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Our Future of Abundance on BigThink.com

It’s not easy being an optimist in 2012. There’s just too much to worry about: a global economic downturn, climate change, overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, failing education systems, you name it. We are bombarded with bad news all the time, and we eagerly eat it up because our brains are gluttons for fear and danger.

As Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler note in their important and captivating new book, Abundance: Why the Future Will Be Much Better Than You Think, our pessimism is generated by a set of neurons located deep in the brain called the amygdala which collectively function as “an early warning system, an organ always on high alert,” whose job is basically to prevent us from becoming some large carnivore’s lunch.

Our present-day concerns about survival are less immediate, and more probabilistic, the authors argue. As our senses today are assaulted by “a gargantuan avalanche of data,” it becomes very difficult to distinguish “the critical from the casual.” As a result, “bad news sells because the amygdala is always looking for something to fear.”

What’s the Big Idea? If our brains are programmed to make us all nervous wrecks, then life in the 21st century further exacerbates this problem…

Read more on Bigthink.com

A review by Ronald Bailey on Reason.com

Woe is us! Our overpopulated and overheated world is running out of water, food, and nonrenewable resources, all the while menaced by natural and bioterror pandemics. As The Limits to Growth famously predicted 40 years ago, exponential growth in population, resource depletion, and pollution are leading inexorably to civilizational collapse. Most readers will be familiar with this conventional lament of impending doom.

Now comes X Prize guru Peter Diamandis and journalist Steven Kotler with their new book, Abundance: Why the Future Will Be Much Better Than You Think. Are they insane? Everyone knows that things are getting worse in this worst of all times.

“Humanity is now entering a period of radical transformation in which technology has the potential to significantly raise the basic standards of living for every man, woman and child on the planet,” assert Diamandis and Kotler. “Abundance for all is within our grasp.” How? The way to beat doomy exponentials is to outrun them with boomy exponentials. Diamandis and Kotler argue that radical progress in overcoming scarcity will be driven chiefly by the transformative application of information and communication technologies to the world’s hardest problems.

Read more on Reason.com

CNBC put Abundance on it’s list of most anticipated business books of 2012

Between global warming, a global financial crisis and global food shortages, you can’t blame folks for being a tad depressed AND on top of all that, if you believe the Mayan Calendar, 2012 is supposed to be the year it all ends for all of us.

But in their new book, “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think,” the authors offer a boldly contrarian and optimistic book for today’s cynical times. They make the case that we are indeed on the cusp of a new era, an era when the lives of millions are improved.

Think of this book as the ultimate “Yes, we can.”

Read more on CNBC.com

Arianna Huffington on Abundance

We live in a tumultuous world facing multiple crises, a world where our 24/7 connectedness subjects us to a steady stream of bad news — from natural disasters and genuine tragedies to our leaders’ poor decisions and lack of accountability.

So it’s no wonder people’s trust in institutions is eroding. The disconnect between those who govern and those they’re supposed to represent is, as the media show us every day, getting wider and wider.

But, in fact, deficits and failure are not the only stories the media could be focusing on. Though the country is, indeed, in a terrible crisis, there is much going on beyond our leaders’ failure to respond to it. All across the country, there are stories of people rising to the challenge, with incredible creativity, ingenuity, perseverance and grace. But these rarely make it to the front page — especially if you’re unfortunate enough to live in a state where the election has brought in a deluge of negative ads.

These stories of real people and their countless acts of empathy and ingenuity are overshadowed not only by actual crises — and, sadly, there are plenty — but, more often, by the various manufactured crises sucking up precious media oxygen, from the deadline-pushing theatrics of debt-ceiling debates and government shutdowns to the Balloon Boys, Casey Anthonys and Koran-burning pastors of the world. The excuse often given by the media is that these stories are “what the public wants.”

Read more on ChicagoTribune.com

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