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The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  7,786 ratings  ·  910 reviews
“Conventional analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination. It imagines passing clouds to be permanent and is blind to powerful, long-term shifts taking place in full view of the world.” —George Friedman

In his long-awaited and provocative new book, George Friedman turns his eye on the future—offering a lucid, highly readable forecast of the changes we can expec
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 27th 2009 by Doubleday (first published July 31st 2008)
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3.67  · 
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 ·  7,786 ratings  ·  910 reviews

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Michael Herrman
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I was suspicious of Friedman’s argument for being able to foresee the future because it essentially boiled down to “highly competent people have very few options to choose from”. That is to say that the more competent they are, the narrower their potential band of action and the easier to guess at what they’ll do.

To make his point, he invoked chess on the grandmaster level: a world-class player has few winning moves open to him, but many losing ones, and his logic is that the grandmaster will se
Aug 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, read2009
I chose to read this book because someone asked people's opinion on an email list. I couldn't buy into it enough to finish it.

First, we are asked to accept geopolitical analysis, then we are asked to accept that George Friedman's analysis using geopolitics is accurate, and that his angle is the only one that counts.

Well I don't buy it. Most of the time he picks and chooses what specific world events to highlight to 'prove' his geopolitical forecast. I kept thinking of other events he ignored. I
Dan Solomon
I made it through the first seven chapters in, like, four enthusiastic hours. He talks some convincing shit about history and what we can extrapolate from history in order to better understand what the future might hold. It's insightful and readable and very smart.

The next three chapters took about a week, and I found myself constantly checking my iPhone while I was reading it. I couldn't figure out why, and then I realized that the guy was probably just making shit up.

The reason the first sev
Hmmm...this is a difficult book to write about for a number of reasons. Let's take a Proustian moment and beat it to death with words.

The most difficult is the complexity of dealing with any topic beyond the window of 5 years. This is the problem with futurism in general. Predicting one year out is difficult but beyond 5 years you are descending into fantasy...a brief review of the futurist texts over the past 40 yrs. proves this point. Though these get a few things right most of what they have
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
More like a long New Yorker article than an actual book - by which I mean it's at points breezy, totally accessible, and engaging - the book by Friedman is something of a wonder. As a lover of Sci-Fi and Speculative Fiction I thought I'd find out what someone who gets paid for a living to think about the future thought would happen in the next 100 years. Keep in mind Friedman's entire focus is geo-political but in order to make that work he does have some interesting insights into the future of ...more
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book, detailed. Of course the further it moves away from our times the more speculative it gets. Still, since the publication in 2009 time has proven the author right on several issues. It has taken me a long time to read, I didn't find it easy, but well worth while.
Ryan Holiday
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Books aimed at predicting the future are always dangerous and often reek of charlatanism. Books on politics and war are regularly partisan and emotional. It's impressive that The Next 100 years, a book that attempts to predict the future of both international politics and war in the coming century falls prey to none of those traps. Friedman is calm, dispassionate and articulate at each turn.

His predictions are surprising in that they contradict almost everything the average person would trend ou
Joseph Spuckler
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Spoilers and whatnot below

A good history to start with and Friedman very much sticks to the belief that history will repeat itself with Poland as the new Germany in Europe trapped between Germany and Russia, two historic enemies. The US will treat it as it did West Germany. Turkey will rise as a Muslim power in the world. Poland is a bit of a stretch I feel. I would not have made Turkey a first choice, but Friedman backs up his argument pretty well, although he tends to forget that Turkey is ve
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is based on an intriguing idea, that it is possible to predict the future based on geopolitical interests. The author explains changes in 20-year cycles in the past, and then proceeds to predict the next century. The book's greatest virtue is that it looks critically at a number of commonly-held beliefs about the future (particularly in regard to China's future power). The author does a good job of explaining why events generally do not always continue along a smooth path, and hence wh ...more
Bruno Gremez
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
In this 2009 version, George Friedman tried to predict possible geopolitical events and major trends of the 21st century. A little bit in the spirit of "The rise and the fall of the Great Powers" by Paul Kennedy, he analyses the strengths and weaknesses of a large number of important countries in order to forecast how the world could look like in the next 2 or 3 decades and who would dominate it.

