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The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st…

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (edition 2009)

by George Friedman

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6503014,827 (3.38)12
Title:The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century
Authors:George Friedman
Info:Doubleday (2009), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Library Book
Tags:2009-09, speculation, non-fiction, future, political, geopolitical, politics, government, war

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The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman

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The first half of this book is very interesting as the author talks about current trends and makes some intriguing predictions on what he thinks will happen geopolitically over the next 100 years. I thought it was very interesting till about 2040. Then he started talking about wars between particular nations and I thought the analysis was based on to many variables to take seriously.

The first halfish of this book is very much worth reading. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
In a sense, I’m divided: Do I give this book four stars or five stars?

Ironically, the things I like most about this book make me want to rate it a four. I love the book because it’s highly engaging, easy to read, and at times refuses to take itself (and the art of forecasting) too seriously.

I also love the book because it’s irreverent. Friedman’s “geopolitics” – as a kind of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy where the actors are not in control of themselves and even smart characters cannot help succumbing to the logic of their situation—is kind of an affront to the work of peace researchers, political scientists, and policy wonks of different varieties who try to prescribe solutions like doctors.

As Friedman points out again and again: “One interesting facet of geopolitics is this: there are no permanent solutions to geopolitical problems.”
[Imagine if this mantra was stamped above International Relations, Political Science, and Peace Studies Departments! Imagine if it was on the wall of the State Department. ]

In a book where so many outrageous predictions are made – on the logic that when looking to the future one has to be prepared for the outrageous – one has to wonder what the actual value of the forecast is.

I actually think the theory behind the book and the journey he takes us through is the most important part of the book – not the specific details of the forecast (which are sure to be wrong in more than a number of ways).

I see Friedman’s work as – in a way – an iteration of Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan and Anti-Fragile. Key points from that book: most forecasters are charlatans; predication is a liberal art; the things one doesn’t know are as important as the things one knows.

So, does Friedman understand that he is a charlatan, involved in a kind of quackery? I think he does. (It's hard to be quack if you know you're a quack). I think he lays out a vision of geopolitics that is straightforward, but that is well-qualified. I think he is also pretty clear that he expects to be wrong in a number of ways. He also acknowledges that practical leaders tend to focus on the short-term problems – as they should. Does Friedman know that predication is a liberal art? The answer is a resounding yes! Does Friedman understand the value of the things he doesn’t know? Yes again!

So here we have a harmless piece of engaging quackery. But to gain five stars, the book should be more than that, shouldn’t it? I think the book does go beyond merely the engaging and entertaining for one reason – it teaches us through practice not to take the future for granted and to expect the unexpected. As far as quackery goes – one based in history, geography, the liberal arts, and the things one doesn’t know – this quackery seems to me highly advanced. I’m not sure! I’ll have to give it another read.

It also throws out a challenge to other International Relations scholars – don’t forget the enduring realities of geopolitics.

"There are no permanent solutions to geopolitical problems” – perhaps I will have that tattooed to my forehead! ( )
  DanielClausen | Aug 23, 2014 |
Very readable for non-fiction. I always take prediction books with a grain of salt, since so many variables can affect the future. Friedman's predictions are mainly geopolitical in nature, and are intriguing and are based on some solid observations on long-term historical trends and traditions.

A good book to read and spark debate over where the world is headed politically in this century. ( )
  ChrisNorbury | Apr 17, 2014 |
Friedman is all about geopolitics. He believes politicians and other "powerful" people are limited and constrained by forces beyond their control. By tracking those forces, he hopes to paint the broad strokes of the 21st century. Initially skeptical, I found his reasoning plausible and integrated a great deal of the reading I've done on modern history. He emphasizes the unintended consequences of decision makers, who take risks and make assumptions that don't hold up. Probably the shocker is that he sees America at the brink of war with Mexico (?!) by the end of the century. The creepy thing is, as one who grew up in the Southwest, he makes sense! Another fact that has yet to appear on American public consciousness is that the global population explosion is over. Already. And this single demographic will dramatically affect real estate, immigration (nations will be competing for 'em), and changes in the social relationships of families. An excellent read.
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
A great over view on how geopolitics works and how we arrived at the status quo. A contrary view of the US declining. Its just the opposite and he gives reasons why. I disagreed w some of his outcomes. Where do the Russians go? But still a good try and an interesting read. ( )
  JBreedlove | Feb 18, 2014 |
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To him who looks upon the world rationally, the world in turn presents a rational aspect. The relation is mutual. - George W. F. Hegel
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The founder of one of the world's leading private intelligence companies offers an analysis of current trends and events, as well as historical and geopolitical patterns, to speculate about the changes that will unfold over the course of the next century.… (more)

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