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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Future really is Better than you think
Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler is a well-researched and hugely optimistic book. Its central thesis is that new technologies are going to solve many of the world's resource problems over the coming ten to twenty years, bringing about a world of future abundance. The book's structure follows what the authors term 'The Abundance Pyramid': water, food,...
Published 16 months ago by IndependentHead

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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Non-Science
The quality of this book or perhaps its authors is summed up in this quote "...enough solar power hits one square kilometer of Africa's desert to produce the equivalent of one and a half million barrels of oil or three hundred tons of coal." page 157. Even the more intuitive reader might ask how long it takes for this amount of energy i.e. the equivalent of one and a half...
Published 17 months ago by T. H. F. Havas


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Future really is Better than you think, 13 May 2013
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This review is from: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (Paperback)
Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler is a well-researched and hugely optimistic book. Its central thesis is that new technologies are going to solve many of the world's resource problems over the coming ten to twenty years, bringing about a world of future abundance. The book's structure follows what the authors term 'The Abundance Pyramid': water, food, shelter, energy, education, health care and freedom (a hierarchy of human needs based loosely on Maslow). Each of these needs are explored in depth and the authors share insights from leading edge research and the likely benefits that they might bring.
Energy
Take, for example, energy, "arguably the most important lynchpin for abundance" (p.156): where is all the energy going to come from? The authors explore three options: solar and photovoltaics, synthetic biofuels and "fourth generation" nuclear power. Of these, they argue, solar has the most potential: "The German Aerospace Centre estimates that the solar power in the deserts of North Africa is enough to supply forty times the present world electricity demand" (p.157). The chapter unpacks each of these three energy sources as well as outlining other significant technical developments, which will enhance these, such as Liquid Metal Battery technologies which promise to enable us store clean energy; and development of "an intelligent network of power lines, switches and sensors able to monitor and control energy down to the. Level of a single lightbulb" (p.169).
Alongside discussion of the developments in these key areas, the authors outline four key drivers of technological progress:
The DIY Innovator - collaboration through e Internet means that small groups are far more powerful than ever before. On the Wikipedia principle, it is possible for enthusiasts and experts to work together to solve problems more efficiently than is possible in large corporations.
The Technophilanthropists - Billionaire philanthropists, such as Microsoft's Bill Gates and eBay's founder Pierre Omidyar, are pouring resources into solving many of the world's problems on a scale that previously was possible only at a Governmental level. Unlike e Mega-rich philanthropists of the past (Rockefeller, Vanderbilt Carnegie et al) the current breed are young and see the world (as opposed to NYC/USA as their stage).
The Rising Billion - "the bottom billion" (= four billion people) are becoming connected and are set to be net economic contributors and consumers in the next two decades.
The Power of Incentive Competitions - competitions with large prizes put up by philanthropists have a long history of promoting innovation and technological break-throughs. (Here Peter Diamandis is plugging the X-PRIZE of which he is the founder and CEO, but the argument is nevertheless an interesting one.
The World of Abundance:
The world of Abundance is one where all are fed and watered and there is enough power that we can start to clean up the planet by removing carbon from the atmosphere or to think about investigating Space seriously. People will continue to get healthier as medicine becomes "predictive, personalised, preventive and participatory" (= P4 medicine; p.201-3); X-ray machines will be the size of a suitcase (p.194), spare organs will be 3-D printed or cultivated to order from stem cells (p.200-1) and most, if not all Blue-collar work will be taken over by robots, including care of the elderly (how do you feel about the prospect of "robo-nurse"?). Robots will also perform routine, repetitive operations (e.g. Cataract p.197).

Education
In the context of such abundantly interesting read, the chapter on Education was a little disappointing, but that's perhaps only because it was the area with which I am most familiar. The authors retrace the New Delhi hole-in-the-wall research, Negroponte's One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative, before regurgitating Sir Ken Robinson's critique of the present educational system (see Sir Ken's TED talk "Schools kill Creativity").
Learning like Video Games
However, there is an eloquent argument that "we need to make learning a lot more like video games and a lot less like school" (p.183). Indeed there may be much to learn from the ways in which Game Designers motivate gamers and reward success. Game designers never give negative or bad grades because gamers don't like it. Lee Sheldon, a professor at the University of Indiana, has "implemented an 'experience points' game based design. Students begin a semester as a level zero avatar (equivalent to an F) and strive toward a level 12 (an A). This means that everything you do in class produces forward motion, and students always know exactly where they stand - two conditions that serve to motivate." This makes enormous sense. We are all familiar with Dweck's research that demonstrate that many pupils prefer to do the same puzzle again and again rather than attempting a harder puzzle for fear of failing. Yet, many of those very same pupils will devote hours of their free time gaining experience to get to the next level in a computer game.
The Inverted School

The Khan Academy is held up as a model for classroom teaching of the future (yes, you read it correctly): Los Altos School District in California "are taking an approach that inverts the 200-year old schoolhouse model":
"Instead of teachers using classroom time to deliver lectures, students are assigned to watch Khan Academy videos as homework, so that class time can be spent solving problems . . . This lets teachers personalise education trading their sage-on-stage role for that of a coach. Students now work at their own pace and only advance to the next topic they have thoroughly learned the last." (p.186-7)
Conclusion
Abundance is a fascinating and challenging read for anyone who is interested in learning about what the future might hold. The book is fully indexed and referenced and has some informative indices outlining the data - mainly in graphic form - which supports the thesis. Above all it is a much-needed and most welcome counterblast to the doomsday scenarios perpetuated in the media. Lets hope we can build a future where our grandchildren will in a world of abundance.
The Author
The principal author, Peter Diamandis, is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE foundation and co-founder and executive chairman of Singularity University, which appears to be a very interesting think-tank that brings together forward-thinkers and futurists and whose mission is mission is "to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges" (worth a look).
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Achievable optimism, 15 May 2012
Abundance is about what can be achieved, provided we set the right goals.

There are inevitably political and bureaucratic hurdles before these goals come to fruition, however, hurdles are for jumping over, not directly into, and given the track record of the prime author Peter Diamandis along with his detailed derivation as to the logic behind the arguments put forward, there sure is a basis here for optimism.

Well worth a read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring!, 7 May 2014
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A book that shows how human mind can create technologies that can help humankind to meet its aspirations. I recommend it - really nice read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to solve the wold's problems, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (Paperback)
I read a lot on a wide variety of topics, but this is one of the most inspiring and uplifting books I have ever read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent read, 10 Mar 2014
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An excellent read giving an understanding of the problems the world faces, and some ideas about how we'll go about fixing them.

Recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars mind blowing, 16 Jan 2014
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This is a fascinating look at the history of human kind and opens your eyes to a world of possibilities for tomorrow. Inspiring and informative, I recommend that everyone on the planet should read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read of optimism and hope!, 9 Jan 2014
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I so glad I read this book! There is so much pessimism in the world today and this book blows that apart with gusto. Thanks to the authors for opening my eyes to the new world of optimism and abundance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book, 5 Nov 2013
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I want all my friends and family to read this book, left me feeling far more positive about the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars must read book, 24 Sep 2013
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Really loved it! amazing book - a must read, interesting and factual ways in which we can save our future
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5.0 out of 5 stars We all have enough., 1 Sep 2013
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A very interesting, thought provoking , hopeful book. It accentuates the positive as well as addressing the negatives and reminds us that the human race can be very resourceful if we don't let corporate greed get in the way
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Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis (Paperback - 7 Jun 2012)
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