George Friedman, contrary to many, speculates that the US will retain their dominance. To some exten
Aug 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, politics
This book bases projections on so many layers of assumptions that all depend on each other being true that it's discussion of power and national relationships are probably as likely to come to pass as me lassoing the Easter Bunny and eating him/her for Easter dinner. Aside from the silliness of the arguments in this book, any new occurrence can completely destroy all of Friedman's projections. For example, how will the recent discovery of vast mineral resources in Afghanistan affect its future s ...more
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: publicpolicy
At a certain level, when it comes to the future, the only thing one can be sure of is that common sense will be wrong. - George Friedman

Author George Friedman states, "underneath the disorder of history, my task is to try to see the order-and to anticipate what events, trends, and technology that order will bring forth." He states his primary goal as transmitting a sense of the new century by identifying "the major tendencies - geopolitical, technological, demographic, cultur
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman

"The Next 100 Years" is an interesting look at what the twenty-first century will look and feel like based on geopolitics. It's a book that speculates the future by using history, trends and by applying the decline and fall of Europe as the centerpiece and its replacement the United States as its model. The author focuses on who would resist and how the United States would respond to their resistance as the driving forces behi
Dec 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
My short review is - do not buy this book. This is one of the worst books which I read recently. It is not worth any penny. Instead, I recommend to read "race against machine", writen by MIT' tutors. Until I saw a map of Europe divided on regions, I was expecting something at least with average quality. No one who puts Denmark, Italy and Germany in one "Central European" basket deserves for higher grade than 2/5. Spain and United Kingdom as one group of countries? Come on. This kind of books you ...more
Daniel Clausen
In a sense, I’m divided: Do I give this book four stars or five stars?

Ironically, the things I like most about this book make me want to rate it a four. I love the book because it’s highly engaging, easy to read, and at times refuses to take itself (and the art of forecasting) too seriously.

I also love the book because it’s irreverent. Friedman’s “geopolitics” – as a kind of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy where the actors are not in control of themselves and even smart characters cannot help su
Sep 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Heath Harper
Most of the futurist stuff I read is very technology centric. In this one, the forecasts for technology are actually quite modest, and instead most of the thought processes center around geopolitics, or as Orson Scott Card calls it "The Great Game." Yes, the future will have "Wars and rumours of wars... " always a safe forecast when the past is full the same. Probably not going to stop anytime soon... though I'm willing to be convinced if anybody has any theories. *shrug*

He does mention women's
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exciting book that almost reads like an alternate world science fiction novel. Friedman's main argument is that the United States will remain the most powerful nation in the world also in the 21st century. Current rivals like Russia and China will be swept away, and quite soon too, only to be replaced by new challengers such as Japan, Turkey and (later) Mexico.

So, how likely is this? Friedman admits that he will get details wrong, but believes that the overall direction of 21st century histor
Nov 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book started out great and then became completely tedious and absurd.
Friedman did a great job of laying out his vision for the next 30 years or so. He describes the economic, political, social and demographic forces that are shaping the world. That part was well worth reading and seemed fairly plausible.
The second half of the book reads like someone explaining "an awesome game of Risk" they played in excruciating detail. The circumstances leading up to this World War Three are also absurd,
Chris Dietzel
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Incredibly fascinating yet disturbing. Friedman relies on the very true saying that "history repeats itself," then sets about identifying the economic and social trends that could lead him to predict future events for the next 100 years. Such predictions include the causes behind WWIII, which countries will be involved, etc. This is the fascinating part of the book. Friedman admits many of his predictions could be wrong, yet has a sound basis for all of the things he writes about. The disturbing ...more
Friedman hypothesizes what the future will look like using geopolitical theories and trends based on populations, resources and historical precedents.

Why I started this book: Predictive books are fascinating, especially if you read them 5-15 years after they are published. Like this book of 2009.

Why I finished it: Friedman was very clear on his logic and his assumptions which made them more believable. However I couldn't refrain from an eye roll or two as he talked about how 2020s were going t
Aug 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Since I'm interested in forecasting, especially demographic forecasting, I was excited to see that there was a chapter on population and thus bought the book. As other reviewers have already pointed out the book is overall unfocused. The chapter entitled "The US - Jihadist war" focuses a lot on the US naval power, indeed Friedman is practically obsessed by it. Sure it was an interesting perspective for me as a non-American citizen to consider, but it really had quite little to do with the Jihadi ...more
Jonathan Sargent
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok

George Friedman's The Next 100 Years first few chapters show some promise, but was troubling from the get go. This is most likely because I'm just coming off reading Samuel Huntington's incredible Clash of Civilizations so bear with me.

