Saturday, February 26, 2022

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert

I read the first 3 chapters and thought to myself, "This should be a Netflix series." And so I sent Elizabeth Kolbert a message on Twitter, and she responded! Exciting! 

That's besides the point, which is that this book is one the examines a small handful of very interesting topics, and Kolbert intertwines their relevance back to the impacts of climate change and man's defiance of nature. Take a singular natural occurrence, understand it's evolution over time - how's it changed / adapted / grown / shrunk / morphed - and you'll find that we've unknowingly and unconsciously altered that instance's course of existence. And then once we've learned that we've altered it, we try to reverse engineer the process to revert it back to old - what we think it should have been. 

As humans, we've become skilled at deviating a natural path, trying to course-correct it, but impacting other natural processes simultaneously. All this to say that while we think we can control the uncontrollable, the only thing we're really doing is harming ourselves in the process. 

Kolbert makes it so easy to visualize and comprehend that these seemingly inconsequential issues are just a sampling of the global damage occurring on a daily basis, some with a butterfly effect

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Saturday, February 12, 2022

Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future by Rohit Bhargava

When you pick up a book in a series, the biggest fear is that you won't be able to fully appreciate references that are made in the latest edition. That is definitely not the case here as the Non Obvious series is crafted in such a way that there are recaps to support the continuation of trends that weren't so obvious in the past. You get a glimpse at the genesis and evolution of ideas, the divergence in the paths from the old trend, or the support and building blocks to the current trend. The book allows you to imagine how things may play out or fizzle. 

While the collection starts with the methodology in seeking out or identifying trends, the heart of this book consists of Bhargava's current thoughts on trends that we're unconsciously following and contributing to in society. And the tail end recaps and assesses the past identified trends, whether they survived or flopped or took an alternative route and nevertheless blossomed into something else. 

I enjoyed this book for the easy read it was and the hints at what to look for in trendsetting across a variety of industries / subjects. I think this book will really hit hard for the creatives and analytics in our lives. Designers, marketers, advertisers, investors, retailers, and people interested in the possibilities of our future will find a topic to cling to and see out. 

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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People—and the Fight for Our Future by Alec J. Ross

I read this book along with The Future Is Faster Than You Think simultaneously and thought it was the best decision I've made in 2021 thus far. While the latter gave us thoughts about convergence in the future, this book attacked the future with a tint of history. It's written with a cause and effect premise examining the economic and political factors of the past to get us to where we are now with a look at what could be of our future if things do or don't change. 

A simple look at the table of contents hints at the direction the book endeavors to take, but a thorough appreciation for the contents will reveal insights about our present in hopes of making the future brighter. The only thing certain is that change is necessary. The questions are, "How?", "When?", "What will it take?", and "Who's in?"

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The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler

I've been thinking about the future a lot lately. You may have noticed a couple of the books I read last year were about the future (The Storm Before the Calm: America's Discord, the Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond, 2030: How Today's Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything, and How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need). My interest was mostly driven by my want to become a better investor but also my curiosity about what changes should I expect / anticipate and prepare for. This is another title to add to my collection of "books- that-I-read-during-the-pandemic-because-the-future-seems-uncertain."

Seriously. The Future is Faster Than You Think couldn't be a more apt title. Getting through this book made me more aware of some of the technologies that are already available, maybe not commercially yet, but certainly out there. Given the exponential growth in technology and the development of our understanding and capabilities, I would not be surprised if many if not all of the ideas / thoughts detailed here become available to the common person in our lifetime. 

What's really more interesting than the ideas and products are the ways in which they come together to change the world. In what the book describes as convergence, the overlap of what we dream up, what gets created, who it's available to, when it's available, what it improves or solves, and how it changes our lives personally / economically / politically is what makes this read hard to put down and compelling. 

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Monday, January 10, 2022

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

A sequel to the hit novel and major motion picture by Ernest Cine called Ready Player One, this novel was just as easy to read with great detail and description making your imagination build as if a Roblox or Minecraft world. If you were a child of the 80s / 90s or just a fanatic of the gaming and entertainment worlds, the references throughout the book will be easy to identify. And your memories will be brought to the forefront of your mind making for a blast from the past through reading. 

While entertaining, I thought the book was too long and the storyline predictable for the most part. However, the ending was certainly interesting and a look into a real possibility in the not so distant future. And there's plenty of futuristic ideas in here that maybe aren't so futuristic at all since we are starting to see some of the electronics and gadgets become more commonplace and slowly affordable (ie. haptics). 

I'll say that it's an enjoyable, leisure time read and worth it if you've read the first book. It also seems like there might be a 3rd book given the ending... or maybe I'm just reading into it? 

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