Review: The Industries of the Future

The Industries of the Future
The Industries of the Future by Alec J. Ross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating: 4 stars

What I liked about this book: Generally good writing style that allowed it to flow. Interesting take on the concepts of globalization and how it will effect the choices our children will have to make in regards to their education and future jobs. Good examples of the effects of globalization with interesting people, places and situations coming into the new economy.

What was not so great: This book is very much an “overview” and almost seems more targeted towards non-Americans with a very hopeful tone for certain regions and political regimes (which is great, just that I am not that target audience). There was a fair amount of political pushing toward traditional American Democrat agendas. It wasn’t so heavy-handed as to be offensive, though.

As a man in my mid-forties now (sigh), there has been profound change in the world over my adulthood in a way that really alters my outlook for the children of Gen-X’ers such as myself. If you watch the news, it’s almost always portrayed as a bleak future with little hope for our children. This is a huge change from when I grew up – there seemed no end to the optimism about our future and the never-ending opportunities that were before us. Work hard and the world would be your oyster. Now, it seems kids are wary of the world and the opportunities seem few and far between. Not only that, but you can work harder and somebody in India will still be available to work twice as hard at half the price.

So, going into this book, my thought was there is still opportunity out there. It is likely just harder to find. And best to ignore the media on what your future is likely to be like. But where is that opportunity for America’s youth? Where should I be pointing my kids’ efforts and how can I help guide and prepare them so they can realize the opportunities that are out there?

In many ways, The Industries of the Future ties in with The World Is Flat (and Hot, Flat and Crowded) by Thomas Friedman. In summary, for those of us here, we are best served by avoiding traditional old-school jobs and careers that put a premium on doing one thing well. Work to be broad in your knowledge and skill set. Learn languages. Look for opportunities to combine your specific knowledge with new technology and possibly even emerging markets. Be quick on your toes and expect change.

Overall, I found this to be a thought-provoking and well-reasoned book. Interesting examples of technologic change and how it has effected certain regions and industries are found throughout the book and are fairly engaging. Definitely worth the read if you are a young person or have young people in your life that you will be influencing.

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