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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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Top customer reviews
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Gives you so much optimism about the future
- and makes you think about opportunities for
It is an excellent place to start for anyone
interested in exponential technologies, the
future, artificial intelligence, global social
issues or business.
I had actually already read 'The Singularity is
Near' by Ray Kurzweil and some other books
in the field which covers much of the same
Kurwzweil's is more in depth but for
a clear summary of the bottom line impacts
and opportunities this is the better choice.
Basically, the best starting point.
A must read for all generations, I couldn't put the book down....
The authors acknowledge that these are difficult, turbulent times. They point out that thanks to the way our brains are hard wired, we tend to focus more on the negatives in life than on the positives. The authors rightly point out that if you study any period of human existence on planet Earth, you will see both incredible advancements and terrible tragedies.
This book is about seeing abundance, a global abundance thanks to the exponential growth in science and technology. The authors believe the exponential growth will raise the global standards of living. Thanks to today's connectivity, new ideas will result in new discoveries, new products and new inventions that will benefit all.
The authors identify four forces in play that will drive the projected abundance. The four forces are:
1. Information and communication technology
2. A Do It Yourself Revolution - We will no longer wait for the government, corporations or the NGOs to solve our problems.
3. Technology created philanthropists are investing their fortunes and futures in global, abundance related challenges
4. Thanks to connectivity, the world's poorest are emerging as a market force.
Diamandis and Kotler define abundance as having a life of possibilities where the day is spent dreaming and doing as opposed to scrapping and scraping just to get by. The authors lay out a three tier pyramid of abundance. The base of the pyramid is about physiological needs - food, shelter water and other basic survival concerns. The middle tier is about catalysts for further growth which includes education, energy, communication and information. The top tier is about freedom and health.
The bulk of the book describes how science and technology will be used to address each of the challenges identified in the tiers of the abundance pyramid.
The book is an interesting, engaging and easy read. Its contents leave the reader full of hope that science and technology will solve our problems and better life on the planet. Time will tell....
It is current, in a time when things are changing rapidly.
The facts and concepts presented are all relevant.
I have two significant reservations about the conclusions, and they relate to concepts omitted from the book.
I align with all that is said in respect of exponential development, and much of what is said about the coming age of abundance.
There is one aspect of abundance that is not explicitly addressed that to me seems critical.
Most of our societal governance structures are heavily influenced by the concept of money.
Money is a market based concept.
Money can be conceptualised as the product of two complex functions within every mind.
One function is the value of a "thing" (using thing in the broadest possible sense), and every individual will have their own complex multidimensional set of functions that deliver some instantaneous feeling of the worth of a "thing".
The other function is an estimate of the scarcity of the "thing".
The more we want something, and the more scarce it is, the more we will pay for it.
The flip side of this is the real issue here.
Anything that is abundant, has zero scarcity, and therefore zero market value (anything multiplied by zero equals zero - consider oxygen, important, abundant, and zero market value in ordinary circumstances).
Thus while we are developing technology that is capable of delivering abundance, that abundance is invalidating our dominant social valuation paradigm (money and markets).
There is a flip side to this concept also, which is that there is zero market incentive to ever deliver true abundance (abundance that reaches every person on the planet), and there is in fact massive monetary incentive to prevent such abundance ever being created.
Now I am clear that the abundance genie is clearly out of the bottle.
It cannot be stopped, except by mass genocide which is far too dangerous for everyone (cannot be controlled even by those with otherwise very impressive powers of control).
Diamandis said "You get what you incentivise", which I agree with.
And when you take a high level view of that, what we are incentivising in our addiction to money and markets is scarcity for the masses, and insecurity on a scale that threatens our survival at a societal level. Almost half the population is on some sort of anti anxiety medication - and it is barely holding.
Thus the question really is, what sort of social political and technical institutions are required to provide security and freedom in an age of abundance (which abundance includes longevity).
That has been the prime thought in my mind since 1974.
I am confident of the classes of solutions I have developed, and in many aspects they clearly align with Diamandis, and there are some significant differences.
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