The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet
Ramez NaamE-book: $14.99
Climate change. Finite fossil fuels. Fresh water depletion. Rising commodity prices. Ocean acidification. Overpopulation. Deforestation. Feeding the world’s billions. We’re beset by an array of natural resource and environmental challenges. They pose a tremendous risk to human prosperity, to world peace, and to the planet itself. Yet, if we act, these problems are addressable. Throughout history we’ve overcome similar problems, but only when we’ve focused our energies on innovation. For the most valuable resource we have isn’t oil, water, gold, or land – it’s our stockpile of useful ideas, and our continually growing capacity to expand them. In this remarkable book, Ramez Naam charts a course to supercharge innovation – by changing the rules of our economy – that can lead the whole world to greater wealth and human well-being, even as we dodge looming resource crunches and environmental disasters and reduce our impact on the planet.
By providing a detailed, statistically rich historical background on many of the detrimental practices andattitudes that have brought humanity to the nail-biting precipice that may await a century from now, Naamstrengthens his soberly confident, if not cautiously optimistic, predictions for how humans can walk it back from the edge of disaster.
Seattle-based writer and former Microsoft executive Ramez Naam argues that we can solve the natural-resource and environmental challenges that face us - and grow global prosperity - if we tap our most abundant resource: innovation.
'I’m an optimist,' he writes more than once. Optimism about the power of ideas offers no guarantees, as Naam is well aware; he carefully avoids complacency. Something needs to be done to stimulate our ingenuity, Naam writes. Equal parts pragmatic and inspiring, his book offers a helpful guide for that purpose.
—The Intelligent Optimist
Computer scientist/writer Naam has produced a compelling road map for meeting the dire environmental, energy, and food challenges facing human civilization. He argues persuasively, drawing from a wealth of research, that humanity has the potential to innovate itself out of those problems, as it has before.
This book contains a plan-probably the only plan-to save the world. Ramez Naam is unwilling to minimize the challenges that face us, but equally unwilling to sermonize or catastrophize. The Infinite Resource is an intelligent and responsible analysis, presented in lively prose; it should be required reading for all global thinkers and leaders.
—Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature
An amazing book. Throughout history, the most important source of new wealth has been new ideas. Naam shows how we can tap into and steer that force to overcome our current problems and help create a world of abundance.
—Peter H. Diamandis, MD, chairman and CEO, X PRIZE Foundation; chairman, Singularity University; and author of Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
Most books about the future are written by blinkered Pollyannas or hand-wringing Cassandras. Ramez Naam—Egypt-born, Illinois-raised, a major contributor to the computer revolution—is neither. Having thought about science, technology and the environment for decades, he has become that rarest of creatures: a clear-eyed optimist. Concise, informed and passionately argued, The Infinite Resource both acknowledges the very real dangers that lie ahead for the human enterprise and the equally real possibility that we might not only survive but thrive.
—Charles Mann, New York Times bestselling author of 1491 and 1493
RAMEZ NAAM is a Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He is a former Microsoft executive, and former CEO of Apex Nanotechnologies, a nanotech startup. He is the author of More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement (2005), for which he was awarded the 2005 H.G. Wells Award. He lives in Seattle.