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Publisher's Summary

One of Bloomberg's Best Books of the Year

The master geopolitical forecaster and New York Times best-selling author of The Next 100 Years focuses on the United States, predicting how the 2020s will bring dramatic upheaval and reshaping of American government, foreign policy, economics, and culture. 

In his riveting new book, noted forecaster and best-selling author George Friedman turns to the future of the United States. Examining the clear cycles through which the United States has developed, upheaved, matured, and solidified, Friedman breaks down the coming years and decades in thrilling detail.

American history must be viewed in cycles - particularly, an 80-year "institutional cycle" that has defined us (there are three such examples - the Revolutionary War/founding, the Civil War, and World War II), and a 50-year "socio-economic cycle" that has seen the formation of the industrial classes, baby boomers, and the middle classes. These two major cycles are both converging on the late 2020s - a time in which many of these foundations will change. The United States will have to endure upheaval and possible conflict, but also, ultimately, increased strength, stability, and power in the world.

Friedman's analysis is detailed and fascinating, and covers issues such as the size and scope of the federal government, the future of marriage and the social contract, shifts in corporate structures, and new cultural trends that will react to longer life expectancies. This new book is both provocative and entertaining.

©2020 George Friedman (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The vitriol of the Trump era masks crises in our economy and governing institutions that will deepen before resolving themselves, according to this probing and ultimately hopeful diagnosis of America’s discontents.... Friedman offers a lucid, stimulating assessment of which way the wind is blowing." (Publishers Weekly)

"[Friedman] offers a sharp analysis of American life, especially the roots of the knack for reinvention that allows the nation to start over after crises. Americans invented their country, he writes, and lacking shared history and culture, 'invented themselves.' Friedman also discusses the nation's reluctance to accept its responsibilities as the 'sole world power' and the tensions between its technocratic and industrial working classes. A provocative, idea-filled burst of prognostication." (Kirkus)

"This book is of obvious general interest but is essential reading for anyone with a role in strategic planning. It combines clear, interesting prose with a thought provoking projection of upcoming challenges and ultimate outcomes." (Douglas Duncan, Chief Economist, Fannie Mae)

What listeners say about The Storm Before the Calm

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For the kids, a golden age

The world we know is over. New challenges face the elites who must recognize the emerging underclass, or perish. The United States will survive, but these changes will be shocking. especially in government and higher education. What follows is a golden age, in which our children will rule. As a child of a family that did not have two nickels to rub together in the 1960s. to find family success backtracking due to bigger forces resonates, since I and my children will not be helpless. Dr. Friedman's work integrates well with Western civilization cyclists such as Barzun but also explains the ideas of the Austrians and Russian radicals, both left and right. It also coheres with competitor Ziehan and frames conspiratorial views of a Quigley or Hulet, the latter of whom is a fan of Friedman. The author addresses the belief that since a Technocracy is complex and incomprehensible, so it must be evil, just as the Democrats, the ultimate technocrats hold the "deplorables" to be well, deplorable and beneath contempt. Rule by these engineers will end and then the power of our representatives will rebuild in better ways; as will government when common sense is restored and the babblers are retooled. But the change in institutions and the economy will not be easy. This is a great and shocking work worthy of at least one honk by a passing car as my jaw dropped.

18 people found this helpful

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Painful Avoidance

There is a clear and painful avoidance of the history of enslaved Africans within the story of America. It leaves the story morbidly inadequate and contextually confusing. This poor integration makes this offering inadequate and dramatically short of Alexis de Tocqueville, so in spite of the polish of Friedman's book, is an attempt to paint reality that was not real. The consequence is that the conclusions and predictions are likely to fall short because the narrative of America's truth was poorly integrated. This prophecy may in fact prove to be false. We shall see.

16 people found this helpful

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Paper or Audible?

This might be one of those Audible books that results in a back up purchase of the physical book. There are concepts, examples, and comparisons that would be handy to have in paper form.

10 people found this helpful

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Great book

Its a profoundly detached analysis of current day politics in the framework of a cyclical transition to a new cycle, similar to the ending of WWII with the move to suburbia and excess capital. The shape of the next cycle is not yet known yet the foundation, demographics, and key institutions to be reformed (e.g. Government technocracy, University admissions and student loans, healthcare) are known. George provides an excellent analysis of each and how the current malfunctions will shape the reforms.

10 people found this helpful

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Thoughtful

I am in my seventies and reading a lot in an attempt to make sense of the chaos I perceive going on around the world and within America. As one might suspect, having memories of life in America dating to the 1950s, I am somewhat overwhelmed by the massive social, economic, technological changes that have occurred AND not a little longing for the (perceived) stability and security blanket of that which I grew up with, global nuclear war notwithstanding. Yet I am very heartened by the amazing (possibilities) that may be ahead. I think, what an amazing world of opportunities await the young people of today. Oh, to get a redo. This book has been a worthwhile read. It has provided food for thought. But I am wise enough to know that predicting the future from past events can, at best, be marginally correct and at worst a wild shot in the dark. No single book can take in to account all the variables affecting outcomes. Recommended other reading: Peter Zeihan “Disunited Nations” and Stephanie Kelton “The Deficit Myth”. I include Stephanie Kelton because both Friedman and Zeihan seem to assume all outcomes will be based upon the neoliberal, Chicago, Milton Friedman economic model. Both apparently assume China is going to fizzle out in the next decade because of sovereign debt but then it still has not happened. Hence my encouragement for other searchers to read “Deficit Myth”.

6 people found this helpful

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Fantastic fantastic fantastic!

Must read. I LOVE this book. I’ve read ~16 geopolitical books in the past couple of weeks and this is one of my favorites. Fascinating conclusions that intimately relate to the lives we will lead in the 21st century.

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PUTS OUR CURRENT TIMES IN CONTEXT

The latest from George Friedman, author of "The Next 100 Years". The current pandemic is not the storm the author refers to. And he views the Trump era as a symptom of a much bigger cyclical change that will unfold sometime over the next 10 years. The book covers: 1) How the American identity was forged; 2) How it evolved from pre-revolutionary colonial days to the present; and 3) How the end of the current institutional (every 80 years) and socio-economic (every 50 years) cycles will coincide during the 2020's and what the US will look like afterwards. Ultimately, a lot of guess work, but very helpful to put our current times in context. I'm not going to spoil it for you but the book does hit on major themes you would expect, such as the US as empire, wealth distribution, evolution of the technocracy, the education system and immigration, amongst others. Most importantly, it's the forecasted changes in these areas that make the book worth reading and the subject of debate.

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great book about the horror of the 2020's

Released just before the pandemic, a story about what is about to happen in the next decade. Now it is happening all at once. The conclusion of a great struggle between the old and young may be answered in a few months. This decade will be far stranger than anyone could have predicted a month ago.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing book forecasting our future

I listened to this book over and over so impressed with the authors clear understanding of our society and ability to predict the future

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Great family read for study & debate.

Very well authored. I enjoyed the audio version and found it to be well read. Packed with history and geo political strategies to spark research and debate. Helps put our current affairs into perspective. This book would be a great family read or listen.

1 person found this helpful