Books for people who think the world is going to shit

No one can read the future as far as I am aware but if I were to be a betting person I would bet the world isn’t going to shit. Or rather, I would bet it’s not catastrophically going to shit. We might go through a shitty time that gets worse before it gets better. That could happen. Similar to WW2, WW1, 2008 economic crisis and many other significant uncool events that don’t even make it to the mental map of the Western civilization, this could simply be a down-turn. What tends to come after a down-turn is an up-turn (if that’s a word). Clearly this doesn’t and shouldn’t mean we sit here idle while waiting for the next big shit to hit the global fan. However it means:

  1. There is no use in worrying and/or getting angry about things that you don’t control
  2. Preparing as much as possible to bulletproof (hope not literally) yourself so you don’t get caught with your pants down (again, hope not literally)

With this, I present the top 3 books that in my book (see what I did there) provide a solid road map on how we can navigate these uncertain times.

Good luck! You’ll need it.

#1 Anti-Fragile by Nassim Taleeb

In the core of all of his work Nassim Taleeb telling us that the world is an extremely uncertain place and he believes those who think they can forecast or control the future are simply suckers. In this particular book he cautions against getting too comfortable in modern day comforts, salaried corporate jobs, well forecasted futures. He recommends adopting a dumbbell strategy (balancing safe best with extremely risky bets), intermittent fasting and cash to be prepared against crisis that are bound to happen. In a world where the barons of Silicon Valley are buying underground bunker-mansions (which also happen to be proofed against radiation and zombies no doubt) you can at least open your mind by reading this book.

antifragile

#2 Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant

You know that saying to understand the future you should study the past or something. Well this book is that. It’s essentially a map of the past, and through that past it calls out some of the immutable truths (i.e the laws of biology are the fundamental lessons of history) that most likely will apply to the way humanity will continue to behave.

lessonsofhistory
#3 The 4th Turning by William Strauss & Neil Howe

If for nothing else, just get this book to understand some of the forces that got Trump elected in the US. Apparently a favorite of Steve Bannon, the theory of the book (in quite a bit of sometimes tedious detail) explains how the US goes through cycles every 80-100 years and we are now approaching a 4th turning, which is characterized by the purging of the existing system through a major crisis (read war). What’s scary is any theory that indoctrinates people who hold the power in a society, especially if that society is the US, can make the theory a truth. For example if you believe your country is about a 4th turning where there will be a war to reset the system “to Make America Great again” then you might inadvertently be gearing towards that war. “For a man with a hammer, everything is a nail” said someone once (or more). Beyond the theory it also offers practical advice to the individual such as returning to traditional norms, being an integral part of your society, build personal relationships whom you can rely on in a crisis etc.

fourthturning

Now if you excuse me I am going to go and buy all the canned beans in the supermarket downstairs.

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