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The Industries of the Future

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  7,136 ratings  ·  642 reviews
This book answers the question: 'What's next?' The Internet had a world-changing impact on businesses and the global community over the twenty years from 1994 to 2014. In the next ten years, change will happen even faster.

As Hillary Clinton's Senior Advisor for Innovation, Alec Ross travelled nearly a million miles to forty-one countries, the equivalent of two round-trips
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  7,136 ratings  ·  642 reviews

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Rachel Bayles
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: professional
First, the good. These are interesting topics. It's good to be reminded of how much has changed in the last couple of decades. This is a fun read with some interesting stories. If you read the newspaper, you will find nothing new here. But getting a 10,000 foot view of the world can be a useful way to orient yourself.

He also points out the troubling aspects of what he's highlighting, and at no point in the book does he come across as being way off base. His ideas about the future are probably as
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
If someone can invent a trustworthy robot that will stop cybercrime while taking care of grandma, they'll have the future made. ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: work, economics
This is an odd book – and although I think I learned many things from it, I’m not sure I could say I enjoyed it or that I would necessarily recommend it. This guy worked for Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State, and it reads a bit like something someone who worked for the US government and was keen to promote the benefits of US foreign policy might write if they were to write a book about modern technology and how it is about to impact the world.

A lot of this is much more positive th
Ryan Mcconville
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fast, informative read from former Innovations advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Alec Ross, who discusses five emerging industries that he predicts will dominate the next twenty years.

1. Robotics - "47% of [current] American jobs are at high risk for robot takeover, and another 19% are at medium risk," in the next twenty years. Best anecdote: China's Foxconn has made some of the most aggressive investments in robotics because, according to founder, Terry Gou: "Human beings are also
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed by the depth of this book. It is full of name-dropping and happy rose-tinted sci-fi view of the future without the in-depth grasp of the problems that the new technologies solve and their limitations.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, business
This is by far the most useful, eye-opening, mind-blowing, and mildly-distressing book I’ve read this year amid the indulgence in fiction. Robots taking care of us, discoveries in genomic technology saving lives, farmers optimizing pastureland through a mobile app, and the countries entering a code war. Suddenly the seemingly far-fetched ideas are not crazy at all, in fact, technological breakthroughs are changing the way the we live while I’m sitting here and being left far behind with little i ...more
Graeme Roberts
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book. Alec Ross worked on technology for Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, and as Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton he traveled to 41 countries and met many of the world's most accomplished and influential people. The early part of the book, talking about robotics and AI, genomics, and the coming disruption of financial markets by blockchain and computer science covered familiar ground (a little of which is already out of date). He seemed to hit his ...more
Melinda Flaugher
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this uplifting book about future opportunities. The author recommends looking into countries such as Africa, India, and China. Children need to learn two languages coding and a foreign language. The future will be more about adapility. The world is already breaking apart in two divisions the old world and new world full of technology and unlimited opportunities to develop ideas to help humanity.
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book that looks at what fields are heading for a breakthrough and which ones are on the way out or will require less people in the future. Ross was an advisor to the State Department under Secretary Clinton. Ross traveled too many countries to learn about industrial development. Ross describes how Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mexico are positioning themselves in the global economy. He also describes how Africa is starting to emerge as governments become more stable ...more
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is easily one of my favorite books. Such a compelling read. Bought this at the airport; couldn't put it down. Author is right on target about the future of technology, even dips into parenting and what education will be optimal for children to get a leg up on these future industries. Travel, learn a second language, and code. Inspiring topics. ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, technology
35th book for 2017.

Having travelled to over a hundred countries as Hillary Clinton's Senior Advisor on Innovation at the State Department, Ross has a overview and access to what's happening the world of technology that is some ways unique. His book offers an accessible account of future technological trends (robotics, AI, cyberwarfare, crypocurrencies, genomics etc) from a global perspective.

Read this book for the broad perspectives (both thematic and geographic) it offers, then find other book
The Industries of the Future, by Alec Ross, was an interesting book looking at upcoming industries from a fairly global perspective. Ross was a US State Department employee for many years, and as such has had much experience and connection with both US and global development programs. He talks about Robotics, Medicine, Big Data, Computer Programming and so on, all industries loudly being trumpeted in many spheres. His book is refreshing, however, because he looks at the nuances of these industri ...more
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
The Industries of the Future is not a very good book. Probably because it tries to talk about the future and nobody knows about it. But it has some merits that I will describe in the end… Even worse, I think it is not as precise an analysis as is The Innovation Illusion by Fredrik Erixon and Bjorn Weigel. Why do I claim such a thing? Let me just mention one example. To show the potential of robots in the future, Ross reminds us Foxconn claim in 2011 that it would have installed one million robot ...more
Kathleen Souder
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Interesting and thought provoking but you could get 80% of the value by reading 20% of the book. Entire star deducted for the author’s (over)use of the term “cyber” to cover anything related to internet or communications technology.
Sep 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
I found it quite superficial. A lot of anecdotes and very simplistic conclusions.
Momina Kamran
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars.

I found the book made a few good points but far too simplistic in generalising entire societies and economies - especially Africa and the “global frontiers”. The supposed potential of integrating these frontiers in the global marketplace fails to acknowledge the disadvantages of globalisation on indigenous knowledge systems already in practice. While the author does refer to “domain expertise” there isn’t enough emphasis on how the negative impacts seen in history will be mitigated
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents, employees, employers, government policy makers
I don't want to give this book five stars but I think that might just be because I don't really like the future? SO UNFAIR. I guess this is the first time I've really wanted half stars on Goodreads.


