Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

Physical Copy:


By: Peter Diamandis

Rating: A


The book describes the future where nine billion people have access to clean water, food, energy, health care, education, and everything else that is necessary for a first world standard of living, thanks to real technological innovation.

The book’s four main points are:

  1. Technologies in computing, energy, medicine and many other areas are improving at an exponential rate and will soon enable breakthroughs that today seem impossible.
  2. These technologies have allowed independent innovators to achieve startling advances in many areas of technology with little money or manpower. YOU AND I CAN BE THESE PEOPLE!
  3. Technology has created a generation of “techno-philanthropists” (such as Bill Gates) who are using their billions to try to solve seemingly unsolvable problems such as hunger and disease.
  4. The lives of the world’s poorest people are being improved substantially because of technology.

Our world is developing a central nervous system. That system is made up of the Internet of Things. The internet of things will be made up of trillions of sensors on everything from your utility lines to your car keys to your dog. Once these are all integrated into a worldwide system, lost property will be a thing of the past. But more importantly we can optimize the use of water, energy, and food to name a few. The impact will change our world.


“Before the average American earns $75,000 a year, there is a direct correlation between money and happiness. Above that number, the correlation disappears. Worldwide that number is $10,000 per year. 80-90% of what we earn is spent on basic needs such as water, food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. The technologies discussed in this book will dematerialize those basic needs. Those needs can be met without costing much beyond an Internet connection.”


Read the rest for me favorite innovations that are in various stages of prototyping to scaling to the masses.

“The future is going to be better than you think. That might be hard to believe given the constant stream of dread that is the daily news — and the endless well of fear that seems to be the future — but a close look at the numbers indicates that things are better than we believe.”


  • The Slingshot: water purifiers that are maintenance free for 5 years, and can purify grey water into purified drinking water for 100 people in rural Africa. 
  • Lifesaver: nano water filter that provides clean water for families for 4 years.
  • Nano-based pipes: self sealing pipes. 
  • Nano-based hydrophobic sand: grow crops in the desert.
  • Smart Grid for Water: IoT sensors can reduce waste to a level that requires 30-50% less water in the US.
  • Precision Agriculture: use 30-40% less water and yield 25% more crops.
  • A toilet that burns feces > creating energy > that filters urine > into water, salt, and ammonia. 


  • Currently requires 10 calories of oil to produce 1 calorie of food.
  • Goal: boost productivity of crops using less resources to feed more people. 
  • Genetically engineered crops: changing crops into perennials.
  • Vertical farming
    • Hydroponics: growing food in aqueous growth medium, 70% less water.
    • Aeroponics: growing food w/ air-mist, 70% less water than hydroponics.
    • Vertical urban farms in abandoned buildings. Removes much of the transportation costs.
  • Protein
    • Aquaculture: fish farming
    • In-vitro meat: grown from stem cells. Create a hamburger that prevents heart disease.


  • 90% of the world has access to electricity. Over 1 Billion people have gained access to electricity over the last 9 years.
  • Solar, wind, and nuclear energy have come a long way in the last 10 years. Our picture of these renewables is often 30-40 years old. They still have a ways to go but they are improving at an exponential rate. Combine with IoT sensors and AI management of use and the amount of energy we need will decrease substantially.
  • The cost of 1 watt of Solar energy was $6 in 2010 and dropped to $1/watt in 2017.
  • The amount of energy generated by solar has grown 20x in the last 9 years.
  • The amount of energy generated by wind has grown 3x in the last 9 years.
  • Aquion Energy, builds a battery similar to today’s lithium-ion designs, but with a serious twist. Rather than relying on lithium, a rare and toxic element, its battery uses sodium and water, two cheap and ubiquitous ingredients with the added advantage of being neither lethal nor flammable. The result is a battery that releases energy evenly, doesn’t corrode, is based on Earth-abundant elements, and, literally, is safe enough to eat.


  • Our education system has not substantially changed since the industrial revolution. 
  • What is our goal in education? To prepare children for the workplace? They aren’t prepared!
  • Business leaders from all around the world unanimously believe the education system is not providing students with the skills required to endure in the era of instant change. Abilities such as critical thinking and problem-solving are overlooked. 
  • Failure and trying new things is necessary to achieve anything remarkable. 
  • Memorization, an essential part of today’s education model, is no longer needed in most jobs today. Critical thinking is more important. Higher level math is not used in today’s jobs, statistics is.
  • One Tablet Per Child is a program that is bringing access to education to every child on Earth by developing a $75 tablet. Focused on learning through doing.
  • 1 child in front of a computer learns little. 4 children in front of a computer discussing and debating learn much. Minimally invasive methods allow “tutors” and self learning to bring education to the far corners of the world.
  • We are competing for our kids’ attention. We have to learn to make education addictive.

Health Care:

  • The global life expectancy grew from 69.9 years to 72.6 years over the last 9 years.
  •  Robotics: a robot dentist in China successfully implanted 3D-printed teeth into a female patient’s mouth.
  • Virtual Reality: In 2017, University of Minnesota doctors used VR to prepare for a challenging non-routine surgery – separating a pair of twins conjoined at the heart.
  • CRISPR/Gene Editing: There are several clinical trials in the US using this technology to cure diseases such as blindness and other genetic disorders.
  • Mammogram Bra: imagine a bra that comes in a fedex box. You put it on and push a button. It scans you and then a Doctor calls you to go over your results. You put the bra back in the box and ship it back.
  • Zero Cost Diagnostics: in the future we will use devices like our phones or 3d printed strips to detect cancer or other diseases by blood, urine, or breath.
  • P4 stands for “predictive, personalized, preventative, and participatory,” and it’s where healthcare is heading.
  • Combine cheap, ultrafast, medical-grade genome sequencing with massive computing power, and we’re en route to the first two categories: predictive and personalized medicine.

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