Visions of the future ...

OK, a bit of a pivot here (there’s still more coming from the Flower & Garden show, plus several pieces from the Good Food Festival to look forward to), but Ed was enthusiastically encouraging me to put up a post about these books, so here they are. As some of you know, I have been doing a book review blog for over a decade, with more than 650 titles presently covered. Some of my top-rated books in recent years have been by Peter Diamandis, pioneer of the “X Prize” program, Singularity University, and assorted space-related ventures. His Abundance from 2012 is one of my all-time favorites, and its more practical follow-up Bold, being Ed’s current favorite book.

Peter Diamandis' "Abundance"Abundance, subtitled “The Future Is Better Than You Think”, is a relentlessly optimistic look at the ability for science to solve the main problems facing humanity … from clean energy (the “generation IV” nuclear reactors, primarily) to nano-tech medical advances, and the “bringing into the conversation” billions of people from the 3rd world who, with increasingly cheap and ubiquitous smart phone technology, are able to jump to 1st world levels of information access and communications. The scope of the book is amazing, and its look at the development curves (think “Moore’s law”) in various technologies remarkable … I especially liked his side-by-side comparison of a Cray2 “supercomputer” from 1985 and the iPad2 from 2011 – where the latter was more sophisticated (losing only in storage capacity), at 1/6,000th of the weight, and a stunning 1/50,000th the cost.

Peter Diamandis' "Bold"While the just-released Bold also has its “gee whiz!” moments of looking forward, its main focus is on the business of new technologies, as indicated by its subtitle: “How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World”, and is very much a “how-to” manual for creating disrupting market entries. Now, “disrupting” is a term tossed around quite a bit these days, but Diamandis illustrates this in a very clear example, that of Kodak. In 1996, they were all but a monopoly, controlling 90% of the photography market and worth 28 billion dollars, but by 2012 they were bleeding red ink and in Chapter 11 … why? … while they had invented digital photography, they could never fit it into their corporate culture, so pretty much ignored it until it was too late. That’s disruption … which is the mid-point of “the six D’s of exponential growth” (click through to my review for more details).

How are these related to “green tech”? Well, there are a lot of small companies out there who are building “exponential growth” right now in the Green Tech niche … many are still in the “Deception” phase of the “six D’s” – where their growth, while being exponential, still looks like simple linear advances … but will eventually explode across the culture. One of these which I think is moving into that phase is the “vertical farm” movement, where project after project is being implemented to grow fresh, economic, and low environmental-impact crops on rooftops, in factories, and even in re-purposed high-rise buildings (we’re going to have an interview with one company doing this when I get around to editing the video from the Good Food conference).

Anyway, Green Tech Chicago highly recommends these books, and you can get more info on them in my reviews (see the links above).

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