Friedman, for all his intelligence and geopolitical "expertise" fails to use a SINGLE SOURCE IN THE ENTIRE BOOK. Someone will pick this book up in a 100 years and die laughing at the complete lack of a single citation. If you're going to us
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it
This book forms a useful balance to Martin Jacques book When China Rules the World. The best way to approach the future is via the Peter Schwartz (The Art of the Long View) strategy of developing 3-4 alternative scenarios about the future in order to 'learn from the future' about the present: both what it tells you about future trends and how to influence them. Jacques and Friedman provide two such scenarios, though I would like someone to add a scenario around environmental issues that neither ...more
Jul 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
This was an interesting book in which the author attempts to predict what will happen in the world over the next 100 years. I wish I could give it 3.5 stars instead of 3.0 or 4.0, as I really was somewhere in between those ratings on this one.

Some of the predictions left me bummed out, particularly the one that space will inevitably be militarized. The author argues that the control of space will be just as crucial to being on top of the hierarchy as controlling the seas is now. It does make so
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
If this guy gets one more thing right he will vault into the 5 star range. I'm sure he's at home now, holding his breath.

This is the single most well-thought out book about the future I've ever read. It came highly recommended and delivered across the board. It's also the most optimistic futuristic book, particularly from an American perspective. the basic premise that America is only prepping for a second rise is fascinating. He is also entirely in the minority (I blame cable news, personally).
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
To talk about this book I'll use a word Friedman uses as a disclaimer: far-fetched. I mean, I enjoyed it indeed and, even when English is not my mother language, reading it was fast and easy. Sadly we cannot say whether he's wrong or right, and most of his readers will be long dead when the events he's foreseeing will (or will not) occur. Nevertheless it was really interesting to get a sight of what the world could be like in 60 or 70 years. Some things sound perfectly logic and probable: the US ...more
John Eliade
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: futurology
This book is shockingly convincing. My instincts about Chinese history and my innate American apocalyptic feelings make me want to reject his ideas outright but again, the author is very persuasive with his logic and the fact that he wrote in 2009 and outlines very clearly the Ukrainian conflict that is currently happening. Like the robots that ate coming in 2030 to fix our labor crisis, Friedman's logic is undeniable. Again, I'm not fully convinced, but I'm going to keep this book close to watc ...more
Steve Scott
Apr 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: politics, fiction
This book started out pretty well, with an insightful history and geopolitical analysis of the United States and the countries with which it competes. I thought some of Friedman's short term predictions surprisingly accurate, given that he foresaw Vladimir Putin's aggression in Eastern Europe well before it occurred.

Then he loses it…and me.

Friedman takes his predictions into the year 2050, and starts writing pure fiction. He isn't speculating so much as being creative. He glues together scenario
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: of-substance
What an absolutely fascinating read. Well written and thought provoking it is a very engaging book. The way Friedman writes this book its almost as if he is simply talking to his reader. I really enjoyed this style of writing because it made it much easier to follow and understand. But as with all things that try to predict the future it must be read with a grain of salt. Having absolutely no background with regards to geopolitics this book was remarkably easy to understand. I defiantly learned ...more
Apr 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
Friedman makes some solid, if well-worn, points about the driving forces behind political and military power. Among other things, he makes a good case for why naval power and passable terrain are still so important in the digital age. I probably would have a favorable review of this book if it were just his predictions for 2009-2025, but after that is where he really loses it. Before you know it, he's raving like a madman about Battle Star satellites in geosynchronous orbit and secret Japanese l ...more
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Dr. Friedman is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of STRATFOR. Since 1996 Dr. Friedman has driven the strategic vision guiding STRATFOR to global prominence in private geopolitical intelligence and forecasting.

Dr. Friedman is the author of The New York Times bestseller “The Next Decade: Where We’ve Been…and Where We’re Going,” which forecasts the major events and challenges that will test Am
“Anger does not make history. Power does. And power may be supplemented by anger, but it derives from more fundamental realities; geography, demographics, technology, and culture.” 19 likes
“The computer focuses ruthlessly on things that can be represented in numbers. In so doing, it seduces people into thinking that other aspects of knowledge are either unreal or unimportant. The computer treats reason as an instrument for achieving things, not for contemplating things. It narrows dramatically what we know and intended by reason.” 9 likes
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