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Publisher's Summary

Two renowned investment advisors and authors of the best seller The Great Reckoning bring to light both currents of disaster and the potential for prosperity and renewal in the face of radical changes in human history as we move into the next century. The Sovereign Individual details strategies necessary for adapting financially to the next phase of Western civilization.  

Few observers of the late-20th century have their fingers so presciently on the pulse of the global political and economic realignment ushering in the new millennium as do James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg. Their bold prediction of disaster on Wall Street in Blood in the Streets was borne out by Black Tuesday. In their ensuing best sellar, The Great Reckoning, published just weeks before the coup attempt against Gorbachev, they analyzed the pending collapse of the Soviet Union and foretold the civil war in Yugoslavia and other events that have proved to be among the most searing developments of the past few years.  

In The Sovereign Individual, Davidson and Rees-Mogg explore the greatest economic and political transition in centuries - the shift from an industrial to an information-based society. This transition, which they have termed "the fourth stage of human society", will liberate individuals as never before, irrevocably altering the power of government. This outstanding book will replace false hopes and fictions with new understanding and clarified values.

©1999 James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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    3 out of 5 stars

Unfortunately distopian for mosty of humanity

Waited quite a long time for this book to appear on audible. Listened to on x1.4 speed.

Peter Thiel's preface did not add much value to the book other than to explain it's failure to predict things such as the rise of China. There were several other things in the book that were popular in the news at the time that turned out to be nothing, such as the Y2K millennium bug scare.

Once you can look beyond the failures of its short term predictions up to the current date, it seems to predict a certain set of possible and potentially likely outcomes in the world. The biggest prediction is the gradual decline of the nation state and the rise and dominance of the sovereign individual.

I tend to agree that these things seem likely in the major arc of human civilization, although I doubt that anyone alive today will still be around in the future where it can be said that nation states are a thing of the past. Exactly how these things may come to pass is left unclear in the book and up to the reader to imagine.

We seem well on-target for the progress of digital technology and trends that threaten the displacement of large number of people in the workforce. Despite it's age, the book still has some interesting and though-provoking sections. However talks as though these trends are undeniable and inevitable. That may turn out to be true, but I resent the description of the authors regarding huge amount of the worlds population as the "losers" and "left-behinds", not fit to work or live in such a high-tech world.

The book has no prescriptions for this unfortunate ~90% of humanity. Instead what is important is that you should focus on staying are up-to-date with all that gadgets and gizmos to ensure that you're in the ~10% of the world's population who can keep a job. It's a very Ayn Randian perspective. As if that alone is a recipe for success, when 9 out of 10 people on the street hate and resent you.

It seems that the people who praise this book fall in line with the authors to emphasize their desires to see the end of nations, while ignoring that it simultaneously seems to be a net negative to the vast majority of people in the world.

I am not very sympathetic to the attitude of the book, nor to the people who seem to celebrate it.

27 people found this helpful

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Not to be ignored

Kudos to the publisher for finally making this available as an audiobook. Given its content, I couldn’t imagine a title better suited to this format. The new 2020 preface by Peter Thiel is short but good. This book is a real eye-opener (or “red pill” if you prefer). The authors would be easy to dismiss as crazed conspiracy theorists or fear-mongers, if it weren’t for the fact that so many of their predictions have come true since the last two decades that the book was published.

They managed to predict (with alarming accuracy) everything from Bitcoin, e-commerce/Amazon, video chat, the widening effects of globalization, the gig economy (brought on by the microprocessing revolution), the ballooning U.S. college loan debt bubble, to the surprise mainstream popularity of Jordan Peterson and Trump.

Explains the history and evolution of human power balance, conflict, and war – all the way from the caveman days until the present day Information Age. It then proceeds to forecast where societies are likely to be headed in the future, and does it in an OCD-level of detail. It’s worth noting that the "MTV generation" as described by the book has since been replaced by the "social media generation,” which has had exponentially greater cultural influence worldwide.

I haven’t read Sapiens or Homo Deus, but I imagine both were heavily inspired by this book.

16 people found this helpful

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A Guide to Flourishing in the 2020's and Beyond

If you are interested in understanding the changes that are to come as our world becomes more and more information-centric, there is no other book I could recommend more highly than this.

12 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

So insightful! I wish that I had listened to this when it came out in the 90s. life changing information. The information is still so good that today 20+ years later this book will still impact you.

6 people found this helpful

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It put the modern age in perspective

if you grew up on the Internet like I have a lot of what is spoken in this book will make a lot of sense.

5 people found this helpful

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Amazing book that was way ahead of its time

Truly an amazing book that was way ahead of its time. The fore sights in everything from the slow deterioration of the EU, to describing bitcoin in detail; this book copyright date is 1997! Truly a timeless look into the future and a great guide on how to best land on the right side of history.

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting ideas and prescient

had to keep reminding myself this was written in the 90s. Very prescient and gave food for thought. I don't necessarily agree with everything said but was good to get historical context for some if the ideas in the book. I finished the book but the final third or so of the book was a bit of a slog and preachy

4 people found this helpful

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Quite prescient in many respects, but

Need to be aware of authors' possible biases. Much to think about. Some points to challenge

3 people found this helpful

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Isaac Asimov like book

Hard to follow book with nice historical references but with highly inaccurate ppredictions. States are bankrupt but far away from dissapearing anytime soon. At some point i felt like reading a science fiction book with touches of Asimov...this might be more suited for those studying economic history...

