Book Review: The Next 100 Years

The Next 100 Years
8.6 of 10
Writer: George Friedman
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The future is a terrible thing. Blame it on the apocalyptic predictions written in the Book of Revelations, Nostradamus' Prophecies and the Mayan Calendar. It's impossible to gaze into tomorrow without any trepidations because these aforementioned cryptic writings have clouded it with the Rapture, cosmic bodies colliding with Earth, countless wars and other "End of the World" scenarios. Most of these predictions, however, are pessimistic and aren't backed with real data. Like I said, they're cryptic. Perhaps the only book I've read that predicts, or rather forecasts, the future using real data is The Next 100 Years.

The Next 100 Years is written by George Friedman who is the founder of Strategic Forecasting (StratFor), a private intelligence agency that deals with forecasting using data collected around the globe. They forecast various topics including economy, energy, politics, military and terrorism. Stratfor has been dubbed as "The Shadow CIA" and the intelligence they provide are being used by Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Government. They've been instrumental in predicting the actions of al-Qaeda, after the 911 attacks, and the movements in Kosovo. So the material that can be found in this book is pretty much solid, if not reliable.

The book is a great read. It contains a lot of political and geopolitical insights, from the rise of Russia and their conflict with a US-backed Poland to the Turkey-Japan Coalition dominating Eurasia and their cold war against the United States. The most interesting part for me, however, are the technological advancements that were forecasted in this book. Especially the military technologies like unmanned hypersonic jets and missiles that can fly from California to Istanbul in under 30 minutes, armored infantrymen that can control a squad of robots and space based command centers that can monitor any movement on the ground.

I also like how this book was written. It didn't use vague details and, even though it riddled the future with wars, it doesn't have an ominous tone. It's forecasting based on real data. Just like predicting who's going to win a boxing match between Pacquiao and Hatton. You can come up with an idea of who might win based on their past performances. But you won't know who'll definitely win. Such is also the case with this book. For every forecast the author made he supports it with data like historical trends and current events. Although there are parts of the book that feels like it's science fiction due to the author stretching the data with his imagination.

The Next 100 Years is definitely one of the best books I've read this year. It's pretty refreshing, and also entertaining, to get a glimpse of the future using real data and not through a man's diary about his fevered dreams or a calendar of an ancient civilization. While the future still looks grim in this book, at least we're not going to meet our end with either Apophis or Nibiru hitting the Earth. Plus, we also get an idea of what technology will look like 40 to 60 years from now. So if you're looking for a good non-fiction book, and don't mind it being American-centric, grab this one. While I'm not sure if you'll buy its forecasting, I'm pretty sure you'll find it entertaining.

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