Notes on Abundance by Peter Diamandis – Chapter 1

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The first book I want to feature in my booknotes section is “Abundance: the Future is Better than You Think” by Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler.

I discovered Peter Diamandis through one of my favorite podcasts, the Tim Ferriss Show where Tim Ferriss interviewed the author. Peter Diamandis is a multi-billionaire, who has been named one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune Magazine. He is also the founder, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, and of the Singularity University.

If you want to be impressed further, Mr. Diamandis was very instrumental in bringing the Space Race to the private sector through the X-Prize. There are now private companies who are developing spaceships and technologies that will bring people to space, where before, that was the exclusive domain of government agencies such as the NASA in the USA.

Here’s the book description from Amazon:

We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions. An antidote to pessimism by tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist, Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler.

Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing—fast. The authors document how four forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Abundance establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.

Examining human need by category—water, food, energy, healthcare, education, freedom—Diamandis and Kotler introduce dozens of innovators making great strides in each area: Larry Page, Steven Hawking, Dean Kamen, Daniel Kahneman, Elon Musk, Bill Joy, Stewart Brand, Jeff Skoll, Ray Kurzweil, Ratan Tata, Craig Venter, among many, many others.

Here are my notes and my thoughts on Chapter 1 of this book.

Link to my public notes on this book: https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights_and_notes/B005FLOGMM

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Just a quick note. I used the following notation and labels for the following notes. Follow along and keep in mind of my note-taking system:

[Q] – Quote
[I] – Insight
[Id] – Ideas from the book (but not direct quotations)
[Qu] – Question
[RW] – Related Works
[A] – Action Item

* * * * *

[Q] “Scarcity is often contextual.”

[Q] “Technology is a resource-liberating mechanism. It can make the once scarce the now abundant.”

I Sometimes scarcity is not even the problem, rather it could be a problem in terms of accessibility and the lack of technology to harness such scarcity.

[Q] “When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. Yet the threat of scarcity still dominates our worldview.”

[Q] “Within a generation, we will be able to provide goods and services, once reserved for the wealthy few, to any and all who need them. Or desire them. Abundance for all is actually within our grasp.”

[Q] “We are now living in a world of information and communication abundance.”

[Id] Three forces at work:

  • A Do-It-Yourself revolution, especially as it relates to technology;
  • Money spent in a very particular way. (philanthropy from the biggest tech billionaires);
  • The very poorest of the poor will become the “Rising billion”, and will have access to internet, microfinance, and wireless communication technologies.

[RW]  A similar work by Rob Salkowitz, Young World Rising also explores three set of trends that are helping shape the world of the 21st century. He cited 1) youth, 2) Information & Communications Technology; and 3) Entrepreneurship. Both works certainly look at the role of technology in the world today, but Mr. Salkowitz’s book looks more deeply into the role of young people in this rapidly-changing world.

I cited Young World Rising in my leadership book for young people: “May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic” (this book uses a combination of Tagalog and English languages).

[I] – Mr. Diamandis is an optimist. While reading the book, I found myself agreeing with some of his assertions, but I was also cautioning myself against becoming too optimistic, because there are many difficulties and challenges that the world faces, particularly in very dire situations in developing countries–in Africa and in Asia.

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