THE POTENTIALIST

YOUR FUTURE IN THE NEW REALITY OF THE NEXT THIRTY YEARS

Visionary and intriguing; a compelling read about future realities.

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In this first installment of a nonfiction trilogy, a serial entrepreneur prognosticates life in the next 30 years.

Applying his own considerable personal and business experiences, Lytle briskly covers “The Forces of Change” in Part 1 of the book, moving on to the “Skills and Mindset” necessary for succeeding in a career and the development of strategies for health and wealth in Parts 2 and 3. The author begins with an intriguing “Prologue,” in which he describes numerous fictional individuals at various stages, envisioning what living in future years will be like for them. In Part 1, Lytle broadly explores four major themes around which he believes the future will unfold: “Innovation-Resistance,” “Democratization,” “Demographic Change and Neutralizing Distance,” and “The New Reality—Better or Worse?” While much of this content is speculative, the author does an admirable explanatory job of justifying why he selected these themes. Perhaps most provocative in this first part are the “ten new world realities” he outlines, such as “You will be superhuman, but will you make the best of it?” and “Life and career in the Cloud will redefine life as we know it.” Parts 2 and 3 delve into the skills Lytle thinks will be needed in a future world. Not surprisingly when it comes to the workplace, he believes collaboration, much of it enabled by technology, will set the tone. As for the individual’s role, the author invests considerable time discussing the concept of personal branding. Offering specific brand-building ideas, Lytle also urges readers to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset, regarding themselves “as a Product or Service.” In Part 3, the author focuses on three areas—health, wellness, and success—each of which he deftly discusses with a heavy emphasis on adopting the right mindset. He delivers sage advice on healthy living and managing wealth (not just acquiring it). He also defines the requirements for success “in the New Reality,” encouraging “the pursuit of potential as a central theme in life.” Foretelling the future is not an exercise for the faint of heart, but Lytle handles the challenge with both enthusiasm and wisdom.

Visionary and intriguing; a compelling read about future realities.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63755-136-3

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Amplify Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

A STORY OF LOSS, LOVE, AND THE HIDDEN ORDER OF LIFE

A quirky wonder of a book.

A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.

Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.

A quirky wonder of a book.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6027-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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