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The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World Hardcover – September 27, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Jeremy Rifkin was always ahead of his time. The New Industrial Revolution confirms that the times have caught up with him. It is no longer possible to ignore his vision for the future of humankind.” ―Calestous Juma, Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School

“Jeremy Rifkin argues that green energy and the internet will revolutionize society and the environment...With the European Union already on board, this is a big idea with backbone.” ―Nature

“Impeccably argued…a compelling and cogent argument to overhaul our society and economy in favor of a distributed and collaborative model.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Rifkin connects the two defining technologies of the 21st Century -- the Internet and renewable energies -- giving us a powerful new economic vision for the future. As we look to regrow the economy, generate millions of jobs, and create a sustainable future for our children, the Third Industrial Revolution offers an indispensable roadmap.” ―Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group

“Mr. Rifkin clearly outlines the challenges facing our global community, and creates a vision for business leaders, government and citizens.” ―John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco

“The creative thinking of Jeremy Rifkin has been inspiring policy makers and citizens alike. This book shows the key role renewables and modern technologies can play in our transition to a low-carbon economy.” ―José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

“This is a remarkable piece of work from one of the foremost thinkers of our time…Rifkin has come up with a visionary and innovative economic development model that ensures the sustainability of our natural resources and ecosystems.” ―Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

“A brilliant new economic paradigm to guide the human journey in the 21st century. Jeremy Rifkin's comprehensive Third Industrial Revolution vision, which is the centerpiece of Rome's long-term economic development plan, provides a blueprint for every city in the world to create a sustainable and prosperous society.” ―Gianni Alemanno, Mayor of Rome

“More than thought provoking… a call for action to policy makers and business leaders to embrace the opportunity of a society and economy driven by sustainable innovation and powered by renewable and distributed energy.” ―Rudy Provoost, CEO of Philips Lighting

About the Author

Jeremy Rifkin is president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and the author of eighteen bestselling books, including The Hydrogen Economy and The End of Work. He has been a guest on Face the Nation, The Lehrer News Hour, 20/20, Larry King Live, Today, and Good Morning America. The National Journal named Rifkin as one of 150 people in the U.S. that have the most influence in shaping federal government policy. He has also testified before numerous congressional committees, and since 1994, Mr. Rifkin has been a senior lecturer at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rifkin is chairman of the Global CEO Business Roundtable, which includes IBM, Cisco, Cushman and Wakefield, and has served as an adviser to various global leaders, including Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Angela Merkel of Germany. His monthly column on global issues appears in many of the world's leading newspapers and magazines, including The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian in the U.K., Die Süddeutsche Zeitung in Germany, Trud in Bulgaria, Clarín in Argentina, and Al-Ittihad in the U.A.E. He lives in Bethesda, MD.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230115217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230115217
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"The Third Industrial Revolution" offers a fascinating look at Jeremy Rifkin's views on the future of energy and the economy. Rifkin believes we are on the verge of a new industrial revolution that will transform the economy and society in a similar way to the major changes that occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Rifkin's "third" industrial revolution is based on "five pillars:" (1) A general shift to renewable energy. (2) Micro-generation of clean energy in homes, offices and other buildings. (3) Hydrogen and other forms of energy storage in homes and throughout the economy (4) an "Internet-like" smart energy grid that would allow individuals to generate power and then distribute it, and (5) Conversion of transportation away from fossil fuels to electric plug-in or hydrogen fuel cells.

While the book contains a lot of insightful analysis, I think it gives short shrift to the problem of jobs. Technology and globalization are increasingly destroying well-paid opportunities for workers in developed countries. The book does discuss this, but only in the very last few pages. This is surprising because, of course, Rifkin wrote a book about this issue in the 1990s ("The End of Work"). Now, however, he seems to buy into the more conventional view that green jobs will solve the problem of unemployment.

I'm doubtful of that. Technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics are accelerating and will soon have a dramatic impact. Advancing technology will also make offshoring of high wage jobs a bigger and bigger problem in the West.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is good, but it's definitely verbose, as it repeats the same concepts over and over again. There is no doubt that the author is well versed in the subject matter, both in breadth and depth, but there is only so much one can espouse about the transformation of modern society from a fossil-fuel based economy to a renewable-energy based economy. Yes, Europe is way ahead of the United States in achieving the 5 factors that will successfully transform society into the Third Industrial Revolution - we get it. Oh, you want to make the point again? O.K. - got it. Again? Really? There is no need to study that concept ad-nauseum from every conceivable angle. For the layperson, this book is a little much. I think I put it down permanently about midway through... Wait a month and buy it used in order to save yourself some $$'s and thus form your own mini economic revolution.
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Format: Hardcover
The concepts that Rifkin puts forward are incredibly important to the future of our economy, but more importantly to combating climate change. I so want to like this book, because more people need to become familiar with these concepts. But the writing! Mr. Rifkin, it is very nice that you have had dinner with Angela Merkel, and met with many heads of state, but this does almost nothing for your narrative. It reads more like an ego trip than a description of the very important process of communicating ideas, and the development of long range plans for the implementation of those ideas. The book could be a great resource as well, but is incredibly under-footnoted, so it has very little value for further research. A real disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard an interview with him and was really inspired. So, I got this book. Well, the interview was Great. The book isn't. His vision and ideas are really compelling. I hope I see it all come to pass. However, I couldn't finish the book. It is mostly a chronicle of all the discussions that have happened with many governments. That's all a bit dull. It will make for good history when the TIR happens.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
More than half the children born today in the United States or Europe will live to see the 22nd Century. In theory.

However, if you're unreservedly optimistic about the future of today's young children, chances are you haven't been paying attention. In the face of global warming, overpopulation, resource limits, and the growing number of species going extinct, it's difficult to look far ahead without wondering whether the human race can truly meet the existential challenges we face.

Jeremy Rifkin thinks we can. He is both a realist, and, if at least one of his many books can be believed, an optimist. In The Third Industrial Revolution, he lays out a comprehensive platform on which the human race can build a sustainable future. His vision of the future is nothing less than brilliant.

To be sure, Rifkin isn't predicting that his vision will take hold. He's hoping it will. The Third Industrial Revolution is, above all, hopeful.

Rifkin's vision is complex and wide-ranging. Within the 300 pages of The Third Industrial Revolution, he delves into energy, communications, transportation, history, economics, thermodynamics, paleontology, philosophy, psychology, education, and numerous other subjects. It's a dazzling display of erudition.

The author notes that the Second Industrial Revolution from which we're now emerging was dominated by the telephone, the automobile, and fossil fuels. That's hard to dispute. The Third Industrial Revolution is being built on the foundation of the Internet and renewable energy, leading humanity forward into a post-carbon era - and that's the part that requires the reader to "suspend disbelief," as the writers of science fiction ask us to do.
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