Of Two Minds Essentialssm
A note of thanks to those who buy a book: As an independent writer, book sales are a substantial part of my income. I receive no funding from a trust fund, university, foundation, think-tank, shadowy C.I.A. front or government agency. Thank you for throwing prudence to the winds and buying a book.
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The Of Two Minds Essentialssm: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print) and Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print)
My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, ($18 print)
Just as no one was left unaffected by the rise of globalization, no one will be unaffected by its demise. The only response that reduces our vulnerability is self-reliance.
When Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his famous essay Self-Reliance in 1841, the economy was localized and households supplied many of their own essentials. In our hyper-globalized economy, we’re dependent on distant sources for our essentials.
Emerson defined self-reliance as being our best selves—thinking for ourselves rather than following the conventional path. Self-reliance in the 21st century means reducing our dependency on fragile supply chains and becoming producers as well as consumers.
Self-reliance is often confused with self-sufficiency--the equivalent of Thoreau’s a cabin on Walden Pond. But self-reliance in the 21st century isn’t about piling up money or a cabin in the woods; it’s about humanity’s most successful innovation: cooperating with trustworthy others in productive networks.
Later chapters address the mindset of self-reliance and 18 nuts and bolts principles of self-reliance in the 21st century.
When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal print $20,
audiobook (90 pages, 2022)
When I burned out, what I wanted but could not find was a practical guide by someone who had experienced burnout themselves. None of the material I found spoke to what I was experiencing or to my sense that our economy is now optimized to burn people out.
I decided to write the guide I wanted but could not find. This is my experience of burnout, reckoning and renewal.
I am not an expert in burnout, I am only an expert in my own burnout.
This book is my account of what helped me. The intended audience is other burnouts and those who want to better understand the experience of burnout.
Burnout is a life-changing experience in a good way, as absurd as that may sound to those in the depths of burnout. To paraphrase Samuel Beckett: I can’t go on but I must go on. There is a way forward.
When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal (Kindle $9.95, print $20 (90 pages, 2022)
Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States
(Kindle $9.95, print $24 (234 pages, 2021) (audiobook)
This book is the roadmap to Degrowth that we need to survive as a nation.
National Security is not just military force. In an age of scarcity, security is a degrowth economy of energy independence, social cohesion and civic virtue.
All nations, including the United States, face systemic crises that are reinforcing each other at an explosive point in history. The threats to the republic are unprecedented, but the status quo is incapable of understanding that conventional responses are an accelerant of fatal synergies: the status quo is now the problem rather than the solution.
These novel crises demand an entirely new Grand Strategy. The emergence of solutions is not pre-ordained; the collapse of the state is also a possibility, though far from an ideal one.
The global crisis offers an opportunity to redraw America’s Grand Strategy from the ground up. Should we fail to make full use of this opportunity, the United States will fail, along with all the other nation-states that are incapable of redefining the problems so that new solutions become possible.
This revolutionary Grand Strategy will be the deciding factor between nation-states that fail and the few (if any) that will not just survive but actually thrive.
Podcast discussing the book: A Grand Strategy to Address the Global Crisis (54 min., with Richard Bonugli)
Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $9.95, print $24, audiobook (234 pages, 2021)
A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20,
(150 pages, 2020)
The world has entered an era of profound uncertainty. The Old Normal is gone for good, and the deck is shifting ominously beneath our feet. Now is the moment to ask: what would a fairer, more sustainable system look like? How would it be better for me, humanity and the planet?
Even before the global upheavals, our system was failing. Now that it's unraveling, it's time for a new arrangement that's actually sustainable on our resource-depleted planet that doesn't favor wealthy insiders. But those gorging on inequality will never accept reforms that strip away their unearned privileges, and so the only practical way forward is a Hacker's Teleology.
What's a Hacker's Teleology? A hack is a workaround in a kludgy, broken system-- a new way of connecting the dots. Teleology means the destination we end up reaching because that's where the dots lead.
In this book I connect the dots of my own life experiences to show how a sustainably fair way of organizing human activity would work. In telling my story, I'm also telling our story, because we all share our limited-resources world and the same aspirations for fairness, belonging, getting ahead and a say in our future.
So let's get started on an arrangement that actually works for all of us--and our world.
A Hacker’s Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46)
Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power and A.I. in a Traumatized World (print $12.95)
(100 pages, 2019)
Will you be richer or poorer? What does the future hold for you--and for the world?
Supposedly we're all getting richer, but many of us feel we’re becoming poorer. Why?
One reason is our economy doesn’t even measure many kinds of wealth and ignores many costs. Clearly, clean air and water, good health and civil liberties are valuable, but you won’t find these on any balance sheet. Our system’s incentives are to maximize short-term financial profits, and everything else is treated as if it doesn’t exist.
This book tackles three critical questions:
What if everything we don’t measure is worth more than financial wealth? Our obsession with financial capital is blinding us to a traumatizing global decline in other forms of wealth.
Will artificial intelligence (A.I.) make us all richer? What if A.I. will only enrich the few who own the platforms and technology?
