Non-Fiction | Audiobook | 11h30m
Glancing at my bookshelves, it appears that my non-fiction preferences are rather eclectic. There are books on management and business, self improvement (primarily related to personal habits and health), writing, human behavior, and quite a few biographies and memoirs -- Andre Agassi's OPEN is a favorite, and Mississippi Sissy was a memorable choice from last year's reading. But when it comes to the non-fiction books that really stick with me, I'd say books about the future rank mostly highly.
I therefore had high expectations for Kevin Kelly's well received book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, which I sped through in audiobook format. I'd been a tad worried this book would be a rehash of Alec Ross's excellent The Industries of the Future, which was published several months prior to Kelly's, and was one of the best books I read in 2016. However, reader reviews were quite positive (as you can see from the ratings in Audible), so I took the plunge, and was happy I did.
A quick note about the audiobook
Although not everyone enjoys audiobooks, for those who do, I can recommend The Inevitable's audiobook version. While some non-fiction books are really tough to grasp without text you can easily skim and re-read, this book is well organized, making it pretty easy to follow. That said, I do sometimes later buy the paperbacks of non-fiction audiobooks I've particularly enjoyed so I can review the content visually, and I'm already thinking about purchasing this one.
Who should read this book?
Since The Inevitable largely deals with technological evolution and how it will impact the global economy, not to mention every society and culture, it's probably obvious that entrepreneurs and people already in the tech industry will enjoy this book. However, what's great about Kelly's writing and the organization of this book is that the content is accessible to audiences outside the tech industry, and I really hope people who don't usually read about tech will give it a try.
"But I'm not a techie. Why should I care?"
Indeed. Why should you care about the coming changes that will impact your job/career, healthcare, and daily life, not to mention the lives of future generations?
Perhaps it is so you won't be caught by surprise when these new developments threaten your way of life, either by making your occupation obsolete or putting you at risk of scams you never imagined possible.
Perhaps it is so you can discover new technologies that can improve your health and safety, allowing you to take advantage of them before they are mainstream.
Perhaps it is so you can better understand what's already happening right under your nose, so that you can decide for yourself what is real and what is hype when you see alarmist media coverage or online hoaxes.
If you're someone who gets fooled by fake giveaways on Facebook, don't really see the big deal about AI, robotics, or voice-controlled devices, and aren't sure whether your job is in danger due to advancements in automation, you absolutely should read The Inevitable. I promise you'll find it eye-opening, and you might even find it changing how you live here and now.
"I'm a techie. I already know all this stuff."
Chances are, you probably don't.
Or you may be ignoring both risks and opportunities that will impact your career or even your business.
If you're a startup entrepreneur, both The Inevitable and The Industries of the Future should be on your must-read lists (and you'd better be forcing your co-founders to read them as well). Read them for the sake of your business, your employees, and your customers. Are you taking advantage of all the currently available automation in your industry, saving your company time and money? Are you protecting the data of your customers properly? Is your service or product about to become completely useless because you're not evolving as quickly as your competitors are?
Basically, everyone should read The Inevitable. Or listen to it. Otherwise, when the future takes you by surprise, don't say I didn't warn you.
What's up next?
- The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Fiction) by Natasha Pulley
- Dear Mr. M (Fiction) by Herman Koch
- The Obesity Code (Non-Fiction) by Dr. Jason Fung
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