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This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  474 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A vision for building a society that looks beyond money and toward maximizing the values that make life worth living, from the cofounder of Kickstarter

Western society is trapped by three assumptions: 1) That the point of life is to maximize your self-interest and wealth, 2) That we're individuals trapped in an adversarial world, and 3) That this is natural and inevitable.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Viking
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Kressel Housman
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yancey Strickler, the author of this book, is also the co-founder of Kickstarter, and he unabashedly calls his book a manifesto for a new economy. As democratic socialism and a universal basic income are now being seriously discussed in the U.S., I figured his manifesto would be along the same lines, except with a bend toward supporting people’s creativity, which is definitely the kind of economy I’d like to live under. When I was traveling in Israel in the 90’s, I met a young man from the Nethe ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
He oversimplifies, conflates individual and corporate mindsets, and has a woefully incomplete understanding of economics, but Strickler’s call for us to reject a focus on money as the only measure of value in our society is a message we need.
Michael Payne
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
On the measure of GDP in 1968 Robert Kennedy said,

Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
It pains me slightly to give this book a negative review because I think his diagnosis is basically correct. He argues that, since the late 1970s (basically in response to Milton Friedman's 1970 New York Times article about maximizing shareholder value) American life has had only a single value: "financial maximization", to the detriment of all of us. He argues that, though it won't be easy or quick, we can and should start working to change that.

The book is broken into two parts: first he tries
Matt Hutson
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Why not move away from a complete focus on financial maximization to value based maximization? Think about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:
1. Physiological needs (food, water, shelter)
2. Safety (health, physical, financial)
3. Love (family, friends, belonging)
4. Esteem (the drive to achieve)
5. Self-actualization (to become everything one is capable of becoming)
Money as the basis of life and society sets a ceiling on what we can be. It doesn't aim for the peak of the pyramid.
How to ha
Oana Filip
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In a world dominated by big yet meaningless words like ''disrupt'', ''innovate'', ''hustle'', ''go big'', this book is a relief. It brings a new perspective on how we can build a better future, one that makes far more sense than financial maximization.

Generosity should stay at the core of everything we do if we want better businesses, better relationships, better teams, better communities. We need to question our values and search for the ones that help us become the best version of ourselves.

Ben Graham
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A phenomenal book - a powerful call for positive change and a road map to giving our lives real meaning.

This Could Be Our Future offers a range of invaluable insights from varying examples to prove why the current system of value maximisation is not just counter-productive, it's counterintuitive. From Bentoism to the 3-point shot to the value helix, this book offers an alternative to our 'progress at any costs' mentality.

The life lessons he learned from his time as CEO of Kickstarter have clearl
Danny Regan
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: must-reads
In an attempt to dismantle our default gravitation towards financial maximization, Strickler offers the philosophy of Bentoism as a new approach to decision making. Strickler provides an opportunistic outlook on how our global community can move away from an inhibiting way of life that idolizes money and towards a life full of value, meaning, and purpose. Dramatic change in the way we value money won’t happen overnight but societal values are never static.
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
Yet another work tracing what's happened to us since the day we were cast out of the garden of eden, some call it Reaganism, some neoliberalism, Strickler refers to Milton Friedman's article bringing financial maximization to the public's attention. Since that day, the well-known curve showing that productivity continues to rise but wages stagnate. Strickler thinks we can overcome the problem thru the power of platitudes. Specifically, he proposes what he calls Bentoism from the Japanese takeout ...more
Miguel Diz Lopes
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite enjoyed to read this book. I wholeheartedly agree with it and its points of view. Financial maximization is a concept we need to keep moving further away from and start to refocus on a wider view that focus on values. A whole better world can be created from it. That's the important message that needs to go through and Strickler does a great job passing it on, going through history, giving several examples and exploring the Bentoism framework.
Overall, I felt it lacked a little bit of dept
Laura Tolp
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“We humans don’t get to run a million iterations. We only get to live life once. We need every tool we can find to make the best decisions. This is why a broader spectrum of values is so crucial. Values are a guidance system based on the collective wisdom of our ancestors and the inputs of our cultures. Values are what make right and wrong. We ignore them at our peril.”

“For a company whose mission focuses on improving the health of the earth, the environmental impact of its products should be as
Alexander Teibrich
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book truly creates a new perspective and "widens then frame". I'm still contemplating the full picture, but I can feel, that there is something important to this. Moving away from financial maximization and its devastating effects and complementing the picture. Yancey proposes a model of Me Now, Us Now, Future Me and Future Us that seeks to move us from a money orientation to a values orientation. This seems to come from a deeply personal and generous insight and I'm looking forward to cont ...more
Mar 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
A good book for a politician. Profit is bad, but it can also be good. Money is bad, but it can also be good. Everybody, vote this guy!
Bhairav Mehta
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I thought the author's build up to the Bentoism value system was good - giving readers enough context, but the latter part of the book could have been developed more. ...more
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really interesting look at the ways in which our society has formed itself solely around ‘financial maximisation’ and has lost sight of goals which aren’t related to making money. Strickler explores other ways we might measure value through his ideas about ‘Bentoism’ and gives examples of companies and individuals who are genuinely value led, showing how possible it is. I feel like listening to this book has changed my perspective for the better and given me hope that we might be able to creat ...more
Dominic De Souza
So I really enjoyed and was inspired by this book. The author was the inspiration for Kickstarter, and created the new phenomenon of crowdfunding. This manifesto is all about breaking apart our expectations for how kindness and creativity and culture come together.

Most interestingly, he posits that it takes about 30 years for an idea to become a reality - as if the current generation accepts/discusses the idea, and the next one gets down to working with it.