Is our economic model dooming us? We’re told we all benefit as the super-rich get even richer, but what if the status quo only benefits those in power at the expense of everyone else--and our planet?
Though we may not be politically powerful, we are far from powerless. This book will help you identify the things that truly matter, and accumulate capital that benefits you and your family-- and our planet.
Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic
(Kindle ebook $6.95,
print $12.95) (118 pages, 2018)
America teeters on the precipice: our government is now captive to special interests and big money, twin cancers that threaten our democracy. This accelerating crisis is exacerbated by a toxic social media-fueled tribalism that has replaced “what do you think?” with “which side are you on?”
Our crisis isn’t just political—it’s structural: as the pace of change explodes from gradual to non-linear, the organizations that dominate our economy—centralized corporations and government—become destined to fail. We see this failure in both the soaring inequality that has hollowed out the American Dream as well as in the rising tide of social and political disunity.
To prevent the fall of our democratic republic, we must transform our economy and society from the ground up. As we enter a new era of rapid, unprecedented tumult, it is we citizens who will need to save our democracy. For our political and financial elites will cling to their centralized power, doing more of what’s failed, even as civil society unravels.
All is not lost--yet. Our way forward starts with understanding the fatal flaws of our brittle, self-serving status quo and embracing this basic truth: better options are available if we’re willing to explore.
To pathfind our way to a better destiny, we must create new localized structures optimized for resilience and adaptability—a flexible, decentralized, sustainable, democratic, opportunity-for-all nation.
Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic (ebook $6.95, print $12.95)
Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic Kindle ebook $6.95 print $12.95
Money and Work Unchained (Kindle ebook $6.95, print $15)(181 pages, 2017)
This book started when I asked myself: when we dream of the future of our society, are we hoping for the right things?
The current conventional-wisdom view of our soon-to-be future is rose-tinted: automation will free millions of people from the drudgery of work, then by taxing the robots doing all the work, we can pay everyone Universal Basic Income (UBI), enabling a life of leisure and artistic pursuit for all. The result: A future of Universal Happiness.
But is this accurate? Is this what UBI is actually capable of doing? More importantly, is this what we want?
And even more importantly: will this “future” be our best future? Will it account for and manage the practicalities of work, money and automation, given the limits of endless growth on a finite planet?
Money and Work Unchained drags the now-popular concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) from the shadows of Pundit blather into a harsh, illuminating light, and in doing so presents an entirely new view of the future that upends our conventional, foundational, understanding of work and money.
This book lays out a practical pathway that realigns work, money and human fulfillment into a sustainable system that sheds the inequalities and injustices of the status quo in favor of a human-scale way of living.
And – it gives us a future to truly hope for.
Money and Work Unchained (Kindle ebook $6.95, print $15)
A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All:
The Future Belongs to Work That Is Meaningful
216 pages, ebook $6.95, print $15 (2015)
Automation is upending the global order by eliminating human labor on an unprecedented scale--and the status quo has no solution to this wholesale loss of jobs.
What if we could hit the reset button on the way we create money, work, commerce and community? What if we could design a social economy rather than a merely financial one?
These are not idle questions, for technology now enables us to hit that reset button and organize the creation of money, work, commerce and community in new ways.
If we could start from scratch, what would a new system look like? Clearly, we need a system that offers what the current system cannot: meaningful work for all.
This book is the practical blueprint of a new system that offers opportunities for meaningful work and ownership of the sources of prosperity not just to a few, but to everyone.
A radically beneficial world beckons—what are we waiting for? Read the Introduction and Chapter One (free)
German language edition of Part 1: Eine Radikal Segensreiche Welt Part 1 (Scribd)
A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All is now available as an Audible audio book.
155 pages, ebook $6.95, print $15 (2014)
Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.
And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.
You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.
Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.
So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.
It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.
I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.
AUDIOBOOK NOW AVAILABLE: ($19.95, Audible.com)
Interviews about the book:
Entrepreneur Skills A Must for Any Job (34:43) with host Jason Burack of Wall St for Main St.
Get a Job, Build a Real Career
and Defy a Bewildering Economy (print, $15)
(audiobook, $19.95) (Audible.com)
180 pages, ebook $6.95, print $15 (2013)
With the soaring cost of higher education, has the value a college degree been turned upside down? College tuition and fees are up 1000% since 1980. Half of all recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed, revealing a deep disconnect between higher education and the job market.
It is no surprise everyone is asking: Where is the return on investment? Is the assumption that higher education returns greater prosperity no longer true? And if this is the case, how does this impact you, your children and grandchildren?
We must thoroughly understand the twin revolutions now fundamentally changing our world: The true cost of higher education and an economy that seems to re-shape itself minute to minute.
The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy clearly describes the underlying dynamics at work - and, more importantly, lays out a new low-cost model for higher education: how using digital technology will enable a revolution in higher education that dramatically lowers costs while expanding the opportunities for students of all ages.
