The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change by Al Gore

futureIf you think the title of the book sounds boring, I agree!  I expected it to be a good way to become better informed – but deadly dull.  So I planned to slog through about five pages a day, buying a copy so that I could read it over a period of several months without having to worry about library due dates.  To my surprise, I was never bored for one minute and spent all of my reading time on the book until I finished it, not even once putting it down to pick up a lighter read.  And I’m definitely not a political junkie, a scientist, or an economist!  Even though a few parts of the book were over my head, Gore is generally successful in making complex topics understandable.  Also, the book isn’t as long as it may appear; the text ends on page 374 (the remaining pages include a nine page bibliography and almost 150 pages of bibliographical notes, showing that Gore based his book on extensive research as well as on his years of experience in government.)

Although Gore is, of course, a Democrat, he finds problems with both political parties, and most of the book would be of interest to readers of various political beliefs.

The Future is an important book for anyone wanting to understand current trends and to read a prediction, based on these trends, of the not-too-distant future. As the title says, it offers a global perspective on six broad topics:

  • The economy (including outsourcing and the trend towards use of robots and 3D printers)
  • Electronic communications (including the internet, artificial intelligence, and privacy concerns)
  • The balance of political, economic, and military power (including China’s power in the future)
  • Unsustainable growth (population growth, the water shortage, loss of topsoil)
  • Scientific technologies (including developments in the medical field and the ethical questions involved)
  • Ecology (including global warming)

Overall themes are the impact of corporate money on politics and the United States’ difficulties in solving the nation’s problems and providing world leadership.

While all of the topics are related, it would definitely be possible to read only the chapters of most interest to you.

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

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