It's a riveting read, and has loads of
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A badly needed dose of practical optimism from one of the cofounders of the successful tech company Kickstarter. Strickler’s manifesto for expanding our definition of value creation beyond the primitively narrow current paradigm of simple “financial maximization” is both timely and urgent. His “Bentoism” tool is simple and thought provoking. A great read for fans of Yuval Noah Harari, Malcolm Gladwell, or Adam Grant.
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, politics
2020-02 - This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World. Yancey Strickler (Author) 2019. 304 Pages.

I watched the author of this book give a book talk on this book on C-Span. I was about 1/3 through the book talk when I put it on reserve at the library. The actual book did not let me down. It is absolutely similar to the book talk I had watched, just more detailed. I ended up taking 6.5 pages of single spaced 12 point font reader’s notes. This is not an anti-capitalist scree. Th
Andrea McDowell
I guess if you're among the 80% on the surveys he quotes who list becoming very wealthy as one's main life goal, this might be revolutionary and groundbreaking for you. If the idea of making money your main life goal already strikes you as fairly horrifying or alarming, you will probably not get much out of a book that encourages people to look beyond short term financial maximization and include other values in your decisions.

It's a fine book. I guess the need for it says more about society th
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership
I got this audiobook at the start of the COVID19 quarantine; hopeful for some radical proposals for change in the world. I had to adjust my expectations as the theory of change here is incremental and calls for small shifts. This book more of a call to American entrepreneurial leaders to redesign capitalism.

The book feels like a call to adjust the greed and hegemony in the United States. It’s in the same vein of business literature that asks businesses to think in values and people. The style of
Sebastián Ortega
Jul 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: essay
Yancey Strickler writes a manifesto to go away from "financial maximization", a mental illness that he considers to have taken the world since Milton Friendman wrote an article stating that companies should stick to the desires of their stakeholders in the 70s. This way of thinking is characterized by short-term, myopic seeking of benefits and it has become an unchallenged assumption in the West, specially in USA (what he calls "hidden defaults").

You might be thinking that Strickler is an anti-s
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yancey Strickler is one of the founders of Kickstarter. In this work, he explores the United State's obsession with making money, and how it's adversely affected our society. Today, most big companies try to follow "financial maximization," making the most money for CEO's and shareholders. It's a relatively new phenomenon, starting up in the 1970s. Since then, there is huge discrepancies in CEO/average worker salaries, shrinking middle class, and massive credit debt for average Americans. Strick ...more
Dennis Leong
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has some great forward-thinking ideas on how we can improve our long-term survival and happiness as individuals and as a society. There isn't much in the way of hard statistics to back up what the author is saying, but it feels right and makes a case for a hopeful future for the next generations.

It took me a couple of chapters to get over the writing style. The sound-bite, marketing style of writing with numerous sentence fragments and paragraphs consisting of a few sentence fragments
Philip Maher
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humans, fi, to-buy
Heard about this book from Mr Money Mustache. In it, the author (Kickstarter founder) discusses the pervasive value of financial maximization and how it causes me to be disgruntled with the world. Further, to fight against financial maximization as the ONLY thing we value, how we should structure our lives and companies to increasingly consider other values (environmentalism, equity, learning, etc) in decision making. Doing so will make us more forward thinking and generous which would lead to a ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As far as “business” books go, this is one of the best I’ve come across. This guy gets it and I believe is spot on regarding his theory on the destructiveness of the “financial maximization” era and his Bento Box matrix philosophy is worthy of trying. I so hope our society moves in this direction. Putting the majority of our people first would be a refreshing change and potentially sustain our culture, mental health and productivity with people as a benefactor for the long run. We cannot sustain ...more
Jamie Nami
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The rare book that offers both bold ideas and practical advice how to use them.

It connects why the world around us is what it is with the deeper forces making it happen.
It was like seeing The Matrix!

This is all done in a way that's surprisingly entertaining (Mullet Economy, the no left turn rule, "The Trap" chapter) and that gets the point across.

Honestly, I didn't know someone could write an optimistic book about the future in 2019. Reading this made me feel excited about the future and what
Jerry Smith
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This is an interesting little book.
The author was on a podcast I listen to recently and I picked up the book shortly after.
His position is basically let's pump the brakes on the greedfest that is the US and look for things we value a bit more.
He has some good stats that will make your blood boil but he takes a very roundabout way to making his point.
I rarely say this but the book really needed to be much longer to stake a position and provide steps.

Nice read though it was worth the time.
Luke Leighfield
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite books of 2019. Strickler lays out some ideas on how we can escape the current culture of ‘financial maximisation’ for one that’s more generous, fair and kind. I constantly had to stop reading to underline yet another passage. It’s excellent.

‘Change creates compound interest: some people changing means more people will change. A growing movement can seem to tip overnight in favour of a new idea. On a long enough timeline, anything is possible.’
Mitch Olson
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Strickler pitches is on the need for society to adopt an approach to valuing and decision making that takes into account the broader context of “who” and “when”. In other words we are all invisibly embedded in the largely invisible context of time and community and when we fail to take these into account we limit the intelligence of our actions. His Bento box model is a simple tool to help with this. Easy to read
Ariana ONeal
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very good book that calls for us as a society to do and be better. Shows us the history of the economy, health instructions/science, music industry and more in a way that can reach people of different sectors. Even if there is not agreement on what Yancey is pushing for, it causes the reader to think beyond themselves and beyond their time on the world. The first step in the direction of change. I believe it would be a great read for schools/Universities to inspire discussion.
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