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The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  6,373 ratings  ·  1,059 reviews
From 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a captivating account of how "a skinny Asian kid from upstate" became a successful entrepreneur, only to find a new mission: calling attention to the urgent steps America must take, including Universal Basic Income, to stabilize our economy amid rapid technological change and automation.

The shift toward automation i
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Hachette Books
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Benjamin Marcher Agreed. However, since it deals heavily with technology and information sciences, it does fall under the science section in some regards. Since you po…moreAgreed. However, since it deals heavily with technology and information sciences, it does fall under the science section in some regards. Since you posted your question, I have seen this book be added to business, sociological, and political categories as well, for ease of access. (less)
Marian 1. Though Yang wrote this in part for his Democratic presidential campaign, this book is not exclusive towards any particular political perspective. H…more1. Though Yang wrote this in part for his Democratic presidential campaign, this book is not exclusive towards any particular political perspective. He focuses on common problems, not parties.
2. There's a wealth of data presented on automation and jobs in the US, including graphs and sources/notes. It's incredibly eye-opening.
3. Yang's commentary on college education and careers is down-to-earth and needs to be more widely heard.

I'd also highly recommend checking out his longer interviews on YouTube. While this book is a good introduction to Yang's ideas, it's in the interviews where you'll find a stronger case for universal basic income.(less)

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Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Richard - someone I’ve known on here for about a decade (how time flies) - recommended this book to me - or rather, recommended a podcast ( where the author discusses this book. I ought to like podcasts more than I do - but I find them tedious and remarkably slow, and the main person behind them often comes across as annoyingly smug - if you listen to this podcast note when the interviewer first warns the author he is planning to have a go at him on the q ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Donald Trump was elected President in 2016, I was living in Miami, FL.

At the time, I had lived through three cycles of boom and bust in the United States. The great recession, in particular, sparked my interest in economics and its impact on society. At the time, learning about subprime mortgages, securitization, foreclosures, and interest rates engrossed me in a profound but technical manner. As the Big Short summarized so succinctly, how could “5 trillion dollars in pension money, real e
Mario the lone bookwolf
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, there are certainly many fine, proofed long time (impossible, except they have secret time travel) alternatives, defined in detail by the opponents of the universal basic income. If not, it would be once again the same irresponsibility by the government as with...Oh, I understand.

Let´s start with a quick history lesson. Once upon a time, all the people worked on farms. A few specialists, but not really worth mentioning. Then the rising of the primitive form of industrial work, before the
Nov 13, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018
The War on Normal People offers a staunchly capitalist and polemical take on the subject of Universal Basic Income (UBI), which proposes giving every person an unconditional small sum of money each month. Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur with presidential ambitions, claims that mass technological unemployment is imminent, and he argues that UBI is the only way the "normal people" of the American middle class will be able to avoid destitution. If capitalism is to continue and social upheaval is to be ...more
Roy Lotz
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I admit that I hardly paid attention to Andrew Yang during the primaries. I knew that he was for Universal Basic Income (UBI), but little else; and it did not seem to matter, given his pole numbers. But during the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus lockdowns, UBI is starting to look all the more reasonable (especially after I received a direct deposit from the federal government!). So I decided that it was time to take a second look.

This book could easily have been mushy pap—a boilerplat
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Don't let the word 'Normal' stop you from reading this. It really is for everyone.
My only complaint, it is a little dry. I like the message even if I do not agree with everything in book. It was thought provoking.
I have just read the biography of Andrew Yang by Matthew Wilson and now have finished reading Yang’s “The War on Normal People”. This book tells of the problems of automation and AI (artificial intelligence) in the workforce.

The book is well written and researched. Yang points out the problems are here now and are only going to get worse and at a much faster pace than most people realize. I found it frightening the list of jobs and professions that will be reduced or eliminated by automation and
Mrs. Europaea
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Move over Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Mama has a new issue to plague her sleepless nights.

