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Showing 1-10 of 89 reviews(4 star, Verified Purchases). See all 746 reviews
on March 11, 2013
The world is going to be perfect. Technology will save us. Save the poorest to save the planet. That pretty much summarizes the book. Nothing technical here.

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.
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on March 20, 2013
Well written, and likely as the author, full of passion. Provides excellent insights into cutting edge technologies as well as likely where opportunites exist. Book provides a very expansive section of reference material to reinforce the main material and the assertions made by the author.
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on February 16, 2015
This is a book about the future that needs to be read now!

Peter Diamandis shares his ideas on why we live in a world of abundance. The mainstream media keeps playing the doom and gloom game, while quietly there are entrepreneurs out there developing new technologies that are going to make our lives better. it has always been that way.
He encourages people to become inventors/innovators/entrepreneurs. We live in a time where there is so much technology that is improving our lives.

I do think we still have to stay in tune with our planet and what God has blessed us with, in particular natures herbal pharmacy.
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on October 28, 2012
In this surprising book the authors look at many aspects of modern technological development and predict enormous positive changes in the coming few decades.

As they say, "When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce they're mainly inaccessible. Yet the threat of scarcity still dominates our worldview.", and they go on to look at new cheap seawater purification, the falling costs of solar electricity, smart grids, open source maker groups, the democratization and cost reduction of publishing'/advertising (eg. Craig's list) and education (eg. Khan Academy), mobile phone banking in Africa, etc. etc.
Overall, their conclusions are very convincing, and they devote an interesting section to cognitive biases, particularly the natural tendency to focus on threatening situations combined with an inability to appreciate their probability. Modern information overload presents a multitude of possible threats = anxieties while in reality lives are safer and more uneventful than ever before.

I would have given the book 5 stars if it weren't for their finessing of the issue of robotic AI on employment. They say, ".... The old lower skilled jobs were replaced with higher skilled jobs, and the workforce was trained to fill them."
They know that there is is world of difference between the introduction of farm machinery and new intelligent agent computers that can fly aircraft or provide advanced medical diagnosis. There's an interesting discussion of this problem in Martin Ford's, The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future.
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on September 9, 2012
This book is a comprehensive, concentrated dose of optimism. Perhaps it's a bit over-optimistic and naive, but I needed to read this.

I've been paralyzed by fear and pessimism. Although I've been following technology development and predictions with periodic excitement, I've been fixated on poverty, unemployment, growing private debt, growing sovereign debt, terrorism, natural disasters, infectious disease, etc. I now blame it on my amygdala (see page 32).

After reading Abundance, I began thinking that human civilization might be moving closer towards a connect-and-collaborate, post-scarcity, near-utopia. An unlucky, small percentage of people will have a declining standard of living or will be harmed or killed by disruptive new technology (perhaps me, but that's okay!)

The forces of good change: exponential technologies in the hands of DIY innovators, social entrepreneurs, technophilanthropists, and "the rising billion" (who can leapfrog legacy technology and go right to better technology and more ecologically-sustainable technology).

Major topics: Seeing the Forest Through the Trees; It's Not as Bad as You Think; The Tools of Cooperation; Water; Food; Energy; Education; Health Care; Freedom; Driving Innovation and Breakthroughs; Risk and Failure.

Human life and the global economy are not a zero-sum game.
Catallaxy (economic/occupational specialization), automation, and ecologically-sustainable technology can provide abundant resources for all of humanity.

Natural resources are presently being wasted (used inefficiently and ineffectively, and are being transformed into less useful byproducts). But knowledge of more efficient and effective processes is being spread, and recycling technology (especially recycling nanotechnology) and harvesting solar energy have the potential to provide plenty of useful matter and energy for billions of people indefinitely (and certainly at least until space colonization ramps up).

The technology is easily within reach.
The biggest challenge to post-scarcity and sustainability is not technology, but pessimism and people wasting their TIME being afraid; complaining; being unproductive; being counter-productive; and poisoning the minds of others with pessimism.

