• The Accidental Superpower

  • The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder
  • By: Peter Zeihan
  • Narrated by: Peter Zeihan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 11-04-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (958 ratings)

Regular price: $29.65

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Publisher's Summary

In the best-selling tradition of The World Is Flat and The Next 100 Years, The Accidental Superpower will be a much discussed, contrarian, and eye-opening assessment of American power.

In The Accidental Superpower, international strategist Peter Zeihan examines how geography, combined with demography and energy independence, will pave the way for one of the great turning points in history, and one in which America reasserts its global dominance.

No other country has a greater network of internal waterways, a greater command of deepwater navigation, or a firmer hold on industrialization technologies than America. Zeihan argues that the future is undoubtedly bright for America, the only country with enough young adults to fill the capital-generating void that will be left behind by 2030. The Accidental Superpower also explores shale oil and its surprising key role in America's move toward energy independence and how it will shape (and is already shaping) American life for the next 50 years.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Peter Zeihan (P)2014 Hachette Audio

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Drifting towards isolationism


“The Accidental Superpower” (Superpower) is a surprisingly interesting and powerful analysis about the geopolitical state of the world. The author, Peter Zeihan, uses regional histories, geographic topographies, demographic trends, and economic data to make predictions about the conditions of specific countries between 2015 and 2030. The big winners are Mexico and the United States. The big losers are Russia and China. However, its Zeihan’s culmination of the data that makes his hypotheses so compelling.

Zeihan, who also expertly reads the book, does not stray far from the data when making predictions about the world’s future. “Superpower” opens with the author discussing his love and obsession with maps. Zeihan suggest that a county’s financial and military success can be strongly correlated to its native topography. The author posits that the United States is the supreme superpower due to its numerous internal rivers that result in the cheap transport of goods, large costal oceans that provide a natural defensive border from hostile nations, and fertile farmlands that can feed the masses. No other country or superpower comes close to having the topographical advantages inherent to the United States.

Although Zeihan predicts the United States will continue its dominant superpower status for the foreseeable future, there will be bumps along the way as the country moves toward a more isolationist political policy. The shift toward isolationism is in part a result of achieving energy independence through increased petroleum production due to the Shale revolution. Simply put, the United States will have minimum incentive to protect oceanic trading corridors when energy independence is achieved. This sets the occasion for global disorder through regional conflicts and wars as the United States loses interest in policing water corridors across the world.

Readers of nonfiction and geopolitics will very much enjoy “Superpower”. I provided a very small taste of what this powerful and interesting book has to offer readers.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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You need to read this book. Pretty darn accurate.

From what I have personally researched this accounting appears the author may be spot on. Excellent narration as well. One needs to read this material. Not a gloom and doom outlook either; just realistic. I felt I was being carried through a futuristic journey in a time machine. Very well organized.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Soudant
  • Jupiter, FL, United States
  • 03-23-15

DDD: Demographics Determine Destiny

This is an important book that covers the world quickly with a variety of hard conclusions that should keep leaders up at night. The winner, in the author's view, is the United States but it will not be easy and certainly not pretty. In it he argues quite persuasively, and evidence suggests accurately, that America will quietly withdraw from its military and many other global engagements in the coming years. The U.S. refusal to get involved by sending military or arms to Ukraine, mid-east, Nigeria is part of emerging national policy of withdrawal.

These changes may be just the beginning if the US quietly pulls back its' military from arenas far away from our shores. Is there a compelling reason to remain in Germany, Japan and South Korea; after all these are large self-sufficient countries that have not had to bear the cost of an expensive military. Significantly today the US is almost energy independent and has little to no need for Gulf or Venezuelan oil. Is pulling back troops and diverting resources to social programs not on the top of the liberal/democrat wish list? On the other hand vocal conservatives want to return to Fortress America while putting an end to deficit spending. Welcome to 1930s.

The book relies heavily on demographics. Europe, China, Russia and other parts of the world are aging quickly yet face huge outlays to support their older population. Russia, in Zeihan's view, will simply fade (but perhaps not without a fight, to insignificance as it becomes older, sicker and less able to defend its vast borders. The Arabs on the other hand have a large and growing restless youth population with few internal resources to provide for a fulfilling life. Even worse, without substantial imports the Arab countries (and others) can not feed themselves because there is a lack of good soil, rainfall and efficient distribution.

