Blending career and self-help advice with speculation about future trends, veteran insurance executive Ben Lytle tells readers what to expect in life and work over the next 30 years.
The first in a projected Potentialist trilogy, this book paints a clear, and sobering, picture of an increasingly “disrupted” world. Rising lifespans and falling birthrates, the author posits, will make for more retirement-age people but fewer employment-age people to fund those retirements. Cloud-based computing and related applications (AI, VR, virtual assistants) will become ever-more pervasive; automation will cut many jobs, and, thanks to political and financial volatility, once-powerful “institutions and employers will become less relevant or fall by the wayside altogether.”
This could be seen, Lytle acknowledges, as either “a mind-boggling opportunity or a terrifying nightmare.” He plants his flag firmly in the former camp. A company founder himself, Lytle celebrates the opportunities for entrepreneurship in the “New Reality,” and counsels readers on developing the mindset necessary to thrive in it.
In these passages the book moves from the intriguingly specific about how society will change to the general and familiar when it comes to advice, with much pop-psychological language employed (choose “individual potential as a path to meaningful life”; “resilience and a forward-looking perspective… will lead to success”).
Lytle avers that success is more about making a positive difference than making money. Yet his approach tends to equate personal growth with doing well in business and to discount as irrational reasonable concerns about the brave new world he outlines (in which employment is uncertain and retirement far off for most people).
In sum, his musings about the future will be of interest to most readers, but his advice has less relevance for those who don’t aspire to be tomorrow’s Elon Musk.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.