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The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,355 ratings  ·  135 reviews
The Industrial Revolution, powered by oil and other fossil fuels, is spiraling into a dangerous endgame. The price of gas and food are climbing, unemployment remains high, the housing market has tanked, consumer and government debt is soaring, and the recovery is slowing. Facing the prospect of a second collapse of the global economy, humanity is desperate for a sustainabl ...more
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Palgrave MacMillan
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 ·  1,355 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting premise, but good LORD what a boring book. All about the meetings the author had with European heads of state to get funding for new energy tech. Listen to an interview with Rifkin, and skip the book.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rifkin's primary thesis is that the previous industrial revolutions occurred when new energy and information technology emerged simultaneously. The 3rd revolution, whose early stages we're in the midst of, is occurring due to the internet and renewable energy, which is lateral, democratic, collaborative, and distributed in nature. The 5 pillars of this revolution are shifting to (1) renewable energy, (2) buildings that act as micro power plants, (3) hydrogen and other energy storage technologies ...more
Kamil Salamah
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book of such magnitude; covering the human condition from all aspects to paint the vision of the coming future: the next leap in mankind's evolution bringing it closer to its inherent design, long lost in the hustle of the myths of materialism.

The author beautifully puts together what constitutes the essential 5 pillars to leapfrog to the already evolving 3rd phase of our evolution; the third industrial revolution. This is one giant leap bringing with it more freedoms long pursued. The 2nd in
Liz S
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Distributed generation is a fine idea. Almost entirely misses the concept of how big data servers work with his analogy to the internet, uses a lot of poorly-informed math to make his point, and name drops his meetings with EU officials ad nauseaum. The material would have been better suited for pamphlet, but probably was not worthy of a book.
Joseph Montuori
Apr 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
I’m reviewing this 2011 book a decade later because, well, I just read it, but especially because it seems more relevant to a mainstream reader like me today, than it may have when first published.

I’ve admired Jeremy Rifkin’s rare style of deep thinking, big picture, social criticism over the years, but never read any of his books until just reading his 2019 “Green New Deal”. That book relied so heavily on this earlier work, that I felt the need to give it a go. Yes, it‘s pretty dull, though I
Jul 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
Terrible. This book is riddled with factual errors, misleading statements and incoherent thinking. The structure is as follows: buzzword, blaah blaah blaah, name dropping/rubbing shoulders with important people, blaah blaah, factual mistake, more name dropping, blaah blaah, new buzz word. Rifkin writes a lot of energy production and internet, but has no particular training on either as far as I know. Apparently he sees himself as an "ideas guy" and then actual expertise doesn't somehow matter. O ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I picked the book up because I caught the speech he gave on the same topic. The speech was inspiring, the book is disappointingly much less so.

It felt long, tedious and was simply filled with name dropping. I was waiting for him to describe his vision for the Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) in greater detail, but that never happened. The closest it got to that was when he alluded to the fact that the TIR will enable this or the TIR will change that without saying how.

Watch the Vice speech fo
Greg Linster
Jul 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: partially-read
I had to put this one down after reading 50 pages. I was expecting the book to continue to build on the ideas set forth in his book The End of Work, but I was disappointed. It seems that Rifkin has totally abandoned the thesis he set forth in The End of Work. Instead, he has shifted his focus to the vogue issue of climate change and green energy.
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Good topics but the book repeats, it repeats, it repeats, it repeats itself a lot. That and the book repeats itself. And just in case, yeah the book repeats itself. It also repeats itself.
Y Chen
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Self praise all over but still inspirational enough to change one's lifepath ...more
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Truly eye-opening book that changes one`s perspective on how to view the world through the prism of upcoming industrial revolution ...more
Kuang Ting
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Mr. Rifkin is an influential futurist. He has the ability to meet national leaders worldwide. He is a consultant in EU bureaucrats as well. Therefore, EU becomes a good paradigm for the demonstration of his ideas. Honestly, I expect highly on this book, but it turns out a bit disappointing. The whole book is better described as marketing booklet, not an inspiring title. Indeed, he shows us great ideas, but the structure is just not coherent. He seems to write whatever occurred to him.

He talks a
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I respect what Rifkin has done in persuading world leaders to begin to work toward a renewable future. He has helped several government entities (including the EU) to make plans toward implementing an increase in renewable energy sources, creating continent wide smart grids, transitioning transportation to plug-in or fuel cell technologies, and using hydrogen as a source of power storage. These are praiseworthy accomplishments. However, this book suffers from too much philosophical meandering an ...more
Samuel Lubell
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Other people in the club liked it more than I did. I liked the first third (but even in that part I thought he could have explained the Third Industrial Revolution more. The middle seemed too much boasting about himself and who he met and who he convinced to adopt the TIR. The last section seemed to be random ideas with little to no connection to the TIR. Yes, Green Schools is a good idea but not sure it's really *industrial.* ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Oh man is this book boring! Just watch the TED Talk. Summary: we need to create a grid system like the internet that can help us wean off of oil and use solar/electric energy. Each chapter talks about how he talked to big shots in europe to do it and how he helped certain american cities do it, etc. Seriously, skip this book, but definitely let's get this guy to help us all spark the third industrial revolution. ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Highly aspiration book with some intriguing ideas -- and clear warnings -- about our ecological, economical and social predicament(s).

Some of this stuff clicks for me, and some of the things I was studying and thinking about several years ago.

I need to talk to others about some ideas that I find crucial and imperative and some that I find flawed. Takers?

