- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Stated STATED First Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812982894
- ISBN-13: 978-0812982893
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 236 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change Paperback – October 8, 2013
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“Magisterial . . . The passion is unmistakable. So is the knowledge. Practically every page offers an illumination.”—Bloomberg
“In The Future . . . Gore takes on a subject whose scale matches that of his achievements and ambition.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Historically grounded . . . Gore’s strengths lie in his passion for the subject and in his ability to take the long view by putting current events and trends in historical context.”—Publishers Weekly
“Provocative, smart, densely argued . . . a tour de force of Big Picture thinking.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A luminously intelligent analysis that is packed with arresting ideas and facts.”—The Guardian
“This is a great book. From political policy and economics to science and the most thorny ethical issues, Al Gore has stated the human condition and the issues we face forthrightly, fearlessly, and in easily understood language—and has said what must be done. I asked myself halfway through who else could have written a book of this magnitude. The only answer I could imagine was Jefferson.”—E. O. Wilson, Harvard University, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“I’m a pro-growth supply-side economist, so my admiration for Al Gore may seem like an oxymoron. It’s not. This book is amazingly rich in wisdom, practicality, and insight. Al Gore has a portfolio that warrants credibility and is an accomplished polymath who transcends ideology while turning our attention to big issues, big ideas, and big solutions. The Future frames the discussion whether you’re conservative, agnostic, or liberal. It’s a fascinating deep read.”—Arthur B. Laffer, Ph.D.
“Whether he’s discussing cyberspace, the environment, science, or the economy, Al Gore presents in this book, with impressive breadth and well-researched depth, the challenges we have to meet to ensure that they become opportunities rather than threats. If you are concerned about the massive changes the world is just heading into, then you should read this book. If you aren’t, then you must read it!”—Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
About the Author
Former vice president Al Gore is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and a member of Apple Inc.’s board of directors. Gore spends the majority of his time as chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis. Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives four times and the U.S. Senate twice. He served eight years as vice president. He authored the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, and Our Choice. He is a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
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In the end, the world will not be about "sides". It will be, or have been, about the journey of life on this planet. If we have gifted leaders, as Mr. Gore was and is, perhaps the journey will come to miraculous fruition. The world is rapidly changing and Mr. Gore, speaking from a vantage point of rare insights, tells us herein just how it is changing. It is a time of opportunity to be more than we have been. Our youth need to read this, then talk to each other as fellows of a grand journey.
This is a book that should be in every college, high school, or public library, because every person who has or hopes to have children and grandchildren needs to read it. It is about as densely packed with valuable information as a book can be and still be highly readable.
A very brief sampling of each chapter:
Chapter 1: EARTH INC. "We are living with, and in, Earth Inc.: . . . our new hyper-connected, tightly integrated, highly interactive, and technologically revolutionized economy." The two major changes Mr. Gore writes most about are outsourcing (exporting jobs) and robosourcing (workers being replaced by robots and computers) These, Mr. Gore argues, are creating a permanent and continuing decline in work for humans, which will result in reduced demand for goods (because of lack of income), resulting in still more decline in employment . . . a vicious circle. Something will need to be done about it, but what?
Chapter 2: THE GLOBAL MIND "the global Internet and the billions of intelligent devices and machines connected to it--the Global Mind--represent what is arguably far and away the most powerful tool that human beings have ever used, . . . ." Will the global mind become able to outthink even the smartest human? (in some limited ways, it already does) Will the internet continue to be a resource for everyone, or will Earth, Inc. gain full control of it and put an end to net neutrality? Will authoritarian governments continue to be able to stop dissidents from using the internet? Myanmar (Burma) did so only by completely blacking out internet access within its borders.
Chapter 3: POWER IN THE BALANCE "the balance of power among nations is changing dramatically."
