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2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America
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2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  3,916 ratings  ·  854 reviews
Is this what's in store?

June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory—and by then, memories were long. Since cancer had been cured fifteen years before, America's population was aging rapidly. That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never mean
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Natalie
2030 is like an action flick version of the Daily Show meets West Wing meets the Lost Generation meets Coma & Cocoon except wait a minute . . . this book is just about, well, us; Americans today,right now: what we think about, what we do, what we fear, what motivates us. I gorged on this book.

Is it funny? Not particularly? Is it exciting? Not really. Does it present unique ideas in a new way? Sorta but not in a spectacular way. Then, what makes it so readable? THE PACE. It keeps on moving,
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Jason
This is one of those books that will give you the confidence to write one of your own. Simply take 30-40 minutes out of your day and scribble out several 2-page chapters where you exaggerate all the scare tactics you hear on the nightly news and voila!!! you'll have your very own dystopian novel before you know it! What you won't have is the promotional blitzkrieg that Mr. Brooks had to promote his novel on The Colbert Report, various NPR shows, including "Talk of the Nation," "All Things Consid ...more
Reid
Yet another dystopian future predicted for the United States, this one based largely on the faulty, misinformed, hysterical rantings of people like Paul Ryan. Brooks has swallowed the reigning conservative economic fallacy whole, that our indebtedness to China and other countries will somehow evolve into them taking over our country and that the aging population will somehow overwhelm our capacity to serve them. He also strays dangerously into an odd little utopia in which limits on human rights ...more
Karen
It's 2030 and since cancer and other diseases don't exist anymore, the "olds" have taken control of the country and AARP is the most powerful voting bloc in america. Revolution is in the air as young people try to right the imbalance of money and power. In the midst of all this, California is hit with the "big one" that we've always been warned about, and our first Jewish (okay, only half Jewish) president has to somehow figure out a way to bail out the country before we tank for good.

This book
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Kevin
My daughter suggested this book so I got it from the library. I like Albert Brooks so it was not a real risk. After finishing (and btw, finishing is a strong word to use since the book just seemed to end and not be finished) 2030 I don't feel cheated. By that I mean that my time reading was not entirely wasted. I enjoyed the story. I really don't feel one way or the other about the writing, the characters or the story. I'm just done reading it. I ran out of pages. Brooks must have a very good im ...more
David
1984 may have come and gone, but Orwell's chilling vision of the future made a lasting impact for decades. And the argument could be made that many of Orwell's visions came true: we have virtually no privacy these days, we are all slaves to our TVs, and Big Brother is most definitely watching.

In the same vein, Albert Brooks takes a look into the future of America, and produces a somber, yet highly plausible, outlook. The year is 2030, the first Jew has been elected to the U.S. presidency, the na
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Sarah
The copy I read was left behind at a hotel without the jacket. I thought the author was just another guy with the same name as the actor and I guess I wasn't listening to NPR the day they reviewed 2030. So I had absolutely no preconceptions, there was only a plain black cover not even a sub-title to lure me in.

Spoiler Alert.

The main reason I kept reading this book was to find out what happened once China re-built LA. the author never got that far, it just stops too early with a newly elected nat
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Ryandake
sit down, my children, and let me larn you up on the world. for the entire book. because you're never going to get out of infodump territory, nay, not even unto the end of the book.

it's a tough dilemma for people writing future (or very historical) fiction: how do you world-build? how do you get across so much information, some of it fascinating, some of it mundane but necessary, without turning your novel into a lecture? Brooks didn't even try not to lecture us. once past the first 50 pages, th
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Doreen Dalesandro
I listened to this book.
Genre: fiction, near-future, US politics

I've enjoyed Albert Brooks in film, especially Broadcast News and Lost in America. I was unsure of him as a novelist. But I found 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America to be thought-provoking, terrifyingly plausible, and laced with humor. The ending left me wanting more of the story...

