The Coming Jobs War book by James Clifton
One of the things that I love about social media in general, but about Twitter in particular, is the many great people that I get to meet and the new thoughts and ideas they bring into my life.

A year ago, I interacted with a guy who helps companies build effective software development teams by the name of Michael Sudyk, who Tweets under the handle @sudyk. I'm not sure who first suggested that we get together, but after two months of Twitter interactions, we had the opportunity to meet.

What I found at our meeting was that we had a lot in common. All in all, it was a great conversation. I didn't know where this might lead-- at first, it appeared simply to be a great relationship built through the resource of social media.

Unexpectedly two days later, a FedEx package arrived and I opened it to find that Michael had sent me a book, The Coming Jobs War, by Jim Clifton, the Chairman of Gallup (the well-known and respected polling organization). 

I proceeded to put this book on my "list of books to get through,” and about 9 months later, I finally got around to reading it. The first three chapters gave a rather bleak picture of the future. Using a significant amount of data and seeing where the trends were leading, the author showed how large chunks of the world's population wouldn't have the ability to have self sustaining work to do and he gave a picture of the disastrous consequences and unrest this would produce. All in all, it was a rather sobering and fearful look at the future.

I have to confess that I almost put the book down thinking, "Well, that was nice of you to send me the book, Michael, but this just isn't my style of reading material. I felt that the author was just trying to motivate through fear and that just doesn't match up to the way I see the world.”  But I was glad I stayed with it to Chapter 4.

In Chapter Four, he explains that the trends mentioned in the previous three chapters will appear, "unless..." 

Oh, that key word "unless."

Now you're talking! As I have both experienced and have studied history, it really is the "unless-es" that define all of history-- the unforeseen and unanticipated events or occurrences (the events that, in retrospect, seem so obvious). Nassim Nicholas Taleb talked about this a lot in his book, Black Swans, where he coined the phrase "Black Swan," which refers to a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was.

Jim Clifton talks about these unexpected events that have happened in the past, and, at the time it was published, the most recent and significant one was the rise of computers and the Internet.

40 years ago, people were predicting flying cars, but no one ever predicted the personal computer and a worldwide connected network of communications and yet this happened and created so many new ways to make a living that were never even dreamed about before.

One thing is for certain: we don’t know what these innovations will continue to look like, but we can guarantee they will come. 

Personally I look forward to the future, I believe that the ingenuity of man will overcome the stupidity of man and over it all I know that God is in control and that he has a future planned and (spoiler alert) it's a good one.

In another chapter, Jim talks about cities being essential to the economic development, not countries or regions, but cities and communities of people in close proximity to each other creating that vortex of entrepreneurship and innovation. He talks about if you want to make a significant impact in the world, think local, and get involved in your local community.

This is a book that is worthwhile reading for anyone who is interested in the future (after all, you are going to live there), Entrepreneurship, and economic development.

Thanks again, Michael, for passing the book on to me.

You can find out more about what drives Michael by looking at his site

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