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Publisher's Summary

The dizzying exuberance of the Internet-driven marketplace offers unprecedented opportunities and an ever-expanding choice of deals, products, investments, and jobs - ranging from the merely attractive to the nearly irresistible - for the people with the right talents and skills. The technology that is the motor of this transformation relentlessly sharpens competition. When consumers can shift allegiance with the click of a mouse, sellers must make constant improvements by cutting costs, adding value, and creating new products. This is a boon to us as consumers, but it's wreaking havoc in the rest of our lives. Reich demonstrates that the faster the economy changes, the harder it is for people to be confident of what they will be earning next year or even next month, what they will be doing, where they will be doing it. In short, those fabulous new deals of the fabulous new economy carry a steep price: more frenzied lives, less security, more economic and social stratification, the loss of time and energy for family, friendship, community, and self. With the clarity and insight that are his hallmarks, and using examples from everyday life, Reich delineates what success is coming to mean in our time and suggests how we might create a more balanced society and more satisfying lives. The trends he discusses are powerful indeed, but they are not irreversible, or at least not unalterable.
©2001 Robert B. Reich; (P)2001 Random House, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Kenneth on 03-14-06

What you knew, but hadn’t articulated

When the Secretary of Labor writes a book about work, maybe you should listen. Really a very good book; probably the best book I’ve read in a year.

The book is mostly about the sociology of success (not a how to book). But it is nevertheless likely to lead to personal insight. Heavy on micro-economics.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Cary on 11-21-04

The Future of SUCCESS??? Really???

I enjoyed the summary overview of the development of the western economy, mainly from the Industrial Revolution through the internet age. But when he made a sharp swerve to the left, I realized I'd been had, and the whole broadbrush historical overview was just setting me up for a litany of liberal social programs that will make everything OK. (Sorry, I hope that doesn't spoil the ending for anyone).
If you are a liberal, you will find all the great ideas that will take away the misery of the poor by taking money away from the evil rich, passing it through the highly efficient hands of government, and making everyone better off, with more time to spend with their families, no need to work very hard or very much, and no risk that anything bad will happen to you.
If you're a conservative, you'll find an articulate rendering of some variations on age-old egalitarian, social experimentation proposals. Even if you don't agree with it, it's well written, and easy to listen to. We should all give fair consideration of viewpoints we don't agree with -- there's too little of that in our country today.
I don't agree with the title of the book. Reich's outlook is quite pessimistic from every perspective. We're on the road to unhappiness and social ruin if we follow the current path, according to him. His solution, however, is to reduce risk through redistribution of wealth, which history has shown tends to bring everyone down toward mediocrity, rather than incent success. There have got to be better solutions than he proposes; otherwise, the future of success is failure.

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22 of 29 people found this review helpful

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