Dick Hill did an excellent job narrating.
Tricia Long
I started out loving "2030," believing it to be, as the jacket stated, a "sweeping novel of ideas." I wish Brooks had an idea of how to write a scene, at all. The book starts off strong - we're in the future, hyperinflation and overpopulation has placed incredible roadblocks in the way of the younger generations' path to happiness while baby boomers keep living longer. We have a charismatic President whose greatest strength is being just as likable as he appears. There's a handsome, wealthy revo ...more
Djrmel
So many good plot devices, wasted on such weak characters! "Near future" science-fiction is a risky setting for any writer because so much of that future has arrived between the first draft and publication. It's likely to appeal to a wider audience, however, more like mainstream fiction because it's easy to imagine a world only 20 or 30 years into the future, and Brooks got lucky with only a few events happening in the real world that change how the reader sees his story. The central theme, "be ...more
Mel B.
I have mixed feelings about this book. There are too many characters sometimes -- I had to really focus to remember which character we were following now. That's the problem from the writing standpoint. The ideology standpoint comes from getting a sense of a long, preachy book, not sure which side I was supposed to be on, which side the author was supposed to be on, or where we would even be at the end. [return]The themes are of real concern -- rising medical costs, and the perception of younger ...more
Mike
Disappointing. Coherent and relevant enough to hold your interest, but I expected more from Albert Brooks. Instead of real insight into the direction the country is heading, it seems like he just picked a few popular search categories from Google News from recent years (health care, national debt, China, social security) and just extended the most pessimistic assumptions of each out twenty years.

The book's not funny, by the way. That's not a deal-breaker, but a bit of a surprise. Moments of humo
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Eric
Nov 01, 2011 Eric rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I couldn't in good conscience recommend anyone else read this
Recommended to Eric by: Nikki Romano
There are some interesting ideas about where we are going as a society and what technological advances we will see in the next two decades, but they are lost amid uninspired prose and shallow character development, along with some of the least plausible scientific/economic/political ideas I have ever encountered.

To be specific (some vague spoilers below):

- By following so many characters with opposing goals -- many of them unnecessarily -- it was hard to become invested in, or root for any of t
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Donald
This advanced reader copy (ARC) was provided to me by the publisher through the Amazon Vine program, of which I am a member.

~

I'm a fan of filmmaker Albert Brooks (his movie Lost in America is still one of my all-time favorite comedies). He's a writer, director, actor, and has done voice work for The Simpsons. So when I saw that he had written a novel--and I had the opportunity to get an advance reading copy from the Amazon Vine program--I jumped on it.

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to Am
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Jack Miller
Very fast and entertaining read. Some ideas about the future that have not been so clearly presented in one book before. This is one of those books that you think you will read over a period of days and you're reading well into the night, at least that was my experience. A very very nice surprise as I did not know what to expect.
Clay Nichols
2014 is more like it. Given recent financial quaking in Europe, you have to give it to Albert Brooks for his prescience. What he presents as the nation's future, awash in insoluble debt and brought to the brink by natural disaster, seems all too plausible these days. He scores points for envisioning what would likely be the fallout of increasing financial disparity between generations -- what happens when a generation finally fails to live better than the previous in this country. And his take i ...more
Gerri Leen
I love Albert Brooks for his combination of cynicism and romanticism. I love his skill at mixing pathos and comedy. I love the fact that there is not one thing in this book that doesn't seem entirely possible, and very, very likely, by the year 2030. Brooks has been a force in film for years but that doesn't always translate to print. Fortunately for us, he's a genius in either medium. His characters are engaging. There are a score of them, something I normally find very hard to track, but he in ...more
Erik Larson
This book had a very great concept. I had often wondered what would the world do if the US went bankrupt and had to deal with a major catastrophy and loosing one of the largest cities in the world? Well if you wondered the same, then this book is NOT for you. sorry but it was kinda dumb and drawn out. I think it was written by some cranky old man who thinks the youth of america hates him. There is no way that this type of hate is even possible. The Author's main theme seems to be the your hates ...more
Dave
This is a frustrating book. On the one hand, its portrait of a future twenty years hence is frighteningly plausible. One gets the sense that Brooks had a team of futurists at his beck and call while he formulated this vision of America in its dotage, as it were.

On the other hand, the actual writing is fantastically awful. How can a man who is such a good screenwriter be so bad at writing prose? Brooks seems to have no confidence that his reader will pick up on his oh-so-subtle characterizations
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V.
This book is full of ideas, most of which are extremely plausible. The problem is every time something is mentioned that's different in the future he takes acouple of pages to explain how it works, who invented it, the social repurcussions... it's like reading footnotes in the middle of the story.

