Tag Archives: Steven Kotler

My Six Takeaways from the book Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think

I usually include ”my takeaways” at the end of my book synopsis presentations.  These are the insights/challenges that I think I, and maybe others, might choose to focus on.

Here are my six takeaways from the book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, which I presented at the July 6 First Friday Book Synopsis.

I liked the book.  And as a life-long pessimist, I found myself thinking, maybe it’s time to be a little more optimistic.

By the way, though I did not have time during my presentation last Friday (in our short 15 minute time frame) to cover this, the book has a lot to say about Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.  This week, Ray Kurzweil was interviewed/profiled on the Newshour on PBS.  Now that is one a visionary, optimistic man.  (Watch Paul Solman’s interview of Ray Kurzweil here).

Here are my takeaways:

• Six Takeaways:

1)  Read more books that point to optimism, and actual solutions (but, not “self-help” books.  Books with data, stories, “research” – books that give actual reasons for optimism).  Study your way into a more optimistic outlook.  (Constantly guard against your tendency to be a pessimist.  Embrace optimism).
2)  Broaden your inputs – broaden them greatly. – And, then, broaden your outputs.
3)  Function on a team, regularly – to solve specific problems.  (To solve those problems – and, to learn how to better function on a team). 
4)  Exercise your compassion/meaning muscles.  Only “making a difference” (desiring to “change the world”) will drive the kind of work that needs to be done.
5)  And – constantly guard against fighting “change.”  Embrace change – including new technology.  Just to get used to embracing new technology.  Because it will continue to come, faster than ever, and we all need to view it not as an enemy, but as a tool to embrace…
6)  And embrace, with more enthusiasm, a true “open-source” approach.  (“Proprietary systems slow things down”).  Learn to share.


My synopsis of Abundance, with audio + comprehensive handout, will be available e soon on our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.

And, to read many of my highlighted passages from the book, read my (Some of) My Highlighted Passages/Direct Quotes from Abundance by Diamandis and Kotler.

(Some of) My Highlighted Passages/Direct Quotes from Abundance by Diamandis and Kotler

At the July, 2012 First Friday Book Synopsis, I presented my synopsis of Abundance.  The handout included a selected number of my “highlights” (direct quotes from the book, which I highlighted as I read the book).  Here is a more complete selection of the passages I highlighted.  Everything that follows is a direct highlight/quote from the book.  You can purchase the book at Amazon – click here to purchase). 

Note:  I did no “formatting” here.  I simply pasted from a Word document.  I apologize for the “look.”  This is intended to be “supplemental reading” for those who attend my presentation.


Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

By Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

New York:  Free Press (A Divison of Simon & Schuster).  (2012)

(note:  the “#s” following each quote indicate the Kindle App for the iMac “location”

of the quote in the book)

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. 28

…four emerging forces-exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. 37

These are turbulent times. 126   •

evolution shaped the human brain to be acutely aware of all potential dangers.

this… has a profound impact on human perception: It literally shuts off our ability to take in good news. 129   •

But we are not so naϊve as to think that there won’t be bumps along the way. Some of those will be big bumps: economic meltdowns, natural disasters, terrorist attacks. During these times, the concept of abundance will seem far-off, alien, even nonsensical, but a quick look at history shows that progress continues through the good times and the bad. 131   •

…infant mortality decrease by 90 percent, maternal mortality decrease by 99 percent, and, overall, human lifespan increase by more than 100 percent. 136   •

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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).

Reverse Innovation; Abundance – Our 2 Books for the July 6 First Friday Book Synopsis

We had a wonderful gathering this morning for the June 1 First Friday Book Synopsis.  Karl Krayer presented his synopsis of All In: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.  I presented the best-selling and much-talked-about The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.  These are both genuinely useful books.

(Our synopses, with handouts + audio of our live presentations from this morning, will be available soon on our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com).

On July 6, Karl will present his synopsis Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble (foreword by Indra K. Nooyi).

I will present my synopsis of Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.  Peter Diamandis is the founder of the X Prize, and you can watch his TED talk, Abundance is Our Future, here.  So this book will give us a big hefty dose of optimism, which I suspect we could all use right about now.

Click on the flier below to read all the details. We begin at 7:00, and conclude right around 8:05.  And you eat a great buffet with made-to-order omelet bar breakfast, experience great visiting and table conversations, and receive a quick, substantive jolt of content.  Come join us.

Click on image for full view

The Future Is Better Than You Think – It Will Be a Future of Abundance, say Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Let’s take a hopeful break.

“Because we’ve never seen it before, exponential change makes even less sense. “

I am immersed in the book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamindis and Steven Kotler.  It is a surprise to me that I am.  My nature is to be somewhat negative, a borderline pessimist.  The authors tell me this is not entirely my fault.  We evolved this way.  Our brains require attentiveness to danger, and so we see danger before, and more often, than anything else.  We are not attuned to see the possibilities.  We are attuned to see the dangers.  Before, fear kept us alive — fear is what we look for, what we (think we) need.

But, the future may just be brighter than we had realized – better than we think.  Part of the reason is the pace of discovery. And even though it appears that innovation has “slowed down” dramatically, the reality is that it has slowed down only “recently.”  But, over the longer haul of the last few centuries, the pace has been breathtaking, leaving us panting to keep up.

In Abundance, the authors quote Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants:

Waterwheels were not becoming cheaper every year (five hundred years ago).  A hammer was not easier to use from one decade to the next.  Iron was not increasing in strength.  The yield of corn seed varied by the season’s climate, instead of improving each year.  Every 12 months, you could not upgrade your oxen’s yoke to anything much better than what you already had.  (that last line is my favorite line – R.M.).

But now, my modern marvel, my iPhone, is practically a dinosaur.  My wife’s is newer, better, cooler than mine, and my son’s is newer, cooler, better, and “stronger/faster” than hers.  (My next new one is coming soon.  It’s my turn again on our family plan – I can’t wait).

Today, I learn about a book, and I order the sample pages immediately on my Kindle App for my iPad.  (Just now, I interrupted my writing of this blog post, clicked over to Amazon, and ordered the sample pages of What Technology Wants.  When I open my iPad in just a few minutes, they will be there).

And that’s just the small corner of my world.

Every day, if we can avoid the polarizing political fights that we see and hear every day, there is some new breakthrough to read about.  We really do feel like the breakthroughs are coming – against Alzheimer’s; some kind of clean energy solution; so many more.  (No, I’m not as confident that the Dallas Cowboys will return to their glory years anytime soon.  There are some areas where the deck may simply be stacked against that “better future”).

The Extreme Future will indeed be good, wonderful (i.e., filling us with wonder).  Our need is to become just a little less fearful, and a whole lot more fearless.  “Fearlessness is like a muscle:  the more we use it, the stronger it becomes.”  (Abundance).

“For most of history, if your dad was a baker, you were a baker,” wrote Kevin Kelly.  But today – well, today, the average young adult has a job that he cannot even make his grandmother understand, much less is he working in the same job as his dad or grandfather or great-grandfather…  In fact, today, it is as likely to be the “she” who can not explain to grandparents what her job entails.  It is simply too far outside of their context.

On some days, I speak to retired people, many of them in their late 80’s, and up.  I asked a recent group how many of them had a Facebook page.  Not one!  Then I asked how many of them had ever looked at a computer screen or a smaller screen at anyone’s Facebook page.   Again, not one.  I told that to a man who is still learning to live with the new technology, and he described how his 7 year old picks it up faster than he does.

Yes, they do.  And with the new tools of today the new breakthroughs will come at an increasingly fast pace.

Just consider (again, from the book, Abundance):

Twenty years ago, most well-off US citizens owned a camera, a video camera, a CD player, a stereo, a video game console, a cell phone, a watch, an alarm clock, a set of encyclopedias, a world atlas, a Thomas Guide, and a whole bunch of other assets that easily add up to more than $10,000.  All of which come standard on today’s smart phones, or are available at the app store for less than a cup of coffee.
If the Bible tells us, “where there is no vision, people perish,” then the inverse is also true:  “where there is vision, the people flourish.”  

Tomorrow could turn out to be just a whole lot of fun.


By the way, Dr. Peter Diamandis, one of the authors of Abundance, is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation.