Book Review: Prosper! by Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart

By: John Rubino | Fri, Jan 8, 2016
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In their new book, Peak Prosperity's Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart don't sugarcoat the thesis, which is basically the end of the world as we know it.

It seems that three major trends are colliding:

As Martenson and Taggart put it:

Our culture, our economy, our jobs -- progress and society itself -- all exist due to surplus energy. Whether the world can produce 100 million barrels of oil per day or just 50 million is far less relevant than how much surplus energy there is to support the rest of our complex economy and the way of life we consider to be normal.

For those of us who have studied what life will look and feel like under these conditions, the answer is obvious. We will inherit a future defined by less of everything. The world will be a far less dynamic, less easy place to live with a much-simplified economy, reduced travel, and vastly fewer -- or at least very different -- opportunities compared to today.

This is very well said, but not exactly unfamiliar. Gloom and doom polemics have been around since Silent Spring and The Population Bomb terrified our parents. But where most books in this genre limit themselves to one or two aspects of what is clearly a multifaceted challenge, Martenson and Taggart paint with a broader, more useful brush, offering a comprehensive plan for redesigning one's life to match the coming times.

The world, they predict, is going to throw us some curve balls (that is, society's "narratives" are going to fail and be replaced), so no rigid set of skills, assets or attitudes are guaranteed to work. Much better to instead acquire resilience, the ability to roll with the punches and adapt to quickly-changing circumstances. Put another way, capital comes in many forms beyond financial. Emotional and societal capital -- in the form of a flexible, positive attitude and lots of useful personal connections -- will end up being even more important than gold coins buried in the back yard (though don't skimp on those).

The bulk of Prosper! offers advice on acquiring the various kinds of capital, broken up into units ranging from stress reduction to permaculture to stockpiling. (Actually all of this seems aimed at stress reduction in the sense that the more prepared you are for turmoil the less it -- and the anticipation of it -- will stress you out).

The final chapter presents the stories of people who have put Peak Prosperity themes into practice by moving from city to small town, developing crucial skills and/or building connections with neighbors who might help when things go sideways. Most of these tales work as both interesting narrative and useful lesson.

The wide-ranging nature of this book means that it can replace a stack of financial and self-help manuals. And the hopeful nature of the advice will leave readers energized rather than depressed. This is, in short, a great first step in building a well-rounded life that will be an island of stability in a very rough sea.

 


 

John Rubino

Author: John Rubino

John Rubino
DollarCollapse.com

John Rubino

John Rubino edits DollarCollapse.com and has authored or co-authored five books, including The Money Bubble: What To Do Before It Pops, Clean Money: Picking Winners in the Green Tech Boom, The Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit From It, and How to Profit from the Coming Real Estate Bust. After earning a Finance MBA from New York University, he spent the 1980s on Wall Street, as a currency trader, equity analyst and junk bond analyst. During the 1990s he was a featured columnist with TheStreet.com and a frequent contributor to Individual Investor, Online Investor, and Consumers Digest, among many other publications. He now writes for CFA Magazine.

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