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The War on Normal People

Narrated by: Andrew Yang
Length: 6 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Summary

From entrepreneur Andrew Yang, the founder of Venture for America, an eye-opening look at how new technologies are erasing millions of jobs before our eyes - and a rallying cry for the urgent steps America must take, including Universal Basic Income, to stabilize our economy.

The shift toward automation is about to create a tsunami of unemployment. Not in the distant future - now. One recent estimate predicts 13 million American workers will lose their jobs within the next seven years - jobs that won't be replaced. In a future marked by restlessness and chronic unemployment, what will happen to American society?

In The War on Normal People, Andrew Yang paints a dire portrait of the American economy. Rapidly advancing technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation software are making millions of Americans' livelihoods irrelevant. The consequences of these trends are already being felt across our communities in the form of political unrest, drug use, and other social ills. The future looks dire - but is it unavoidable?

In The War on Normal People, Yang imagines a different future - one in which having a job is distinct from the capacity to prosper and seek fulfillment. At this vision's core is Universal Basic Income, the concept of providing all citizens with a guaranteed income - and one that is rapidly gaining popularity among forward-thinking politicians and economists. Yang proposes that UBI is an essential step toward a new, more durable kind of economy, one he calls "human capitalism."

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Andrew Yang (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"In this powerful book, Andrew Yang highlights the urgent need to rewrite America's social contract. In a call to arms that comes from both head and heart, Yang has made an important contribution to the debate about where America is headed and what we need to do about it." (Alec Ross, New York Times best-selling author of The Industries of the Future)

"This book is a must read. Andrew Yang is tackling one of the biggest challenges facing our country the way only an entrepreneur can, but unlike most, he sees the big picture. Making money is good for you - but building a strong society and strong people is good for all of us. The topics Andrew addresses in this book aren't about some dystopian future way down the road. These things are happening today, and every entrepreneur should read this book to understand the challenges of the next decade." (Daymond John, star of ABC's Shark Tank, best-selling author of The Power of Broke, and founder of FUBU)

"Andrew Yang is one of those rare visionaries who puts dreams into action. The War on Normal People is both a clear-eyed look at the depths of our social and economic problems and an innovative roadmap toward a better future." (Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global)

"A sobering portrait of a crumbling polity...[and] a provocative work of social criticism." (Kirkus Reviews

What members say

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Scary and inspirational

The most pessimistic and optimistic book I've ever read. Two thirds of the way through I was ready to slit my wrists. Your ( scary) analysis of our current and future evoking situation should be heard by every politician in power today (have you considered sending every congressman a copy). The last third is a clear and visionary explanation of some possible solutions to our problems. fantastic book. Good luck with your presidential bid.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • ENFIELD, United Kingdom
  • 27-07-18

Depressing facts, Inspiring solution

A comprehensive review of the US and in part of the Western world in general. Packed full of facts, this might actually reduce some people’s desire to consume this, but for me it shows that the recommendations and conclusions are absolutely required.

Clearly inspired by his own work and the failure of government, the author gives a rousing call to action. If life were to move in this direction I feel it would be good for the US and hence the world.

It gets my vote.

The authors voice is a bit monotonous at times but you get used to it and his passion does come through.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J
  • 23-04-19

A breath of fresh air

Our system is broken. There is a better way. We have that choice and must make it now to proactively prepare for a future dominated by automation, AI, robotics and distributed ledger technology. We must value ourselves by our contribution to society, not by our bank balance. Andrew Yang presents this perfectly.

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Enlightening & Scary

An interesting perspective on a potential version of the future.

Something definitely needs to change if we want to avoid what appears to be an inevitable future.

Andrew provides some very positive heart warming solutions, which I just hope more people would consider, rather than attempting to block.

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Love this! ambitious, urgent and inspiring.

Very enjoyable listen with lots of interesting and well thought out ideas range from things that make you think "that's worth a shot" to "that would literally transform the world"

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Fresh air of optimistic, rational inspiration

Yang makes too much sense. Everything is backed by science, his personal life and common sense. Totally recommend!

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superb vision for the future

a great possible future for man kind. These ideas are great and well thought out

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Essential listening

‪Excellent and essential reading / listening for anyone who wants a glimpse of our near-term future, and some practical ideas on what to do about it. ‬

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Bleak but promising

Andrew Yang paints a bleak picture of the future. If it were painted by a child, it would take him to a psychiatrist's office. But the author is no child, and no psychiatrist could conceivably deliver us from the menace of technological and sociological change.

The book is a powerfully personal plea by a successful entrepreneur for a "human capitalism" to alleviate the social decay and psychological disruption caused by the creative destruction of capitalism. He argues for a Universal Basic Income as a cushion for the savaged working class.