Jan 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Had some salient points. However, he was very grandiose in his thoughts on how the new energy market would change the world, and he didn't offer many details as to the current difficulties. Worth the read for someone new to the subject. ...more
Amber Hyun Jung Kim
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Pop economics. Nuff said. Clearly written but the ideas are way too grandiose. Also, i still find myself skeptical of anyone whose job title is "social thinker." ...more
Jim Deasy
Jul 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nothing has been more influential on the history of human beings on this planet than the Industrial revolution of the 19th century. Besides birthing the profession of “Industrial Designer” the Industrial Revolution remains today, an unparalleled and monumental example of human capability and innovation. From Henry Ford’s ground breaking method of assembly line manufacturing to the chemistry which produced the title wave of bright and cheery plastic everything that washed over the planet during t ...more
Craig Becker
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, I will be reading more of his books and watching more of his video's. Great insight into how we can transform society. Rather than complaining about how things are, he lays out a clear and comprehensive plan about how to move forward. His plan is to help us move to a distributive and collaborative society.

He suggests, and I agree, this can be the next evolutionary economic model. He builds this distributive and collaborative world on 5 Pillars. 1. A Shift to Renewable Energy; 2.
Yerzhan Karatay
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Have I read it in 2011 when The Third Industrial Revolution was first published, I would have probably thought that Jeremy Rifkin is a dreamer. Perhaps things weren't really clear during that period but in the start of 2021, I do feel like they are coming true. Perhaps one could even say that nothing really changed cause EU remains more environmentally friendly than other regions of the world and it just becomes more apparent.

Jeremy Rifkin didn't just look into the future but also explained how
Tamara A.
Mar 13, 2021 rated it liked it
I'll give him some credit for some of his ideas on what a fossil fuel free energy economy might someday come to be. That green energy will never be "free" as he states in the book. There are always costs for manufacturing the equipment to make that happen, costs to mine things like iron, aluminum, silver, and other natural resources required to make things like wind turbines and solar panels. Which by the way kill the birds that happen to go in their path. So much for being nature friendly. Wome ...more
Yvo Hunink
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
While we were setting up Energy Bazaar, a decentralised energy market protocol for the global South, we often felt alone in our vision for the energy democracy. I wish I had found the insights of Jeremy Rifkin sooner so that we would have been able to mingle around in the TIR community. Also, we might have been more successful in attracting capital for our distributed energy platform, where most 'second industrial revolution' investors saw nothing in our hard-to-sell product.

Rifkin lays out a st
Mitchell De Zylva
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's rare that I find something in the Non-Fiction space that I consider essential reading, but this is one of them. The Third Industrial Revolution outlines a possible direction for economic and cultural development which is becoming more and more true, regardless of the desires of traditional market forces. The motion towards collaborative, distributed, flat power structures, to suppliers and users, as opposed to producers and consumers, is one that is happening regardless of our input.

For an
Wilder Acuña
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Well, I was hoping more, and I just finished the book and I feel that I didn't like it so much. At the begining of the book, it appeared to be excellent but later the author started to talk about meetings with important people and I felt as he was bragging about the influential people he knows. Also, at the end he talks about the education and the schools and other things that don't seem to have a strong relation with the rest of the book or maybe the transitions between the last chapters was so ...more
Mickey Dang
Oct 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book - I couldn't. Energy systems are an interesting concept and one that is ripe for change.

But the writing of this author made this unreadable. It felt like stats were just jammed into the book at every other sentence with no cohesive narrative or idea. Many of the topics were repetitive and kept superficially covering the same point (everyone is moving to renewable energy, it's going to be great, and everyone is happy). Many of these stats and examples were left to stand
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Author outlines a future that is quickly coming true where energy generation will be distributed and the people will gain power (literally and figuratively). This will reduce reliance on large fossil fuel companies and increase independence and possibly redistribute wealth. People will move closer together (i.e. cities) and work more as an efficient community. Buildings will be more energy-efficient. The internet has helped to promoted this. He uses lots of buzz words. The book more outlines a f ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Consumers will have little difficulty adapting to the new age of better products, swiftly delivered. Governments, however, may find it harder. Their instinct is to protect industries and companies that already exist, not the upstarts that would destroy them. As the revolution rages, governments should stick to the basics: better schools for a skilled workforce, clear rules and a level playing field for enterprises of all kinds.
Paul moved to LibraryThing
The book concentrates on political problems and the proposed solution. The technical problems are not discussed and it appears the author isn't aware of them. The unadulterated optimism prevalent in the book is wholly unwarranted. Unrepresentative anecdotes and misunderstood analogies are used as arguments. It's a laudable goal but maybe it would be worthwhile to partner with someone who understands science for a book like this. ...more
Ville Gustafsson
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Though it was interesting to read about all the work, travel and convincing that Mr. Rifkin has been doing to promote the TIR, the name-dropping got very tiresome very fast, and that part of the book was so long it took me several months to finish. The general idea of the new industrial revolution is interesting and the supporting ideas also, though Rifkin seems to want to solve all the world's problems in under 300 pages and that's - though I admire the boldness - a bit too much. ...more
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American economic and social theorist, writer, public speaker, political advisor, and activist.

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  As the summer comes to a close and the days grow shorter, it's natural that we're drawn to what hides in the shadows. Mystery stories are...
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“We have come to discover what we suspect is a new political mindset emerging among a younger generation of political leaders socialized on Internet communications. Their politics are less about right versus left and more about centralized and authoritarian versus distributed and collaborative.” 9 likes
“Generations of human beings were transformed into machines in the relentless pursuit of material wealth: We lived to work.” 6 likes
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