Tag Archives: sociology

Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke

Man was, therefore, still a prisoner on his own planet. It was much fairer, but a much smaller, planet than it had been a century before. When the Overlords abolished war and hunger and disease, they had also abolished adventure.

Childhood’s End is a good scifi from the accomplished author Arthur C Clarke. It starts with a sudden arrival of some aliens, just after the second world war. They bring peace and prosperity, but never disclose their reason to come to Earth. The book ends somewhat surprisingly, into a kind of transcendence for humankind.

childhoods-end
Quality scifi writing

Although written in 1953, the book keeps pace with current development and innovations, which shows the, what proved to be correct, vision of the author for the future.

The plot has several twists, a couple of stories being intermingled, but the narrative is kept straight and easy to follow. The anchor of the book are the aliens and the slow progress towards the inevitable end. It reminded me of the more recent series of Harry Turtledove (Colonization – also on this website).

The book is an easy read and imaginative enough to be an entertaining scifi almost 70 years after writing.

While I enjoyed reading the book, I think it could have explored more the excellent plot lines developed. A solid reading overall.

[Featured picture by ITU Pictures]

The Future of Almost Everything – Patrick Dixon

Over $5.3 trillion of currencies are traded every day, yet nations like the Philippines, Peru, Poland or the UK hold less than $80bn in reserves to defend against speculators. Enough to last only a few days.

The book is trying to identify future trends, developments that human society might take. Dixon considers that there are six main future trends, conveniently named: Fast, Urban, Tribal, Universal, Radical and Ethical (FUTURE).

Patrick Dixon has a lot of guessing and the arguments he shows are shallow. There are so many statements that some will certainly turn true.

future-of-everything
Guessing the future

Nonetheless, he is intriguing and has a good grasp of what is happening in the world. It makes a good overall read and challenges the reader. However, I did not feel that he bring anything new, all being trends that exist already and are extrapolated into the future.

Patrick Dixon is a professional futurologist, having a company specialized in this niche, with many reputable international clients. He writes often, on various subjects.

The style of reading is very fluid and it follows very neatly the logic of each chapter or trend. It make a good read overall, but not exceptional.

[Feature photo by Kristian Bjornard]

Shadow work-the unpaid, unseen jobs that fill your day – Craig Lambert

Shadow work will grow. It rewards businesses and organizations in ways that are irresistible. No capitalist can refuse a chance to cut those heavy personnel costs by transferring jobs to customers who work for free. As shadow work merges into our daily routines, it will affect social habits, economic patterns, and lifestyles.

This amazing book by Craig Lambert discusses the many small jobs that fill the day, uselessly tiring a person and keeping it in constant stress. From the self-check out to cleaning your own table , from the meaningless coupons and small reduction cards to freely creating content by posting reviews (TripAdvisor, GoodReads), the author gives many examples of work that keeps us busy, without actually creating significant value-added.

The phrase that I loved most was: if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others.

shadow-work
Is your time precious?

The book has some parts where the author rather rants and does not make clear that some of this work is to save money. Nonetheless, it is often forgotten that time is the most precious resource and the author correctly notes that people prefer giving time for money rather than money for time.

Craig Lambert makes the reader think of how much content and personal information, he/she is giving for free. Reviews, grading, customer experience surveys, likes, are all commercial information freely given. It has a huge success: Facebook, Uber, AirBnb, Quora, Booking.com thrive on the free work done by customers, giving their own time.

The book is a good read for everyone tired at the end of the day and wondering why. Some enjoy doing the volunteering job, others just get caught in a whirlpool of small tasks.