In The War on Normal People, Yang, outlines the upcoming employment crisis to hit the United States. With increasing measures by businesses and organizations to make all things automated for reasons of "productivity and efficiency", he lists the industries most in jeopardy due to technological advancements. Industries include but are not limited to: Office and Administrative Assistant, Sales and Retail,, F
Yukari Watanabe
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I started reading this book, I started telling people around me, "This is exactly the thing I've been telling everyone what we should do to save this country!" And, since I finished the book I've been telling everyone to support Andrew Yang as a presidential candidate for 2020. He is the first presidential candidate since Howard Dean whom I passionately support.

I'm going to write a detailed review for Newsweek Japan, but for the American people who reads only English, please, please
Diane Pagen
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read The War On Normal People. I recommend it to everyone, which makes it a different kind of book. Even though I love, say, detective novels, and biographies, I won't recommend them to every kind of person. The War On Normal People stands out to me as being able to improve the lives of every person.

Andrew Yang isn't screwing around, telling us that we need to ponder the problem of automation, so that in a few years we can maybe do something. Pondering is not helpful. Indeed, he points out tha
Andrew Frawley
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to be in the year 2018 and not hear about the endless studies alarming the general public about coming labor automation. But what Yang provides in this book is two key things: automation has already been ravaging the country which has led to the great political polarization of today, and second, an actual vision into what happens when people lose jobs, and it definitely is a lightning strike of “oh shit.”

I found this book relatively impressive and frightening. Yang, a former lawyer, en
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Fantastic book which I finished at warp speed and then proceeded to find out more about the author online. Read this and then check out videos of him on Youtube, especially the podcast with Joe Rogan. Andrew Yang is running for President in 2020. He is obviously very intelligent, articulate and has numerous well-thought out policy proposals. I previously had doubts (or was even ideologically opposed) to many of the things he is proposing (for eg. UBI is more welfare, retraining is the answer, et ...more
I learned about Andrew Yang through Sam Harris's podcast in fall 2018, and put this book on my list to read more about his plans for Universal Basic Income and Human-Centered Capitalism. Through this book he poses a near-future where automation puts large sectors of the US economy out of work, small towns and cities die, and the life, as we have grown accustomed to, changes dramatically.

The last third of the book sets the stage for the changes he proposes. His case for UBI is compelling, and I
Donna Hines
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, arc
Americans are becoming more angered, more frustrated, even more depressed and despondent in this Dog Eat Dog world we currently reside in as they struggle for basics to simply survive.
Jobs are being replaced by automation, innovation, technology as the new norm.
What happened to benefits for all workers, affordable healthcare and childcare, availability of full time work with paid family leave, equal pay, living wages, seniority, and hiring based on skills and or education rather than income or
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like many others, I discovered Andrew Yang by way of his excellent interview with Sam Harris last month. Yang, who is running for President in 2020, immediately struck me as honest, intelligent, well-informed, and profoundly reasonable––a heroic foil for the repugnant personalities that dominate today’s national politics. Yang’s central campaign issue is the institution of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all Americans, a daring and promising idea that has been on my radar for some years now. ...more
Debbie Zapata
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019sundaze
Andrew Yang first came to my attention when he said in one of the debates that immigrants were not taking jobs away from this country's citizens, automation and AI were responsible.

That thought stuck in my head, and when I learned about this book, I was very interested in seeing what Yang had to say.

I am not going to make a political pitch here, I don't even know if he will make it as far as being named the Democratic candidate for the 2020 elections.

But if you want to learn something about eco
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
I knew I wasn't going to be thrilled with this guy. I just forced myself to read this because he's running for president in 2020. He probably will be one of the better candidates but I still can't say that I agree with most of his ideas. It's not universal basic income that bothers me. I actually think UBI does make sense right now. The problem is that it should be part of a plan for transitioning to a degrowth economic system and a truly sustainable way of life. Instead, Yang pushes the idea as ...more
May 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
I've never run into a candidate like Andrew who identifies the problem so precisely but also presents data driven evidence based policies instead of empty rhetoric. I love the way his campaign is uniting people across all political backgrounds and of course Asian American representation is super important!!

Andrew Yang for President 2020
Riley Redd
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very important book. Every American ought to read it. Universal Basic Income is an absolute necessity now.
Cody Sexton
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It seems that the world that we have all been preparing for, is on the verge of no longer existing. Technology is changing our economy now in ways that we aren’t fully equipped to understand, let alone control, and as technology continues to consistently advance, the shift of work activities now performed by humans and those performed by machines is going to change also and the shape the future of humanity will take will be the result of complex, changing, challenging and competing technological ...more
Fiona Aboud
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this amazing book to be incredibly powerful. The effect of reading Yang's book is literally like waking up and seeing the world in a new way. It's so easy to think of automation as someone else's issue, or a decades-away problem, but the book decidedly convinces the reader that we're already far, far in the middle of revolutionary changes that are manifesting themselves today for millions of people. The book is inspiring in the way it instills urgency. It moved me so strongly that I foun ...more
11811 (Eleven)
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Smart motherfucker. This dude should run for president.
Charles J
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Just in time for the first Democratic presidential debates, I have finished candidate Andrew Yang’s manifesto, "The War on Normal People." From its title, which subversively suggests there is such a thing as normality, you can tell that Yang is trying to be different. From its subtitle, you can learn of Yang’s core big idea, universal basic income, UBI. I was prepared to be unimpressed, but really, the book is well written, and UBI, as Yang explains it, has a certain attraction, even though it’s ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was absolutely shocked by this book and can't stop talking about it. The author gives a background of the largest income sectors in the US, all of which have lost or will lose jobs to automation, including retail and trucking, and the impact this will have on income inequality, families, and the future economy - and he has a plan for how to ameliorate the situation.

I'll do pretty much anything to avoid going to a mall (I bought this book from The Major Online Retailer!) and there's no shortage
Jakub Ferencik
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK I'VE READ THIS YEAR. The first time I heard about Andrew Yang was when he was on Sam Harris' podcast, "Waking Up". Yang is a current 2020 presidential candidate and successful entrepreneur that has spoken to many about creating jobs efficiently, including the former president, Barack Obama.

Yang paints a very bleak picture for the future of humanity, our economy, and jobs. He looks at the speed of automation and how the workforce will go through a complete revolut
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I literally jumped out of my bed in excitement halfway through reading this book.

Andrew Yang completely nails what has caused many of the problems in the US. His simple description of the human effects from automation, and his major policy recommendations to fix them are both a strong reality check and extremely inspirational.

Whether you're Republican or Democrat, Andrew clearly proves that automation is real and having a negative effect on our society. Most importantly, instead of just identify
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Absolutely everyone
Of all the democratic presidential candidates, Andrew Yang stood out to me for a number of reasons and has been my favorite person there, by far, and not only because #MATH (Make America Think Harder) even tho that was pretty cool. He got occasional and superficial news coverage (he was actually called "quixotic"). It was pretty obvious that his run as a way to get the idea of UBI, and the reasons for it, into the mainstream.

The book is absolutely brilliant, for comprehensive and constructive a
Hákon Gunnarsson
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Earlier this year I read a book on the pending fourth industrial revolution. What struck me about that book was the way the writer kind of said that this revolution would result in people loosing their jobs, but that would be okay as new ones would be created in their place. The problem with that is simply: yes, we may be able to create new jobs, but then again, maybe we will not be able to do that. We may have mass unemployment on our hands, with no idea how to deal with that new reality, and t ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
This book is goddamn awesome. I have read books on automation before but Yang delivered it in a way that is very personal, emotional and yet never failed to be logical with backup data / statistics. A few topic that is touched upon the book that I truly enjoyed beside UBI:
- Academic / social elite and the disconnect of the social classes in America
- Income inequality and wealth distribution
- College and the hookup culture / disappearing of the structured family
- Addiction to tech and video game
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing

“My goal now is to give everyone a sense of what’s coming and then prepare us to fight for the version of the future that we want. It will be a massive challenge. It’s up to us; the market will not help us. Indeed, it is about to turn on us. The solutions aren’t beyond us yet, but it’s getting ate in the day and time is running short. I need you to see what I see.—Andrew Yang

The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.—William Gibson

As Andrew Yang points out in his remarkable boo
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I am running for President as a Democrat in 2020 on a platform of Universal Basic Income and evolution to the next stage of capitalism, Human Capitalism.

Visit the campaign website here:


Author of 'The War on Normal People' about automation, jobs and Universal Basic Income

I am the founder of Venture for America, an organization that recruits and trains top college graduates to st

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