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Publisher's Summary

The world is changing in ways most of us find incomprehensible. Terrorism spills out of the Middle East into Europe. Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and Japan vie to see who can be most aggressive. Financial breakdown in Asia and Europe guts growth, challenging hard-won political stability.

Yet, for the Americans, these changes are fantastic. Alone among the world's powers, only the United States is geographically wealthy, demographically robust, and energy secure. That last piece - American energy security - is rapidly emerging as the most critical piece of the global picture.

The American shale revolution does more than sever the largest of the remaining ties that bind America's fate to the wider world. It re-industrializes the United States, accelerates the global order's breakdown, and triggers a series of wide ranging military conflicts that will shape the next two decades. The common theme? Just as the global economy tips into chaos, just as global energy becomes dangerous, just as the world really needs the Americans to be engaged, the United States will be...absent.

In 2014's The Accidental Superpower, geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan made the case that geographic, demographic, and energy trends were unravelling the global system. Zeihan takes the story a step further in The Absent Superpower, mapping out the threats and opportunities as the world descends into disorder.

©2016 Peter Zeihan (P)2017 Peter Zeihan

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Only worthwhile if you're curious about updates

I really enjoyed The Accidental Superpower (TAS) but this sequel read like it was mostly written on airplanes between Peter's "real work". It has value but gets deep into technical aspects of shale production and repeats much of what the first book said. The remainder of much of the book is a basically fictional gameplay of world conflict between powers, something akin to an intel report. Nukes are a glaring omission in this analysis.

I am still glad I listened to it though. I've listened to this book only a couple months after it was released so it's a more up to date take on the major trends Peter outlined in his first book, taking Trump into account. He also, ever so slightly, backs off some of the more questionable assertions of his first book (do rivers really impact transit THAT much in modern times? Is US GDP really the same as post-WWII?) so it's good to see his methodology tighten a little.

There's not really a cohesive thesis in this book so it meanders and gets a bit long winded at times. If you're very interested in an update from TAS or you're interested in the technical aspects of shale production give it a listen. If not, you're probably ok to give it a pass.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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very interesting look into the potential near futu

Peter has clearly done his homework, making this a very interesting view of what could happen in the near future as the US becomes energy independent and continues on its populist and isolationist path, in particular what this means for the rest of the world as other actors step in to fill the void.

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audiobook is out of order

audiobook is out of order. started at chapter 10 and mid track is where the audiobook really starts

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Great book. Missing pdf of maps.

The first book had a pdf of maps attached. I would have really liked to see that here.

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A unique and well researched forecast.

Great detailed information backing up his forecasts. So even if you disagree, you have all the technical details to draw your own conclusions. Unfortunately the robotic voice of Toby Sheets is not only annoying, it's distracting. Peter Zeihan, please find another narrator for your next book; there are some really great ones.

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Great book. Non human narrator.

Loved the book. I'm not sure the narator was human. Pronunciation of proper nouns was all over the place and the mechanical sound was present throughout.

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Fantastic

I listened to the Accidental Superpower and enjoyed it. The Absent Superpower starts out pretty dry, focusing A LOT on oil and shale. About halfway through it kicks things into full gear and you’re sent on a journey exploring what “the coming disorder” will look like by region. Highly recommend this series.

The performance by the narrator was superior to the Accidental Superpower. Everything seemed to flow more naturally and he kept it more interesting throughout than the previous Narrator.

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Great book, insightful perspective

Peter has a model of describing the world that is very educational. Both the method and conclusions are very interesting and added to my understanding of the forces shaping the world today.

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Future of the Energy Sector

Loved it!
learnt alot about the future of how energy shapes geopolitics such as how northeast Asia needs to build a navy in order to get the oil back home in the future of post bretton woods.

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A timely follow-up to the authors last book.

Zeihan's last book, The Accidental Superpower, was well written, well-read, and covers topics in an easy to understand way. The Absent Superpower follows-up on many of those topics with insight relevant to the rapidly changing world and adds content and topics not covered in the last book. I sincerely hope a third book relevant to the many changes that have happened since its release is in the works and available soon.

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  • Howard Wright
  • 05-06-18

Brilliant, insightful book

I found this to be a brilliant book which, explains the state of the world, explains the fundamental importance of oil in the world, and sets out the writer's compelling case for fundamental change in the world's order.

I had not realised that the origin of free trade was the USA's need for security post WW2. I hadn't realised the effect of shale oil on the USA's oil security. I hadn't realised that the USA could cut itself off from trade with the world without doing itself that much damage.

I strongly recommend this book for revealing the true state of the world, and the major changes which might occur in the near future. The narration is excellent too.

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  • Javier
  • 11-11-17

Way too similar to the first book.

I was excited to get into this book because I liked the first one. But it’s just too similar to the first. I honestly felt bored listen to this book because everything that would have been exciting to listen to has already been covered in the accidental superpower. Skip this book.