The text book quality of the narrative makes it a bit of a slow read, and the story rushes to a tacked on climax that doesn't really feel very satisfying. None of the characters really grab your attenti
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Sterlingcindysu
3.5 rounded down. I think Brooks was very realistic in all his projections for the near future--nothing was so crazy that it couldn't exist. I certainly would be one of the "olds" by then and taking all those tax dollars/SS benefits away from my kids and grandkids.

The plot, setting and characters were all fine, especially for a first novel. There's an internet joke going around about how seniors really could retire on a cruise ship, or even in jails with the current setup (medical care, forced
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Jessica Thompson
Page Turner! Seriously funny, brilliant and imaginative extrapolation of the issues that dominate political and cultural debate 20 years into the future. While it is fiction, the premise and playing out of events seem terrifyingly plausible.
zxvasdf
The voice of the writer is so consistent throughout the book that the reader would be hard taxed to actually differentiate a character by their tone or action; each character is a cut-up cardboard copy of the other. The dialogue often reads wooden and similar. It's like reading a four hundred page deadpan joke.

That put aside, 2030's strength lies in its extrapolation and imagination. I absolutely loved the 2030 that Albert Brooks visualizes. It's exactly the same as our world, yet radically dif
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Brian
what the heck is up with this book? about halfway through I was like "is this albert brooks from the one 80's movie where he falls in love with some lady in heaven?" it is the same albert brooks. I laughed and kept on reading.

shortly afterward the book kind of started to dredge along the presidents affair, anything but torrid. as a potential future for america and the world i like it. it doesnt seem grandiose at all, it is like reading historical fiction, like the titanic with leo.

when i watch m
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Gerald Curtis
Having recently read “On Second After” about the collapse of the United States following an EMP that destroyed all electronic devices as well as all electrical distribution, this book presented a very interesting alternate view. There is no catastrophe to destroy the United States – except the inevitable consequences we all know must someday comeback to haunt our childish, shortsighted and irresponsible addiction to debt, mixed in with very plausible predictions about the growing population of o ...more
Loring Wirbel
Brooks clearly intended a fast-reading tour de force with '2030', not a piece of 1984-style literature. For what it attempts to do, it is an interesting and plausible work, particularly in the scary 2011 environment of dodged debt ceilings and failed states.

I'll call him on three issues - First, there are minor typos here and there, and minor factual mistakes that a better fact-checker might have remedied (e.g., "Strategic Air Command" has been "Strategic Command" since the 1990s).

Second, the ov
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Alan
Comedian/Actor/Writer (and who knows what else) Albert Brooks has been making people laugh for years. Now, with his new novel, 2030, he's making us think.


Twenty Thirty, The real story of what happens to America, shows us a very convincing picture of what can and may happen in the U.S. as the baby boomers (myself included) continue to get older and older. Thanks to advances in medical research, including finally a cure for cancer, Americans are increasingly looking at their eighties and nineties
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Neil Griffin
The lame and rather obvious thing one would say after reading this book would be: "Albert Brooks should stick to acting." But that's a lazy critique. I liked the first 20-30 pages. I found the world interesting and some of the future gadgetry fun in a DFW sort of way.

Then it got political.

Yes, Scifi and Futures can be used to hold up a mirror to our own unique time, but this was a little much. It basically took the current argument of to reform-or-not-reform Medicare and made it into a plot abo
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Justine
I'm not quite sure what to think here. I enjoyed the fast paced writing - it got the ideas across quickly and efficiently, but the closer I got to the end of the book, the more I disagreed with the author.

Of course, I realize that there is no way I would agree with everything, but the more the book commenced, the more I thought it was unbelievable. The way the people of the US agreed nearly unanimously to any proposal set forth by the President (view spoiler)
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Albert Lawrence Brooks (born Albert Lawrence Einstein; July 22, 1947) is an American actor, voice actor, writer, comedian, and director. He received an Academy Award nomination in 1987 for his role in Broadcast News. His voice acting credits include Marlin the clownfish in Finding Nemo, and recurring guest voices for the animated television series The Simpsons, including Russ Cargill in The Simpso ...more
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