What I most liked about the book was the brutal, honest and shocking writing style. He reveals more about himself, and about America, that most people would be comfortable with. Even though the author apparently has political ambitions, there is nothing sugar-coated about his words. This is hard talk about harsh realities.

The book is just as long as it needs to be. The first half is clearly superior to the second. It prognosticates about a dystopian future where robots do most of the work and whole regions are abandoned to joblessness, crime and waste. A doomsday prophet is always better at scaring people than at offering remedies and hope.

The book is at its best when it makes the reader s--t her pants. The UBI solution is offered as the remedy. Yang calls it, loftily, a "freedom dividend", which provides unconditional cash transfers to all people. I agree with his solytion, although he doesn't add much new to the burgeoning debate around UBI. He openly lifts his proposal almost wholesale from Andy Stern's recent (and impressive) book, Raising the Floor. This is fine, since Stern has it right.

Where the book falters is where it attempts to dabble in broader, speculative policy proposals. These range from misguided moral panic in his efforts to blame the free markets for the failures of governments (such as Wall Street bail-outs and America's corrupt health care system) to promising, but underdeveloped, ideas in new institutional arrangements (such as the idea of energizing dying cities with government-backed time banks and other social credit arrangements). It's all very rough, very hit and miss.

Despite his occasionally wild and silly proposals, and despite his relentless dystopianism, I found his raw message to be hard-hitting and very important. I don't think we have any choice than to implement UBI and embrace technological change.

There's an uncensored urgency to his message. It slaps the reader in the face. Good job, Yang, you have my attention.

PS..Andrew Yang reads his own book, which is very personal, so it feels doubly intimate.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-07-18

I Would Vote For Him

Thank you Sam Harris for having Andrew on your podcast or I would have found out about him too late!! His cogent argument in The War On Normal People to get off our ass and realize that automation is coming was convincing to the point where I may become an evangelist for the cause. By announcing his candidacy for President so early on should give me some time to tell many people about him and for humanity to hear his message: America is not broken and the future is not bleak. Andrew Yang in 2020!!

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Eivind Hagen
  • 04-07-18

This is an important topic, increasingly relevant.

Narration is not passionate enough, but the message comes through loud and clear.
Universal Basic Income is potentially a central part off how we will solve many of the problems of pure capitalism. This is an idea that may seem counterintuitive, but if you follow the logic it shows a lot of potential. Also worth realizing is that UBI is already in use in various forms around the world.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • George Janeiro
  • 22-02-19

The Perfect Antidote to Trump

Andrew Yang, a compassionate capitalist, has the problem-identifying and problem-solving skills to be a great President. He and his ideas are exactly what America needs right now to save us from Trump and everything that gave us Trump.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Libby
  • 19-02-19

Gave me hope!

The ideas expressed in this book are clear, well thought out and compelling. As a person who is disillusioned with the government and systems in our society this book gives me hope that there are people truly thinking about solutions and ways to implement them. thank you Andrew Yang for such a comprehensive resource, I for one will be thinking about these things and spreading them through conversation!




3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dwayne Murray
  • 21-02-19

Very Informative

A must Listen. Hemingway once said "the world is a fine place and worth fighting for" even if you don't agree with the entire quote, we should all agree with part of it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-02-19

Yang 2020

Binge worth and insightful. Yang presents the best case for UBI. This man should be our next president but I dont see that happening due to the nuanced nature of his solutions.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • DowntownJohn
  • 20-02-19

An important message right now

I can't say I enjoyed this book, because it's difficult to hear that widespread unemployment is in our future - permanently. But the author does a great job of laying out the problem and proposing a solution. And backing up that proposal with strong arguments. I also liked the author's exposing many things in our current society that either don't work for the public good, or actively work against it. An example being U. S News and World Reports annual colleges rankings. I had no idea it was so damaging. Or that Harvard functions like a hedge fund with a university attached. All in all, an excellent book. Highly Recommended.

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  • RS1985
  • 17-02-19

Informative and compelling!

Thank you for writing this book and explaining what the future looks like. This story should be mainstream news!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Hendren
  • 09-02-19

Brilliant and Hopeful!

Andrew Yang's insightful ideas and clear vision will bring prosperity to the United States. The socioeconomic benefits are staggering and will likely reach far beyond what any of us could imagine! Inspiring!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Calvin smith
  • 03-07-18

Amazingly well written and well explained

Yang uses data and common sense to defend social democracy. He lays out the problems with the current economic model and proposes solutions like medacare for all, social currencies, and of course, universal basic income (UBI). His common sense approach is characteristic of an entrepreneur and he defends his solutions in a novel but compelling way. This is a must read for anyone who cares about the future of our country.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful