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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.

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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.

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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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  • 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.

1 of 1 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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!!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Zachary Kreft
  • 13-01-19

Great ideas, too much extraneous content

Contains great ideas about the coming challenges we face and how to deal with them, but half the book is simply autobiographical. Of the remainder a large portion is spent simply convincing the reader that automation will lead to serious societal problems, rather than focusing on the solutions to those problems.

I like that he explains that societal unrest already exists from recent automation, in the form of fewer manufacturing jobs, the opioid epidemic, and the support for political outsiders like Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. More automation through the use of AI is awaiting the next economic downturn for executives to turn to this in large numbers as cost cutting measures.

His solutions are intelligent and well explained, encompassing not just the issue that many people will suddenly be out of work but the surrounding social problems that this will inevitably create. Hence the introduction of a universal basic income is supplemented by programs that encourage people to act in their own interests in ways that harness market forces to accomplish real practical and social good. Ultimately, it can be a win-win for everyone.

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  • ErikS
  • 26-12-18

A MUST READ FOR ALL AMERICANS!

An incredible and chilling in-depth look at the enormous challenges we face as a nation, from the collapse of communities in the Midwest to the skyrocketing prices of college and healthcare, to the immense and imminent threat of automation, AI, and robots.
We live in an age of unprecedented change, with unprecedented problems. Our institutions are failing us and we need to rethink EVERYTHING about what we value, and we don't have a lot of time.
Yang's "Freedom Dividend" revives an idea from the 60s and 70s, to eliminate poverty and inject millions of dollars a month into our communities by having a VAT on transactions so major corporations can't get away with tax evasion and to give that money to every American in the form of a $1000 check each month, no questions asked. It's not enough to leave the workforce and freeload off society, but it is enough that people won't be afraid of starving to death, or having to choose between daycare for their kids and having electricity. If you think that's unrealistic, I encourage you to read the book because he not only addresses the various objections, but comes at you with hard data on the handful of cases where it's been tried, been successful, and has enormous public support.

Beyond that, he brings up how we need to ditch GDP as the measure of our nation's well being, that unless we start prioritizing people over profits, we're going to grow our economy over a cliff and self-destruct just as technology is making us irrelevant and unemployable.

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  • Mr. Tibbs
  • 08-12-18

Must read for every American

This might be the most important book you ever read. Yes, it’s hard to take in the early parts, but Yang’s solutions are practical and empathetic. We must all join his fight.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-11-18

Yang 2020

Andrew Yang paints a bleak picture of our future if automation is left to run unchecked, as well as actionable solutions for how to solve this problem. UBI is coming, and Yang is the prophet fortelling its arrival.

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  • Nathan
  • 20-11-18

Share this book with everyone you know

Share this book with everyone you know. The world is changing but not for the better share this book with everyone you know so that we can help it change for the better.

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  • Randall
  • 20-11-18

Prelude to a Presidential campaign

Yang is clearly running for something. He prepares the ground via thorough research documenting the serious problems and contradictions generated by capitalism. However, he cannot bring himself to draw the obvious conclusion, namely, that capitalism IS the problem and socialism is its most serious symptom. Instead he reinvents something called human capitalism, as if there were any other kind. The basic idea is that the intensifying contradictions of capitalism can be softened for the masses by giving people a basic stipend. This well worn idea that the State can create a kinder, gentler capitalism by redistributing income is nothing more than Utopian reformism. It does nothing to change the inexorable dynamic of capital toward its own destruction. Of course our capitalist system can meet this demand, and in return the contradictions of capitalism will only be deepened and prolonged as a consequence. That some “progressive” capitalists see the need for this type of socialist response speaks clearly to the deepening crisis. As Yang says, the alternative is revolution. Somewhere the ghost of Marx is smiling.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-11-18

Techno-Socialism

It does what it sets out to do: it proves that artificial intelligence will make most people permanently unemployable. Yang claims to love capitalism, but repeatedly denounces market mechanisms. Yang is a Marxist in denial. His presidential campaign is a fool's errand. But he makes a good case for UBI.