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Future Shock Mass Market Paperback – 1970
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We, as individuals and as a civilization, need to understand "the accelerative thrust triggered by man has become the key to the entire evolutionary process on the planet," and Toffler suggests we need to seize control over the rapid waves of change headed our way before they overtake us. Sadly, society does not yet seem to have heeded Toffler's calls to action, and much of our lives are filled with idle, ephemeral distraction while the ground shifts beneath our feet. Climate change science was not as abundant or conclusive in the early 1970s as it is today, so while they're no mention of it in the book (it's also a natural phenomenon, while Toffler focuses on the accelerative thrust of tech), it is a perfect example of how humans need to be more future-oriented and prepared for massive change.
Toffler's writing is well-researched and fast-paced. It reads almost like an action thriller. His descriptions of the accelerative wave of change sweeping through society actually made me anxious as I read--today the force of change is almost tangible; you can feel its pressure everywhere you turn, with all of the complex decisions we're faced with and the new information we're required to process on a daily basis. I'm sure Toffler would find it ironic that I was speed-reading his book--with so much to keep up with, I feel there's no time to read at a leisurely pace anymore.
I appreciated Toffler's self-criticism throughout. He acknowledges that no single idea is "omni-insightful" and that, while some of his suggestions for solutions may appear naive, such as transforming our economy to pay more attention to social and environmental welfare, they are also critical to the survival of the human race.
Do not underestimate Future Shock. Its message is clearly a driving force behind Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity Is Near"; billionaire Carlos Slim identified it as a key resource that helped him anticipate the future.
If you're fascinated by culture and want to understand the strange, fast-paced compression of modern life, this book is essential.
Every couple of months, as you may now be aware, CPU chip speeds in desktop and laptop computers keep increasing. Staying on the cutting edge of technology is almost a full-time job. Next we are faced with an ever-changing cellular phone and MP3 player product range. Now, even the way we read books is changing with things like the ipad and the kindle. Where will this all end? Do we have to keep running just to keep pace with what's happening? The Internet and the dramatic impact that this has made, may not even have been fully envisioned by this author, but it is here and evolving at its own rate, making the earth a global village.
Mr. Toffler attacks this problem in Six Parts as follows:
- The Death of Permanence
- The Limits of Adaptability
- Strategies for Survival
In the end, each of us must formulate our own strategies for this rapidly and ever changing world that we now live in. This author, has given some clinical and effective methods that we can tailor to our own personal situation. We must all continue to adjust or run the risk of being left behind and becoming 'obsolete'.