Abundance – the Glass May Not Be Half Empty After All

I am deeply immersed in the book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamindis and Steven Kotler.  I will present my synopsis of this book this Friday (July 6, 2012) at the First Friday Book Synopsis.

The book is partly about me.

For decades, my wife has had to live with a husband who is frequently (ok – almost always) a glass-half-empty kind of person.  I am a pessimist.  I think things are bad, and getting worse.  And I’ve always thought that.  I see problems, lots and lots of problems, and don’t see a way out of so many of these problems.

I needed to read this book.

Not only does the book say that things really are getting better – much better! – faster — the subtitle says it all:  The Future is Better than you Think – but the book backs it up by demonstrating that it does just keep getting better, and will continue to do so.

“The world is getting better at an accelerating rate,” says Peter Diamindis on the book trailer.
“The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.”
“Small teams can solve the world’s biggest problems.”

From the book itself, we read that, yes, “These are turbulent times,” but…

We will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp.
Four emerging forces-exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems.

The authors get their confidence from and put their hopes in the forward march of progress, especially scientific and technological progress.  Peter Diamindis is the Founder and Chairman of the X Prize Foundation, an educational non-profit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.  In the book, there is a lot of appreciation for Ray Kurzweil, the man behind the claim that the singularity is near – that hour when our computing power matches, and then exceeds, the processing power and speed of the human brain.  Thus, the arrival of the singularity is an “event horizon:”  “the occurrence of a technological singularity is seen as an intellectual event horizon, beyond which events cannot be predicted or understood.”  (from Wikipedia).

And, at the heart of their belief is this:  people who believe that things will get better, that problems will be solved, that the future will be better, go to work to make that happen.  And with technology connecting all those people, they work “together,” building on the breakthroughs and the insights and the shoulders of all the ones who came before.

Now, back to the Randy problem:  why am I such a pessimist?  They even explain that.  Humans needed pessimism to avoid being eaten out in the wild.  If you stop and smell the roses, you won’t notice the beast or the enemy sneaking up on you to devour you for breakfast.  It is an evolutionary survival skill to be a pessimist, because then you will always be on the lookout for danger and problems.

But, for today’s era, the breakthroughs are catching up, and winning.  So maybe it is time for a major attitude and outlook adjustment.  Let me repeat what they wrote:

We will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp.

Maybe my wife really is right – the glass may not be half empty after all.


(If you are in the DFW area, come join us for our breakfast meeting on Friday, July 6, 7:00 am, at the Park City Club.  I will present my synopsis of Abundance, and Karl Krayer will present his synopsis of the book Reverse Innovation.  Click here to register).

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