In this chapter is the most forthright and acurate statement I have yet seen of what has gone wrong in the United States and in the world:
"until recently--most of the world has looked primarily to the United States of America for leadership . . . ." BUT "The subordination of reason-based analysis to the influence of wealth and power in U.S. decision making has led to catastrophically bad policy choices, sclerotic decision making, and a significant weakening of U.S. influence in the world." Gore makes it clear that this applies regardless of the party in the White House. "American democracy has been hacked. The United States Congress, the avatar of the democratically-elected legislatures in the modern world, is now incapable of passing laws without permission from the corporate lobbies and other special interests that control their campaign finances."
Chapter 4: OUTGROWTH "On every continent," [including Antarctica?] "the population and economy are placing new demands for more food, freshwater, energy, commodities of all kinds, and manufactured products. And worryingly, over the past ten years, multiple indicators have been showing that real physical limits are being reached." On page 149 Gore lists thirteen "threats confronting the ability of the world to expand food supplies."
On page 176: "In 2010, the United Nations reported that the world's migrant population had reached almost 214 million . . . . In the last year for which statistics are available (2009), 740 million internal migrants moved from one region to another inside countries." Let's see, now:
214 million total migrants - 740 million internal migrants leaves: -526 million external migrants . . Wonder what a crowd of -526 million migrants would look like?
Actually, I reckon the U.N. was counting only the external migrants, so the total was 954 million, and it was perfectly clear to Al Gore what he meant, but I just couldn't resist kidding him a bit.
Chapter 5: THE REINVENTION OF LIFE AND DEATH The other chapters are fact-filed and well worth reading, and Gore says a great deal that needs to be said, but they are often depressing. This chapter is almost pure joy to read; it tells about the wonderful advances in human knowledge in recent years. For example: "Some doctors are using neural implants to serve as pacemakers for the brains of people who have Parkinson's disease--and provide deep brain stimulation to alleviate their symptoms." My father died of Parkinson's disease--how I wish he could have received that neural implant! And on page 241, Gore tells about using a 3D printer to make a new lower jaw for an elderly woman! Page 214 mentions "teams of synthetic biologists," but before you get too excited about synthesizing mathematicians or economists or other kinds of scientists, the synthetic biologists are ordinary humans born of women who are specialists in the new field of 'synthetic biology,' which is actually exciting enough.
Chapter 6: THE EDGE "The good news is that we do have the capacity to begin solving the climate crisis--if we awaken to the reality of our circumstances and decide that the future of human civilization is a priority. . . . It means abandoning the illusion that there may be some clever technological quick fix for a planetary emergency that requires a multipronged global strategy . . . ."
Gore cites several encouraging signs, but It also means that we MUST NOT permit the 'business as usual' climate change deniers get away with holding up action until it is too late. Dr. James Hansen has now produced PROOF of global warming that does not depend on any theories or climate models. He has examined the actual RECORDS of temperatures all over the world between 1951 and 2010 (which is a LOT of records) and produced IRREFUTABLE PROOF of significant worldwide warming in 1981-2010 compared to 1951-1980. Al Gore mentions (page 289) that "The warm season is longer; spring is arriving about a week earlier (and fall about a week later) in both the northern and southern hemispheres."
If we don't pass the necessary laws and take the necessary steps to halt global warming, it will probably mean the end of life on Earth, not within the lifetimes of those now living, but within less than 500 years. (see Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, by James Hansen. John Barnes' Mother of Storms is an excellent fictional companion volume to Hansen.
Apparently policy wonks have written reviews. Curious.
Yes it is a complex read...that's why I got it on Audible. I play it in the car.
The book appears well researched and assembled as well as well read by the VP himself. I did speed up the read-back as I do with all books.
I found myself underlining two-thirds of this book, which got a bit silly. Since just reading the highlights next time around isn’t going to save me much time!
Asides from being a highly prescient view of the near-future, on par with his eye-opening An Inconvenient Truth, this book is also an excellent call to arms to make the kind of changes today in our lives and our consciousness that can lead us to a sustainable future, one that we might actually want to live in.
the government has been shut down by the blackmail schemes of a minority within a party and most Americans
feel total disgust. But it is our political system that needs to be considering these issues judiciously and finding solutions.
The issues in the book generate more questions than answers but without intelligently weighing the implications of various ways of addressing them, we are heading for chaos if not anarchy.