imho - ymmv
For the first few chapters I was sold - some fascinating analysis of the forces that shape culture and history.
Unfortunately these were the ones that largely dealt with the past and present. When it came to discussing the future (most of the rest of the book), it totally jumped the shark.
At one point the author writes "this may seem like science fiction". Well, yes, but *bad* science fiction - you know, the kind that is unintentionally steampunk because it doesn't recognise just how many anachronistic assumptions it projects into the future?
It is kind of pointless to delve into a point-by-point rebuttal, as there is no reason why I should be any better than the author at predicting the future. But I can probably summarise my disquiet in a couple of themes:
1. Technology - The author massively underestimates and seems quite blind to the impact of technology, especially computing. The internet only gets a passing reference and is not linked to any major factors in the author's thesis. Worse yet, some of the author's most important points are founded on assumptions that are already being eroded by technology in 2013. Case in point is the surveillance and command-and-control imperatives that the author believes will lead to the US establishing "battlestars" in space, which in turn will lead to "World War III" .. yet we are already seeing advances in terrestrial drones outstrip even what the author believe battlestars will be capable of in another 30 years.
2. Sovereign States - there seems to be an underlying assumption that sovereign states are really the only actors on the stage that will shape how history unfolds. It all feels very 18th century - I'm not even sure this is true now, let alone for the next 100 years. It ignores the fact that people are getting harder to control en-masse thanks to globalisation and communications (who predicted the "Arab Spring"?), and it diminishes the influence of other forces, like corporations, or even nature (climate change or not). I'd believe the author's moon settlements more if he cast them as products of private enterprise - lead by the likes of Elon Musk aka Tony Stark - rather than a phoenix-like re-emergence of massive government space programs.
Rating the book is an unexpected quandary. On the one hand, I was engaged enough to enjoy reading to the end. However it was more with comic relief than any sense that I was exploring what might really happen this century. And for a book that is purportedly to be about the future to leave me totally incredulous is kind of the ultimate sin, hence the 1-star.
So unless you are an academic who needs to research everything, I think time might be better spent re-watching something like "Terminator", or "The Day After Tomorrow" - far more enjoyable, and probably just as likely visions of the future. Or more constructively, read Black Swan, because they too seem to be missing from this story.
This is an intermittently interesting extension of current events 100 years into the future. It was written in 2010, and I listened in mid-2014, and it has already begun to veer off the road. I fear that Friedman's projection of Russia's collapse in the 2020s is a bit of wishful thinking, and the lapse of China into irrelevancy in the 2030s is even more fanciful.
Nonetheless, he presents some interesting ways of thinking about current world events and geopolitics. However these ideas wear very thin after a short while, and his notions about space-based conflict in 2050 appear little more than Science Fantasy, given that none of the technology necessary appear to be under any kind of development.
One George Friedman is probably enough for me.
Book Guun Guun
Should have of his predictions come true, the world will be a drastically different place. I hope Friedman is wrong, very wrong.
The possibility that it all may come true.
Hughes brings a voice of believability that a reader wouldn't otherwise get if they were reading the book.
If we study history of the great civilizations that came before us, we can start seeing some parallels and commonalities between the ancients and where we are today as the greatest civilization of the last 100 years.
Friedman does a good job in helping us to get a glimpse of the next 100 years (decade by decade) as our country goes through rising inflation, gas/fuel shortages and prices hikes, population increases, immigration challenges, environmental issues and global climate changes. And those are just internal problems!!! Bleak? Yes and no. We have many technological advantages that our predecessors didn't have, but it’s up to us to identify and use them wisely.
Face it, in a world that is closing in on 10 billion people in our lifetimes, we’re going to all have to figure out how to get along and feed, house, employ, transport, educate and provide medical care on a global scale.
I liked this book a lot and will keep it as a reference for things to come in my lifetime and future generations to come.
Mother, Wife, Cultural Anthropologist, always a scholar and lover of books!
George Friedman doesn't pretend to know the future, he tracks the patterns and follows them on their most likely paths. His knowledge, and global perspective is insightful and he writes in a readable fashion, as if he is your favorite professor sitting across the table with a map and a pot of tea.
Take it for what it is...but it is entertaining.Overall a good story, it is a forecast of what could come after all . From a geopolitical standpoint, I think the first three quarters of the book are excellent and could very well be a glimpse in to the future based off of world history. The last section, I think he was reaching for the stars, literally.Entertaining read!
For over 1 year, I nibbled on this book. It's a difficult listen; in order to absorb the details, I listened to part two in small swabs.
While some may criticize the author's predictions, I enjoyed the geopolitical crystal ball...in small doses.
Considering the nature of the book I can't think of anything to improve the book.
Although the book brings some interesting points regarding the workings of the world in the past, and if we were trying to predict the future based on those principals 10 or 20 years ago I might be convinced, but these days it seems pretty clear that the web changes things.To make a long story short (and incidentally prevent myself from rambling) I think that the future is going to turn up very differently from what is written in this book, which presents a very conservative outlook assuming that things will never change.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book however, I was intrigued at the blind spots that emerge when viewing the future from such a US perspective. Living in Australia, I guess I see Asia, America and Europe in a very different way. Some assumptions about the people are not consistent with my reality and my knowledge and experience of these regions. Having said this, I was very impressed with the sheer depth of knowledge of George Friedman