The book covers the geography, political environment and demographics of several major countries and generally their prospects are dimming; particularly those countries which are aging quickly. Other countries, in his view will have difficulties maintaining cohesion. Among that list, to my surprise, is Canada whose provinces are already at odds with each other over distribution of resource and wealth.

Mr. Zeihan is not bashful about his dramatic and usually unpleasant conclusions. e.g.; Europe will come unglued over debt and finances, an old Japan will lose its remaining dynamism, China’s western areas will pull apart the rest of the country and Alberta Canada could try to leave Canada and become a 51st State. Although, in his view, the U.S. will prevail I get the sense it will be more like the one eyed man in the land of the blind and not the robust future we hope for. He acknowledges, but does not dwell, coming water and climate change issues. Perhaps that will be his next book. Should the current U.S. western drought continue and cause massive crop failures and should the 2010 Russian crop collapse repeat simultaneously many people in the world will not have enough food to live because their geography will not support the large populations that have emerged in the past several decades.

Finally, I “read" this book through Audible where Peter Zeihan is his own narrator. He is as good as the Hollywood trained professional voices so if Geopolitics does not work out for him then he has an alternative career reading books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well written, great ideas, but stinks of propaganda.

First half is really good. The analysis of the geopolitical present and predicted future using geography logistics and demography are elements I have not thought of before. Helps me see more ingredients that contribute to the whole geoP picture. But the smoking gun that implies that this book may be propaganda is that there is never any explanation, let alone even a mention of monetary policy or what central banks role is or will be. I also sensed subtle manipulative writing techniques. Kind of a bait and switch technique to possibly get one to believe things that they normally wouldn't. It seems like the first and last halves were written by two different people. The first had a more matter of fact tone and didn't seem manipulative. The last is where I picked up the manipulative techniques and it had an "US eminent domain" tone. Obviously written by a very intelligent person(s).

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent job.

Learned a lot of new things around the world, geopolitical facts about USA, Canada, Mexico as well as Europe. Suprising new things of China are of great importance. Thanks.

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    4 out of 5 stars

fabulous geopolitical read

Fabulous read for those who have an interest in the geopolitical world and its implications on the future. The most interesting part to me was the baby-boomer's retirement financial contribution and it's impacts on the financial system. One con of the book is that it comes across as a bit ethnocentric. One sentence book summary: the long-term USA future is bright and everyone else is in for a world of hurt.

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Historical grounding, but simplistic conclusions.

A better name would be: "Geography, Demographics, and some plausable scenarios that could happen if the world was an explicitly Zero Sum Game and world leaders only had one driver/motivation each". This author skips over so many glaring complexities and accidentally makes a case for why realist international politics is outdated. Interesting analysis of demographics and geography, maybe, but not a useful guide to the future of inter-state relations.

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fantastic book

i loved it. the content and the arguments laid out was fantastic. can't wait to get the next book

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Beautifully informative and wonderfully narrated!

Immersive explanations of different political, economic, and social structures throughout the world both pre and post Bretton Woods. An essential read for any well informed audience.

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Another take on America as the sole superpower

with an interesting read on how it happened--by accident as the title suggests-and a nice summary of U.S. geopolitical history until it was achieved. But the real point that Zeihan makes is that by a set of accidental circumstances including geography, demographics, and new energy independence, the U.S., by closing it doors to the world, will reemerge onto the global stage, once again, as the only viable leader. An interesting take, and one that actually gives pause to consider today, with an American first administration in place. Unlike other works on the U.S. as the superpower, this one is more intellectually engaging and provides good food for thought. I was happy to have read it. Likewise, I was happy to hear that Zeihan has a new book out, as a follow-up to this one. Its on my wish list already.

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  • Anonimo Nonlodico
  • 01-12-16

Thought provoking

Highly interesting, intelligent and nonconformist view on the geopolitical and economic developments ahead of us. Well worth listening to!

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  • Jamie Cottam
  • 06-08-17

Stunning in scope and terrifying in substance.

A thorough and broad overview of what the world will look like between now and 2030. Without spoiling too much, bad for every country that is not America.