The most important book of the year, and actually the most important book of the next eighty-one years, is The Future Is Faster Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Diamandis is the creator of the XPRIZE, the Abundance 360 conference, and the world’s leading authority on where the world is going. Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the world’s leading expert on ultimate human performance.
“The reason these books are so important,” Kotler explains, “is that we’re going to see more technological change in the next eighty-one years than we’ve seen in the history of mankind. We’re looking at a convergence of technologies, which is going to transform every aspect of our lives, from flying cars to medicine and longevity, from retail to education.
“It’s coming so quickly that we thought the world needed a roadmap, because this is not a time to be left behind.”
Diamandis and Kotler rocked the world with the publishing of their first book, Abundance, in 2012. The message of Abundance is that people with money, technological skills, and a desire to make the world better are using those gifts to lift the bottom billion out of poverty…while creating new business models that will build new fortunes.
Their second book, Bold, showed readers how to create disruptive, life-transforming companies of their own.
Their third book, just launched, demonstrates how the convergence of various new technologies is speeding up the rate of change in ways that might have been unimaginable just a few short years ago.
Each of the books, but especially The Future Is Faster Than You Think, presents a dizzying array of technologies and new companies bringing those new technologies to market. The research load for a book like this is enormous.
Kotler is also the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective, the leading research and training organization decoding the science behind ultimate human performance. As a result, he says that he does most of his writing between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. The entire process of writing The Future Is Faster Than You Think took approximately eighteen months.
One of the reasons for the success of the books is the extraordinarily high standards to which Diamandis and Kotler hold themselves.
“I don’t consider something a fact,” Kotler says, “unless I have found three to five independent sources I really trust. It’s so easy to go off on tangents or buy into something you see. The bigger challenge is to stick to the facts, which isn’t easy when you’re writing about things that haven’t happened yet.”
The biggest challenge the authors face is the emotional state of the reader.
“People fear the future,” Kotler says. “They are afraid of change. People tend to believe that the future is going to be an abundance of bots, and either we get things right or human beings will go away.”
Writing about the future in a manner that is both exciting and unthreatening is no small undertaking, but the authors pull it off.
One of the things people fear most about new technologies is the loss of semi-skilled jobs like long-term truck driving. The authors point out that while these jobs will inevitably go away, it will take more than half a century before all such positions are wiped out.
The future they posit isn’t just faster than people think—it’s also cheaper. The cost of everything from energy to food to education will drop to near zero, Diamandis and Kotler argue, which means that human beings will be able to devote time and attention to doing things they love instead of simply trying to meet their daily needs.
“Life as we understand it today,” Kotler says, “will be all but unrecognizable in a very short amount of time. Peter and I wrote The Future Is Faster Than You Think as a manual for understanding the future, diminishing one’s fear about it, and helping people determine how best they want to participate in it.
“We’re hoping that instead of being afraid of technological change, people will embrace it. A world where you don’t have to scrap for a living, without dangerous climate change, where the cost of everything important moves toward zero…honestly, what’s not to like?”