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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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-06-18

Andrew for president 2020!

I first learned about this author through Sam Harris's "Waking Up" Podcast. On there, Andrew mentioned to make these changes possible he would have to run for president and I think he could win! These policies are achievable and would be supported by a winning majority.

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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!!

1 of 1 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.

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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  • Weeping Monk
  • 06-08-18

Excellent intro point for anyone interested in UBI

Well written book concerning UBI. Doesn't get overly deep into the minutia but does a good job covering the subject in a more general but also well thought out way. I usually balk at 'read by the author' audio books but Yang does a credible job.

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  • Travis Meyer
  • 04-08-18

Thorough, data driven, and convincing.

Loved listening to this book on my commute! To me this book consisted of 2 parts chapters 1-16 are the problem, and boy I'm convinced the author is right that this is the #1 problem the world is facing. Automation is going to obliterate communities and lives. I learned so much from this section, but as it's content suggests, it gets depressing. If the reader likes, they can jump straight to the 'solution' half of the book, starting on chapter 16/17.

The solution section is excellently filled with new ideas for dealing with the fallout of automation. The biggest solution is Universal Basic Income. One of the reasons I got this book was because I like UBI, but have concerns about how it can be paid for and delivered. This section answered my questions, and even gave more suggestions as to its effectiveness and pilot studies going on right now. He also adds more ideas after UBI, some sound plausible, others ehh.

As a techy neuroscientist in the field of AI I completely agree with the author's sense of urgency for this subject, and getting ahead of the problem, and in that way this book is a must read/listen.

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  • gary stephenson
  • 30-07-18

interesting thought provoking ideas .

More people need to try and understand what our future could be if we go the right directions and this book gives some great angles we could peruse.

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  • Jake
  • 26-07-18

An Important Book

Andrew is a compelling thinker and writer. His ideas are fresh and stated succinctly and sharply. He makes a strong case for UBI (universal basic income). But I would say that’s maybe 25 - 30% of the book. Much of it is on identifying the problems we face now and are likely to face in the future, and much else is devoted to other ideas besides basic income, such as how to improve higher education, reduce government corruption, and make capitalism serve humans, rather than the other way around. Andrew does not speak in platitudes, but offers real ideas. You actually learn something and develop a sense of hope from reading him.

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  • J. Roche
  • 18-07-18

An idea whose time has come.

This is one of the most important books you'll read, describing an undeniable, underlying trend. We're participating in the second Renaissance or Intellectual revolution, and this is another inevitable step to our greater liberation. But opportunity is always dangerous. This is a call to enlightened action. It's an appeal to something higher within us, vested in a longer term interest than to which many will first give action.

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  • Philip Van Stockum
  • 18-07-18

Extremely important message

This book sheds light on what we will almost certainly find to be one of the most important challenges in our society in the near future. Full of alarming statistics and forceful arguments. Everyone should read this book, because the problem of automation and job loss will affect all of us severely if we don’t anticipate it.