Some quotes from the book:
"[...people seriously overestimate themselves and significantly underestimate the world at large]" (pg. 31)
"We're control fiends and are more optimistic about things we can control" (pg. 31)

Have some faith in other people; have some faith in yourself; connect; collaborate; and contribute.

===
Abundance has a few factual errors and typos.
One error is: the authors present an apocryphal story about aluminum being extracted and purified thousands of years ago as if it were fact; the authors may understand current and near-future technology pretty well, but they are terrible historians!

A shortcoming of Abundance is that it doesn't sufficiently address the issue of how "exponential technology" affects human labor markets.
If you're aware of a book, website, etc. that addresses this issue please leave me a comment about it.
Here's one:
The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future
And another:
Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy
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on July 15, 2015
Very informative, but tons of Mr. Diamandis' self-promotion holds it back. From the beginning, you hear about Peter's Singularity University, you learn about all of it's founders, etc. It's like, for every bit of useful information that has to do with abundance, you get the equivalent of a commercial, about how this guy keeps founding companies to teach you how to impact the world. I'm sure he's great at what he does, but being reminded over, and over, and over again about how he will teach young minds to change the world sounds to start like you're reading a pop book. This book meets the all criteria: constant endorsement, a focus on third world countries, appealing to various "technophilanthropists". You will not go thirty pages without hearing something about 1) him and his university 2) the university cofounders 3) about how his university's graduates go on to make "bold impacts" in the world (which actually only refers to Africa) and 4) his XPRIZE.

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.
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on August 29, 2015
Refreshing break from so much doom and gloom I've been exposed to recently. Particularly liked the practical and data driven conclusions about our potential for addressing today's most pressing human challenges like poverty, energy and fresh water scarcity, etc... A bit weak on addressing the inequality inherent in the structural economic changes underway (and being driven further by some of the breakthroughs mentioned). The authors did mention broadly the democratizing effects of many of the technologies emerging but, I'd like to understand the impacts on inequality a little better. It seems these changes portend a rising elite financial class as well as a rising "bottom billion" (very exciting stuff on this front) but, an ever shrinking middle (average is over). Are we destined for a future where a larger but, vastly more powerful elite are more and more separated from the rest of us who will have to be content with cheaper and better entertainment? Also concerning is the real (already happening?) potential for the financial elite to become the biological (genetic) elite as well? At the end of the day, I loved the book and will become a student of abundance with a keen eye on how society might leverage these emergent technologies to further democratize health, wealth, and access. I am more hopeful than skeptical now but, still plenty skeptical.
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on May 1, 2014
I really enjoyed this smart and readable book. It's especially effective in helping one understand both the promise and the danger of exponential growth. Exponential growth can bring about a sustainable energy future, for example, more quickly than we think. But it can also exhaust resources and spread blight in equally surprising ways. It's probably required reading in times that are changing as rapidly as ours. But a word of caution. The sunny attitude of optimism about the "visionary" billionaires that are implementing aspects of the exponential change the authors extoll tends to create the impression that our own activism against fossil fuel pollution, overpopulation and gender discrimination is unnecessary because deeply concerned billionaires like Bill Gates and Marc Zuckerberg have a happy future all sketched out for us, and we should all go to the beach and relax - unless we have the capital to create our own startup and join the fun. I recommend Malcolm Gladwell's new "David and Goliath" for its exploration of another growth curve - the inverted "U." This explores the part of growth where more doesn't always equal better, and guides us towards perceiving that moment when growth should be abandoned for stability.
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on November 29, 2015
In a world where we are bombarded with fear and negativity, it is nice to consume information about how our lives are getting better. Abundance provides clear evidence that the global community is vastly better off today than just a few short years ago. The book also provides hope that many of the problems we face in the future will be solved by the ingenuity of the human race.
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on June 17, 2016
A very interesting glimpse of the possibilities for the near future, that may solve the twin problems of population growth and poverty in the third world, a long read, but encouraging, rather than the usual gloom and doom we are served daily by the media.
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