Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Dust jacket has minor wear & tear. Hardcover shows minimal wear and tear. Light to average highlighting and/or markings in some pages. Ships direct from Amazon!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Brief History of the Future: A Brave and Controversial Look at the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – March 11, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$18.07 $0.01

The Numberlys Best Books of the Year So Far
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Attali (Millennium), cofounder and first president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, offers his predictions for the 21st century in this clunky futurist fantasy. Positing that history flows in a single, stubborn, and very particular direction toward man's progressive liberation, the author projects that course with surprising results. He predicts that the mercantile order that prevails today will exhaust itself within a generation or so and be replaced by a unified and stateless global market—a super-empire controlled by an innovative class of selfish hypernomads. This super-empire will lead to extreme imbalances of wealth and poverty that will cause its collapse by 2050—perhaps accompanied by a round of planetary warfare. Humanity will emerge chastened from the wreckage and erect a utopia of hyperdemocracy led by a class of transhumans —a new breed of altruistic citizens of the world. Attali's utopia relies on illusory historical laws, and his thesis proves more entertaining than plausible. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Acclaimed for his Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World Order (1991), Attali here boldly extends—and revises—his global predictions for the decades ahead. But before mapping out the future, Attali grounds his chronology in patterns he perceives in the past. At the center of these patterns stand impulses that have persistently fostered democratic governance and marketplace economics—in thirteenth-century Bruges, in sixteenth-century Genoa, in nineteenth-century London. In Attali’s analysis (lucidly translated from the original French), Los Angeles emerges as the nexus of capitalist democracy today. However, Attali anticipates an unraveling of American hegemony as transnational corporations perilously sever the ties linking free enterprise to democracy by creating a polycentric empire of commerce that dissolves traditional nation-states. If this process plays out as scripted, nomadic enterprises will enrich a few while immiserating many. World tensions will then be primed for the horrific warfare of armies, mercenary and religious, fighting for resources and dominance. Implacable jihadists have already deployed for such a struggle. Yet Attali remains astonishingly optimistic about long-term prospects for an enlightened world democracy that will safeguard the rights and well-being of all. A readership anxious about the trajectory of world events will find much here to ponder—and debate. --Bryce Christensen

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; 1st English-language Ed edition (March 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559708794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559708791
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Almost 30 years ago Alvin Toffler published 'The third wave' there he says history was a tide with three waves: an agrarian age, and industrial age, and then a third, 'post-industrial' for which he coined the word 'information age' and he said for example 'through telex and long distance communication people will work, buy, have social relations from home..'. He was absolutely right, even when he can't really name the new technologies, he get quite well which would be the tides and changes, opening wide the eyes in order to catch the actual zeitgeist of his time he then be able to make an honest and logical prediction about the times to come.

At this particular moment we have the brightest of this kind of prediction in the form of the scientist-futurist Ray Kurzweil -'The Singularity is near', 'The age of spiritual machines- where he foreseen not only the next 50 years, but the entire history of human race through technology. To answer this we have Francis Fukuyama, whom through a philosophical 'must' he tries to embrace technology into a humanistic frame.

In this case Jacques Attali, a former adviser to president Miterrand and also President of the European Bank of Development in the 90's, bring another side to the figure: political and sociological forces. He mainly divide human history 'a la Toffler' in three main stages: a theological one, a militaristic one, and then the one we are: an economic driven one. In it, capitalism unbounded has grown from the vitality of 9 main 'hearts' -as he called them- Brugess, Venice, Antwerp, Geneva, Amsterdam, London, Boston, New York and finally Los Angeles.

Each was a pole of development and creativity, becoming the world's motor in their own age.
Read more ›
4 Comments 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
What do you expect when the cover of the book declares it "Brilliant and provocative" by none other than Henry Kissinger? And at the bottom of the cover Alvin Toffler tells us it is a "sweeping, controversial look at the future?" Thus we are given Jacques Attali's A Brief History of the Future.

I guess, if you're like me, you'd wonder why the starlets of the 1970's had to be dragged out to boast about a book about the twenty first century. It doesn't get a lot better.

Forgive me, but on first reading this was about the most boring and pompous clap trap that I've read in ages. Take claims like this:

"There will of course be attempts to produce a little time by prolonging the human life span. The target will be an average 120 years, for a work week of twenty-five hours"

Says who? Jaques Attali the author, and if he has such a perfectly predictive crystal ball then he should share it around. Where did 120 years and 25 hours come from? No doubt he has some obscure source, but wow - I wish my crystal balls were as trustworthy as his. Most of his book is little more than unfounded claims and old fashioned conservative economics. Sure we want to live longer, and some folk want to work less, but where did these magical figures appear from?

Attali does a masterful sleight of hand. He states many truisms that appear profound: "no war can be won unless the people waging it believe it just and necessary..." so the "chief weapons of the future will be propaganda, communication and intimidation". Amen, I say. Ever has it been so. But so what? Attali mingles this ancient military truisms with tightly claimed predictions such as "Around 2035 or 2040, the Alliance will realise it lacks the means to maintain the mercantile order".
Read more ›
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This book is an outrageous and awful book and on so many levels, it's difficult really to know where to start. Just to say at the top, it may be that more than half of what's wrong with this book has to do with the translator, Jeremy Leggatt.

To begin, the book as a whole is not coherent in construction. The author starts off telling the reader that history has laws and he, with his knowledge, is going to show those laws to you by illustrating them in providing a brief history of capitalism which just happens to be the content of Chapter 2 and consists, in general, of a description of the nine "cores" or major cities that developed a mercantile class, starting off with, after introducing the Greeks and the Mediterranean continent, Bruges, Venice, Antwerp, Genoa and ending up with Amsterdam, Boston, London, New York, and finally Los Angeles.

By the end of Chapter 2, you know nothing about the laws of history nor about any laws in history whatsoever. You only know what the author asserts: there have always been a military class, a religious class, and a mercantile class (as if you needed the author to teach you this!) - and always will be--, though the author's history here serves to show only that the mercantile class was, is, and will be always the very top class.

Secondly, the book then swiftly launches into discussions about the end of the American Empire, planetary war, and then the so-called (by him) planetary democracy for no historical or logical reasoning laid down by any foundation he created, throwing the reader into the future willy-nilly with all sorts of false, wild, outrageous, and quite horrific assertions as if he were himself were engaged in playing a nasty game with the reader.
Read more ›
2 Comments 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews