Books I Highly Recommend
Some of the questions I am most frequently asked are “What books would you recommend?” or “What books should I read to better understand what might happen in the future?” or “What have you read recently that has influenced your thinking?”
Given that it is also the holiday giving season, I am suggesting books that answer the above questions. All of these books are books I have read or are in the process of reading. [I read several books at a time as I research trends and dynamics] All the recommendations are hyperlinked to Amazon.
I highly recommend all of these books.
“Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence” James Lovelock
This is the best book on the future combination of humanity and technological intelligence I have read. The reason for this is that Lovelock places the emerging age of technology within the larger scope of the planet, climate change and human evolution. It was Lovelock who coined the word “Gaia” as an explanation of Earth as a living organism in his 1979 book “Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth”. It is the simplest and highest way to look at climate change and humanity’s next evolutionary step. One beautiful fact about this book is that it was published in July 2019 when Lovelock turned 100.
“A Planet of 3 Billion” Christopher Tucker
This is one of the books I am currently reading, and unlike many books, I find it hard to scan or speed read as there is so much new thinking to absorb. I love books that truly add depth to something I thought I was knowledgeable about. This is a book that will rearrange your view of the population side of the climate crisis. Tucker is a great writer, takes no prisoners and opens the mind to a topic that needs much more discussion today.
“Advancing the Common Good” Philip Kotler
Kotler, the “father of modern marketing” has, in recent years written about Globalism, Democracy, Capitalism and now the Common Good. In this book, through the telling of stories about major social movements and profound leaders, Kotler addresses one of the key issues of our time, how businesses, non-profits, and governments must now elevate the Common Good to the highest level of strategy, purpose and effort. As a decades-long advocate of the need for all businesses to face the Common Good, I am extremely happy that Kotler has chosen this as his next major focus. [Disclaimer: Phil is a friend and a fellow Co-Founder of The Sarasota Institute, A 21st Century Think Tank]
“The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” David Wallace-Wells
This is a well-researched, well-written look into the absolutely terrifying probable future humanity faces with climate change. As a futurist, I am well aware of how hard it is for most people to be able to step out of current realities to actually see what probable futures might look like. This book shows a high probability – if humanity does not radically alter course economically- of what lies ahead for our children and grandchildren. If you want to see why so many of us think climate change the existential threat of our time, just read this book.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Yuval Noah Harrari Harrari is one of the biggest thinkers writing today. His take on the past was unique in “Sapiens” and his view on 21st century issues and policy, “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” are also highly recommended. However, as a futurist, I find this book the most thought provoking as it is a ‘history of tomorrow” I found that it took me days to get through the 70 page introduction as I kept putting sticky markers on pages and took notes due to so many ‘aha!’ moments that simply needed time for reflection. A big brain writing a very big book. This book will open your mind in many ways.
“The Cosmic Journal” Yanik Silver
A unique book. Part personal journey, part I Ching, all visual. When I first held this book, I simply opened it up to several random places and preceded to have insights and smiles. To quote part of the description on Amazon:
“the Galactic Instruction Manual you should’ve been given at birth to help you RE-remember exactly WHO you really are and what the heck you’re meant to be doing here on this planet” Yeah, that sound like a good description. Insight and fun at the same time.
Since all of the above are non-fiction, may I suggest a novel that I recommend to anyone that enjoys a Dan Brown thriller. I have read all of them, but his latest “Origins”, which came out in 2017 was most relevant for a futurist. The last part of the book lays out a vision for the next possible stage of human evolution that is at least directionally correct. How could I not like it as the protagonist is a futurist and a main character is an AI/TI entity. A great read!
These books answer the questions at the open of this column, books I’ve read that I would highly recommend. The book that I wrote, “Moving to a Finite Earth Economy – Crew Manual” is of course highly recommended as well!
Happy Reading! Happy Holidays!