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

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,924 ratings  ·  375 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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Sean Given that it covers the impact of technology on the private sector and employment in detail, it could go into either category satisfactorily.

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4.30  · 
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 ·  1,924 ratings  ·  375 reviews

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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
Nov 13, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018
My review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, also can be found on my blog.

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 abl
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
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.
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
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
Donna Hines
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
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
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
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
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
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
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
Yukari Watanabe/渡辺由佳里
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I wanted to read this book after hearing the author being interviewed on a podcast:
I actually listened to some of it in an audio-book format, read by the author, and then finished up by reading a physical book. (The author's audio performance was only so-so, but the content of the book was very thought-provoking.) More and more often, I read about the probability that automation will, in coming years, create worsening unemployment. What will happen to all
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
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
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
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
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.
Leo Walsh
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like many folks, I stumbled upon Yang when reading news coverage of the 2020 Democratic presidential field. One article linked to a podcast where Yang was interviewed at length, and I was hooked. His ideas are both sound and, probably, correct.

The first three-quarters of this book is harrowing. Whether or not you want to admit it, Wall Street and Silicon Valley are gunning for your jobs. CEO's and Boards of Directors demand efficiency. And robots and AI hold the promise of doing most of our job
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First and foremost, before I get into anything, I fully recommend this book. I'm giving it a perfect score...... But if I could I'd give it a higher score.

Get it from the library, Amazon, or borrow it from a friend. Read it asap, it's easily one of the best books of the year. I hope it catches fire before 2020 (more on that at the end of the review).

I have been on board the Basic Minimum Income train for a long time (ever since I read "Saving Capitalism), and did not need any further convincing
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Andrew Yang is running for US President as a Democrat in 2020 and this book is his political manifesto. Yang explains the challenges the US economy and society are facing or shall struggle with in the very near future. He advocates solutions such as Universal Basic Income (UBI) or the next stage of capitalism that he calls Human Capitalism. Yang is a great storyteller who spices up his message with a myriad of personal experiences and anecdotes. The book is super-easy and fun to read.

Yang looks
Nick Fraser
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I try to be conservative with my 5-star ratings. Even for books I gush about, I try to save them for works that are truly remarkable and challenge my worldview and emotional state at the time I read them. With that being said, The War on Normal People absolutely fills that criteria.

I had first heard of Andrew Yang about a year ago as I was first getting into the 2020 presidential race as a first-time voter, presidentially. I dismissed him then as a fringe candidate whose main policy, Universal B
Brian Moyer
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Yang did a great job of illustrating the coming wave of automation and its effect on millions of low skilled American jobs (hint - elimination). He also does a good job of covering the common challenges "normal people" face, such as Oxycontin and opioid abuse, near-record income and capital inequality, single parent homes, etc. Then he introduces a plan for a VAT and Universal Basic Income, which I really liked.

The problem I have with the book is the same problem I have with a lot of progressiv
Nov 17, 2018 added it
Shelves: audio, library-ar
You know when you sit around with friends, a drink in hand, and hash out just what is wrong with the world and how to fix it? That is what this book is like. The author is obviously well-researched, well-intentioned and well-off. There is very good information in these pages - he covers a wide range of social issues and his views, backed by reputable sources, are somewhat utopian in nature.

But there were times when his voice grated on me. The title is no good and he should not have chosen it -
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Universal Basic Income is a really interesting idea and it seems it would have something for everyone. Conservatives should like it because it can eliminate the cumbersome bureaucracy and disincentive to work of the current welfare state. Liberals should like it because it provides a safety net for the poor. Globalists and technocrats should like it because it will help them sleep better at night as they systematically eliminate millions of jobs. And the people who hold those soon to be obsolete ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yang might not be ready to be our next president but he has certainly thought about the future of America. He believes unless we change how we look at welfare programs and education we are going towards joblessness, homelessness and despair. Without the universal basic income, he argues, America will become a super stratified society like the hunger games universe where one or two groups are well off and everyone who missed the automation train is left to regress in quality of life. Light read, ...more
Brendan Egan
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lots of good information in here about the future of jobs and their place in society. Even if predictions are off a little, AI is definitely coming for our jobs at some point. That store or restaurant is going to replace workers with kiosks whether we raise the minimum wage or not.

Andrew's book will give you an idea of what to expect, and present some options and solutions for the future so that society doesn't decay and fall into ruin when no one can support themselves anymore.

Check it out. An
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 2 9 Sep 17, 2018 11:11AM  

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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
“Grit, persistence, adaptability, financial literacy, interview skills, human relationships, conversation, communication, managing technology, navigating conflicts, preparing healthy food, physical fitness, resilience, self-regulation, time management, basic psychology and mental health practices, arts, and music—all of these would help students and also make school seem much more relevant. Our fixation on college readiness leads our high school curricula toward purely academic subjects and away from life skills. The purpose of education should be to enable a citizen to live a good, positive, socially productive life independent of work.” 6 likes
“The market rewards business leaders for making things more efficient. Efficiency doesn’t love normal people.” 5 likes
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