3 people found this helpful

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A crypto zealot’s bible — not an educational resource

I'm writing this as someone who's worked in tech their intire career, who's written smart contracts, owns crypto-coins and has read the white-paper on more than a handful of block chain startups...

If you're looking to get educated, look somewhere else. This is a crypto zealot's bible -- not an educational resource.

This book is piddling non-sense. The author begins with a laundry list of big ideas which he claims he predicted with no evidence as to when or how, and then makes even bigger claims about how his ability to predict the future has shown him the light about web3. He lives in a world where the strength of this one technology is so powerful it can and will topple governments, transactions, and society as we know it. Highfalutin, disconnected from reality, and self-aggrandizing, this book was hard to swallow from the start.

I think was really irks me is it seems the author never stops to consider 'Is this a better future?' Like the proverbial mad scientist who focuses solely on if we can do something, rather than if we should do something, the book rambles about how great a future built on blockchain looks without ever truly recognizing the negative impact on our lives if his version of reality came to pass. A world with no government? No institutional stability? No obligation from any man other than to himself? The concepts presented in this book are delusional at its core, and at selfish at it's best.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-02-21

interesting ideas, strays a little

at times this strays into pushing the held beliefs on morality and politics of the authors, but on the whole it is full of interesting and thought provoking topics and mental exercises. I don't agree with the politics of the authors and found some parts if the book challenging in that sense, and some parts are definitely personal views and quite petty, but there were always parts that shone light on new topics or challenged how I think.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Pawel Maestro
  • 09-07-20

WOW this book was written over 20 years ago

and it's all happening now as they predicted. BLM, cryptos, even the plandemic. When listening to this audiobook it sounded like it was written this year only certain technical details like laptop with 486 processor were reminding me how old this book is

5 people found this helpful

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  • FullColourBlack
  • 05-02-21

A book with incredible foresight

This book has incredible foresight; worldwide pandemics, the rise of a Crypto currency (6 years before it happened), the rise of Victimhood, the demand of payouts and blame of White Men from history. It's all going to a well rehearsed plan. Astonishing. Nostradamus believers will drop their jaws at the accuracy of this book. Written 11 years ago, it's anticipation of what is happening now is breathtaking.

It's also very strange that hardback books are not on sale anymore. Is someone trying to blind the nation.

An Audible must.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-21

Incredible

One of the best books ever written in my opinion, so timely and accurate. Actionable and a warning

2 people found this helpful

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  • MR P.
  • 06-27-21

I can't believe the book was written in the 90s!

This book absolutely nails the current global situation. The authors were incredibly far-sighted in terms of why a crypto-based currency (i.e. Bitcoin) was inevitable and the revolutionary implications it would have. Anyone trying to make sense of the world post-Covid must read this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 06-23-21

Chillingly accurate

The authors were true cassandras. Incredible, fascinating, and true. If you want to understand why our world is the way it is, read this masterpiece.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rm
  • 05-09-21

very insightful

really great book which I would recommend to everything though it is hard going

1 person found this helpful

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  • Darren J.
  • 03-29-22

I had no idea you could do that with chestnuts !!!

Some interesting predictions, from 1997, about our information age and how they will affect society, to the benefit of the emerging new establishments of cyber states and their sovereign individuals, and their techno economic elites.

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  • David
  • 03-23-22

Windbag Libertarian Crystal Ball gazing

Bloated, dated and self-serving. The Y2K chapter predicts all sorts of disasters that didn’t happen. Quite a good overview of history but seems to draw the wrong conclusions. The narration is excellent throughout. Wish they could have steered away from everything being ‘megapolitical’ !

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  • Edwin
  • 01-29-22

Highly recommend it

One of the best. Never stop learning, knowledge is readily available for those who will seek it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-11-21

Predicts Bitcoin

Incredible read on so many levels. Must!
Reading this book helps develop one’s understanding of the social importance and impact of Crypto.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-20-22

Amazing

I'll now be buying a copy of this book so I can re-read it and revisit frequently over the next 10 to 20 years. Simply amazing foresight from the author, having had so many of the things he predicted already come true. It was also like the author knew Blockchain technology and Bitcoin was coming, even though it was far from being created when he wrote this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-22

Good read

slightly capitalistic view of the way things work but very forward looking. Hard to believe it was written in the 90's!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-15-21

amazing and ground breaking for it's time

amazing to read in 2021 to see how close they got. predicted bitcoin and the metaverse. wish I read it years ago

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-10-21

Brilliant

Worth reading over and over again. As accurate today as it was when it was written 25 years ago.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-26-20

not bad , 60% agreed with what they predicted

fails to mention that ai will be there to serve us. some of us will have no jobs but free to pursue our spiritual needs.
very competitive out look on success and the world.
success is subjective.
the 1% won't be able to hold on to everything
very capitalist book, typical of American culture I believe and author doesn't question his own ideas. Great historical analysis and comparison to current events

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  • Brent
  • 11-27-20

Incredible

Not exactly the world Bitcoin (as described by the white paper) will give us but damn near close. Surprisingly prescient, highly recommended.