and get some good ideas.” (President Bill Clinton)
“At a moment when our world faces multiple crises and is awash in pessimism, Abundance redirects the conversation, spotlighting scientific innovators working to improve people's lives around the world. The result is more than a portrait of brilliant minds - it's a reminder of the infinite possibilities for doing good when we tap into our own empathy and wisdom.” (Arianna Huffington CEO, Huffington Post)
“This brilliant must-read book provides the key to the coming era of abundance replacing eons of scarcity, a powerful antidote to today’s malaise and pessimism.” (Ray Kurzweil author of The Singularity Is Near)
“Diamandis and Kotler challenge us all to solve humanity’s grand challenges. Innovative small teams are now empowered to accomplish what only governments and large corporations could once achieve. The result is nothing less than the most transformative and thrilling period in human history.” (Timothy Ferris #1 NY Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek)
"Now that human beings communicate so easily, I suspect that nothing can stop the inevitable torrent of new technologies, new ideas and new arrangements that will transform the lives of our children. Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler give us a blinding glimpse of the innovations that are coming our way — and that they are helping to create. This is a vital book."—Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist
“Today, philanthropists, innovators and passionate entrepreneurs are more empowered than ever before to solve humanity’s grand challenges. Abundance chronicles many of these stories and the emerging tools driving us towards an age of abundance. This is an audacious and powerful read!”—Jeff Skoll
“Abundance provides proof that the proper combination of technology, people and capital can meet any grand challenge.”—Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group
"Our future depends on optimists like Diamandis...even the most skeptical readers will come away from Abundance feeling less gloomy." --New York Times Book Review
"A manifesto for the future that is grounded in practical solutions addressing the world's most pressing concerns: overpopulation, food, water, energy, education, health care and freedom. " --The Wall Street Journal
"A breezy case for optimism... Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think...[is] a godsend for those who suffer from Armageddon fatigue." --The Economist
About the Author
Peter H. Diamandis is a New York Times bestselling author, and the founder of more than fifteen high-tech companies. He is the CEO of the XPRIZE (XPrize.org), Exec. Chairman of the Singularity University (SingularityU.org), a Silicon Valley based institution backed by Google, 3D Systems and NASA. He is Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, Inc. and the Cofounder of Human Longevity, Inc. Dr. Diamandis attended MIT, where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, and Harvard Medical School, where he received his MD. In 2014 he was named one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune magazine.
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The technologies mentioned in the book are amazing to learn about, but he never quite goes into enough detail for you to understand said technologies. It is a light read, definitely focused on looking pretty, scratching the surface, making sure you don't get bored.
I think he wanted to sound like an educator, but ended up just sounding like a used car salesman for "sustainable enterprises" and "abundance". You hear a lot of buzzwords in this book, way more than necessary.
Towards the end of the book, it gets more informative, and there are pages and pages of graphs, charts, and all that good stuff. In between, more writing, and you start to think that you got a break from being sold something. But of course, at the end of the book, you can find out where to go if you wanna be "coached" by Diamandis, or join his university, or find out about his xprize. There certainly is an "abundance" of mentions of his products and self advertisement.
But it is refreshing to read a pop-science book on the issues facing humanity where things aren't all gloomy and we aren't all going to be cyborgs. Easy enough to read, so I'd buy the softcover or listen to the book-on-tape version (I bought both). It's worth it alone as an aide to help the despairing messages we are faced with continuously on the population problem, global warming, and other problems....perhaps there is a way out and we won't, gulp, go extinct - that's why I read the book cover to cover, as a counter-argument to all the doom and gloom. Yeah it's fluff, but at least its positive fluff instead of yet another doom and gloom book.
I enjoyed reading about all the technological advances being made, and particularly about the X Prize Foundation offering incentive $$ for all participants, professionals or just ordinary folks. However, aside from the ‘abundance’ of the word “exponentially” throughout the book, I think Mssrs Diamandis and Kotler were being a bit too optimistic about the timeline for worldwide abundance…..not because the technology isn’t there, (because it obviously is and will be), but rather for the following reasons, some of which they briefly acknowledged themselves:
The need for cooperation (among individuals, scientists, corporations, countries, etc. for worldwide abundance to occur)
The greed factor (money and power)
Human nature (fear, superstition, greed, ignorance, complacency, etc.)
Cultural preferences (i.e. example: the women who wanted to walk for miles to fetch water in order to get away from their husbands for awhile.)
Cultural differences and wars
Also the authors brought up the valid point of “unintended consequences” (both good and bad) for any widespread innovation.
I don’t doubt for a minute that, should the planet survive long enough, there will be more of everything available to the masses worldwide, particularly in the field of medicine, robotics, and faux food. However, if everybody lives longer and populations grow “exponentially”, the only place people of the world will have to go is “up”. Not only highrise buildings, but into space itself. That is probably why the X Prize Foundation and others are willing to pay huge incentives to get us off this planet and on to the moon or Mars where we can spread out a little when the time comes.
I think “Abundance” was written by two incredibly optimistic well-intended professionals whose social and professional lives would make for some fairly good reading itself. Google these two guys when you get a chance. They are pretty interesting.