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The Long Boom Hardcover – September 9, 1999

3.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Thanks to various technological, fiscal, and political revolutions that have reshaped our world over the past two decades, some observers believe, the new millennium will offer opportunities for economic expansion that rival any previously recorded. The Long Boom is a fascinating attempt to pin down this potential upsurge by combining a shrewd examination of where we've been headed for the last 20 years with a plausible forecast of where--with a bit of good fortune and tenacity--we might be going during the next 20. Moreover, its unique mixture of germane facts and figures with supportable projections and original storytelling techniques (most notably a letter to friends sent once a decade by a fictional observer born in 1960) make it as readable as it is provocative.

Originating as an article in Wired magazine, the optimistic scenario envisioned by authors Peter Schwartz (chairman of a combination think tank and consulting firm), Peter Leyden (a technology, economics, and political journalist), and Joel Hyatt (a Stanford entrepreneurship professor who cofounded the legal-services firm bearing his name) integrates existing and potential technological advancements, financial developments, political upheavals, and social movements. Among its predictions are a formulation of a "glass pipeline" that seamlessly tracks manufacturing and production processes, creation of a volunteer Global Corps to aid developing nations, the dawning of a true Space Age, and the birth of a unified worldwide society with "well-off people who share certain values that are transcending borders." The account is highly recommended to everyone concerned with, yet hopeful about, the future. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly

Based on an article originally published in Wired, this book suffers from the expansion, as the authors have to keep finding ways of telling readers that things will be great in the near future. Schwartz is chairman of Global Business Network, a consulting firm; Leyden was managing editor of Wired; Hyatt teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Written with the same optimism about the economy as Dow 36,000 (Forecasts, Aug. 30), this sunny look at the future goes beyond the stock market to take an upbeat gander at the way we will live in the next century. To say that the authors are bullish is an understatement. Alternative energy sources, biotechnology and increased productivity figure prominently in their rosy scenarioAthe key to which is continued and extended economic growth in the developed world, which will trickle down to the developing world and create a global middle class. But in their zeal to describe how all parts of the world will participate in and benefit from the long boom, the authors make sweeping and potentially offensive generalizations: Asians, for example, while not good at "improvisation," are "extremely adept at mastering set courses and memorizingAfar better than" Westerners. The authors are on safer ground discussing technology, but their attitude toward this future is entirely passive. They give the impression that we will all sit back and marvel at the forthcoming human accomplishments, and that this will provide the chief pleasure in the future. Yet their vision is exciting, and the authors articulate it with the panache of Alvin TofflerAand the kind of wide-eyed confidence in the future that characterized the 1939 World's Fair. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (September 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738200743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738200743
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,472,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Those who have already read The Art of the Long View no doubt share my high regard for the vision, precision, and eloquence which Peter Schwartz brings to subjects of special interest to him. They are once again in evidence (indeed in abundance) in this book which he co-authored with Peter Leyden and Joel Hyatt. Theirs is a shared vision of "the coming age of prosperity." What exactly does that mean? The answer is suggested in the Introduction: "The Long Boom is a positive meme about a better future. A meme is a contagious idea that can quickly spread around the world and influence what people think and do....The idea soon takes on a life of its own, out of anybody's control, flitting from computer host to computer host in an exponential expansion that spreads around the world....[The book] starts with the recognition that the world is faced with a historic opportunity. What we call the Long Boom -- the years from 1980 to 2020 --is a period of global transformation. No other age ever possessed the tools or the knowledge to do what we can do today." From the authors' perspective, what they call the Long Boom is half in the past and half in the future. "We refer to the Long Boom in both senses throughout the book."
There are four Parts followed by an Afterword.
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Format: Hardcover
The Long Boom is a primer for the 21st century. It provides in-depth overviews of critical emerging technologies and trends, familiarizing the reader with promising developments coming in the future. Furthermore, it espouses a plan of action based on optimism, globalism, and growth. And the optimism is not empty. Rather, optimism about the Long Boom is based on a series of careful arguments about emerging technologies and global cultures. In short, the Long Boom uncovers the strength of global cultures and the positive impact of future technologies. According to Schwartz and Leyden, however, the Long Boom won't just happen, but rather will depend upon our contributions. This normative scenario will require that we all join together to promote openness, globalism, and progress. If you're going to read one book before the new millenium, you should read this one. Because it really matters, and requires us to make it happen.
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Format: Hardcover
The Long Boom is one of those rare books that really does transform the way we look at our world. It is comprehensive though not excessively long, thoughtful without being pedantic and optimistic without a trace of Pollyanna. The authors' style is open and non-defensive: this is a pretty courageous book to write while we are still living in an era of cynicism, in which the highest personal virtue is to be skeptical. That societal attitude will no doubt eventually pass, but you shouldn't wait until it does to read this. If you think ours is a world of endless possibilities, that humanity has great potential and that you can personally make a difference, now is the time to read The Long Boom.
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Format: Hardcover
This easy-to-read, collaborative, and well-edited book reads like a mystery novel without the mystery as the plot is revealed in the introduction. The story is about the economic opportunity before the world now. Three technological waves (futurists love waves) are washing the shores of nations worldwide: the internet, biotechnical manipulation and lower-cost energy. This is however less a book about technology and more about a new politics (think, fresh mind sets) needed to renew lagging economies, save the planet, enhance the role of women, prepare for the new sciences and, thus, realize a new global civilization.
The authors' method of discovery (i.e., research) was world-touring among an impressive list of leading thinkers.
The story begins in the previous century (1980's, more or less) and ends about 2050, 30 years beyond the predicted new civilization.
The result is some kind of "blue print" for the future. The story will warm the hearts of optimists; pessimists will be less convinced.
The book comes with a fine index, rather general footnotes, an annotated bibliography and the now ubiquitious web site illustrating one of the 10 principle beliefs/behaviors the authors' promote: Stay Connected.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a big Schwartz fan from "Art of The Long View". That being the case, I was disappointed to see that he didn't take his own advice in structuring the content of "The Long Boom". "The Long View" stressed developing best, worst and most likely scenariois to develop plans of actions to deal with future events. "The Long Boom" from my perspective dwells only on the best case scenario. Environmental and social issues are addressed, but the scenario is too tidy to believe. The strength of the book revolves around the explanation of ground-breaking technologies on the horizon. I think the integration of these technologies are very plausible, but remain to be seen. The book is definitely worth a read.
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