This book was fascinating. None of the industries surprised me, nor did Alec Ross' picture of the future. I've been in the tech industry long enough to know crazy crap is gonna happen. If you need a primer, CCP Grey did a great (and a bit depressing) video on it called "Humans Need Not Apply."

Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Taking readers from the future of robotics in Japan to genomic sequencing in China, Ross leaves readers pondering such seemingly farfetched questions as whether hackers halfway across the globe will someday use the computing power of our kitchen toasters to mine the borderless crypto-currencies of tomorrow. Drawing on a vast array of personal experiences, Ross provides a glimpse of the future built on empowering the people of today.
Oleksandr Golovatyi
Amazing book that I read with pleasure in two last evenings. The book covers a scenic story about the most interesting and most popular technologies of the present and their impact on the future of mankind. Key theses: work and their future in industry and human life, programming of money (cryptocurrency and blockchain), cyber security and wars with software code, as well as large amounts of data as raw materials of the information age. If you are curious what awaits humanity in the near future, ...more
A Man Called Ove
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 The author was a part of the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s office and drafted in to bring innovation. His travels and interactions gave him a great opportunity to make sense of where the world is heading and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands !
The industries of the future - sharing apps, A.I., robotics, genetics, medicine, big data/analytics, cybersecurity have all been discussed in some detail in a chapter each. The prevalent practices, their problems, their impact on i
Florin Pitea
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Well documented, well organised, clear, intelligible and, above all, very relevant. Highly recommended.
Sep 24, 2018 added it

Mhh… mixed bag; poorly-inspired and often general to the extent of being plainly journalistic (in the pedestrian sense). I might have - can’t remember - started this hoping it’d be more in the tunes of, idk, The Second Machine Age.

Instead. Sort-of a companion to the this, the lesson here is that given the fact of a US-centric biiig revolution now already reached, a combined effort to fully exploit the new technology is needed while simultaneously facing the broad missions to meet alongside (conf
Tulga G
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this great book, you realize that we are living as whole new generation because of the potentials the technologies and computers provide us for better future in our daily life. We are just entering to the digital age which give us much more connectivity without any border and beyond than any historical times. Also, this book underlined the hot topics today as Uber, Airbnb and even Bitcoin which are the businesses with new model, so it is quite interesting and readable.
The crucial p
Chad Warner
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: entrepreneurs, parents
Shelves: science, non-fiction
An interesting overview of several industries that will drive the next 20 years of change to economies and societies: robotics, advanced life sciences, digital money, cybersecurity, and big data. It raises (but doesn't devote much space to) philosophical and ethical questions about how changing technology will affect our lives. The book doesn't dive as deep as I would've liked.

The author was senior advisor for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during Obama administration.

I've alwa
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was definitely a book well written and kept interesting throughout. His research for the book is more personal (descriptions of meetings with people) and it doesn't scare you away with just data. I listened to the audio version of this book inspite of having a paperback. The narration was also done very well by the author. Definitely a must read book.
This book was published in 2016, and it needs a sequel very soon. The pace at which our world is changing, the book needs regular updating. A
Graeme Newell
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: overdrive
So many books about the future are written by theoretical professorial types who rarely have experience on the frontlines of innovation. That's not the case with Alec Ross. The man has an impressive real-world resume. Ross was Hillary Clinton’s innovation advisor and travelled nearly a million miles to forty-one countries.

I found this book fascinating. Ross has spent much of his career seeking out innovators who are daily changing lives. He weaves captivating stories about delightfully ingeniou
Jose Papo
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great read about top trends for the future. I also liked the end of the book, where the author gives tips and ideas on how to educate and teach our kids for this new future. And the conclusion is interesting: learn about new cultures, expand the view of the children about the World, learn languages, learn at least one programming language.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Alec Ross was Senior Advisor for Innovation at the State Department for 4 years during the Obama administration which gave him the opportunity to see and learn about technology and politics throughout the world. In this book he attempts to meld this information about emerging technology and emerging markets with geopolitical information and to make some predictions in areas such as jobs that will disappear, improvements & changes in medicine, privacy and cyberwar, and other areas. He also discus ...more
Thijmen Smith
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very inspiring book to stimulate yourself in which skills and/or areas you should focus yourself on. It centers around 6 different themes/industries: robotics, genes, block chain, cyber security, big data and the geography disperity of the industries of the future (book is written in 2014). The book gives a goos overview with insightful examples of those topics, but it does not go very much into depth of those topics. I, however, got inspired very much to read this overview. For example, I lea ...more
Boni Aditya
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-future
This book does not really talk about Industries of the future. I expected this book to be a predictor of the future, but it merely indicates the direction in which current industry is gravitating towards. It does not talk about what new things or unexpected things that the future can give us. Instead it only talks about the forefront of research and technologies that the current world is working on! The first chapter of the book i.e. about robotics and half way into genomics, followed by the las ...more
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Alec Ross is one of America's leading experts on innovation. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the author of The Industries of the Future, being published by Simon & Schuster in February of 2016. The Industries of the Future explores the technological and economic trends and developments that will shape the next ten years, from cybersecurity and big da ...more

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