The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy provides clarity and optimism in a period of the greatest change our educational systems and society have seen, and offers everyone the tools needed to prosper in the Emerging Economy.
The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy
The Revolution in Higher Education (print $15)
Kindle edition $6.95
213 pages, ebook $6.95, print $15 (2012)
Things are falling apart—that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global.
Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify or understand. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:
Increasingly complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).
We are not powerless. Not accepting responsibility and being powerless are two sides of the same coin: once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.
Why Things Are Falling Apart
and What We Can Do About It (print $15)
(Kindle edition $6.95)
225 pages, ebook $6.95, print $15 (2012)
We are like passengers on the Titanic ten minutes after its fatal encounter with the iceberg: though our financial system seems unsinkable, its reliance on debt and financialization has already doomed it.
We cannot know when the Central State and financial system will destabilize, we only know they will destabilize. We cannot know which of the State’s fast-rising debts and obligations will be renounced; we only know they will be renounced in one fashion or another.
The process of the unsustainable collapsing and a new, more sustainable model emerging is called revolution.
Rather than being powerless, we hold the fundamental building blocks of power. We need neither permission nor political change to liberate ourselves. A powerless individual becomes powerful when he renounces the lies and complicity that enable the doomed Status Quo’s dominance.
Resistance, Revolution, Liberation:
A Model for Positive Change (print $15)
(Kindle edition $6.95)
234 pages, ebook $6.95, print $15 (2011)
The next 20 years will not be a simple extension of the previous 20 years. Everything that is currently seen as permanent--the Savior State, the financialized economy, cheap energy-- is visibly unsustainable. Status Quo personal finance strategies--"buy and hold" and global diversification--are doomed by their reliance on increasingly unstable global markets and a myopic focus on the rearview mirror--the recent past is no longer an accurate guide to the future.
This comprehensive guide offers practical ideas for everyone, from those seeking to protect 401Ks or IRAs to entrepreneurs to those with more time than money to invest in their future. This book offers a broad spectrum of strategies for investing your human, social and financial capital in low-risk, decentralized, diversified assets that increase resiliency and self-reliance.
Topics include systemic risk, the spectrum of potential investments, gold, hedging, relative value, hybrid work, income streams, ecosystems of local enterprise and the essential tools of lower-risk investing. The solution in one word: Localism. Read the Introduction and Chapter One.
396 pages, $20 print, $9.95 Kindle edition (2009)
This indispensable guide to the next 20 years of global turmoil and transformation weaves the full spectrum of disciplines--history, political economy, ecology, energy, marketing, investing, health, and the psychology of happiness-- into a uniquely comprehensive understanding that offers every thinking person practical principles for not just surviving but prospering in the decades ahead.
If we are entering a multi-decade Great Transformation, then as prudent as it is to stockpile a few months of food and supplies, that will obviously not get us through the Transformation, either as individuals or as communities. We need a thoroughly integrated understanding before we can fashion a response that will make the Transformation a positive one. Our goal is a sustainable, productive economy and a full appreciation of the fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The first task is replacing the crumbling intellectual framework of the status quo system with one grounded in reality.
There are five distinct issues to sort out:
134 pages, $8.95 print, $3.95 Kindle edition (2010)
Reader feedback persuaded me that a 400-page book is a daunting prospect for
many, and so I decided to create Survival+ The Primer that is
only a third the length (48,000 words, 134 pages) of the full version.
While it is impossible to distill all the ideas into a short primer,
we can at least address these key understandings:
This can be expressed very simply: we are what we do every day.
In a very real way, we "vote" for our health by what we choose to put in our mouths three times a day, just as we "vote" on which kinds of food and companies we support when we buy the food.
Every purchase we make is a "vote" for or against a high-cost, debt-serf lifestyle that serves the interests of Power Elites and cartels.
Every hour we spend "consuming entertainment" is a "vote" in favor of passivity, powerlessness and propaganda. Every time we turn off the mass media we are "voting" for our own productivity and well-being. Survival+ home page
73 pages, $8.95 print, $3.95 Kindle edition (2008)
For better or for worse--and we all have some choice as to which of the two we will experience--the world is entering an extended era of disruption caused by the intersection of four mutually reinforcing cycles:
1. Peak oil, or the depletion cycle/end-game of the global economy's complete dependence on inexpensive, readily available petroleum/fossil fuels.
2. The cycle of credit expansion and contraction (approximately 60-70 years), which is now beginning the transition from unsustainable credit expansion (bubble) to renunciation of debt (credit collapse) and global depression.
3. The generational cycle (4 generations or approximately 80 years) of American history which leads to nation-changing social, political and economic upheaval. (The American Revolution: 1781 +80 years = Civil War, 1861 +80 years = 1941, World War II + 80 years = 2021)
4. The 100+ year cycle of price inflation and stagnation of wages' purchasing-power which began around 1901 is now reaching the final stage of widespread turmoil, shortages, famine, war, conflict and crisis. Read Chapter One.
Copyright 2021 Charles Hugh Smith all rights reserved in all media. No reproduction in any media in any format (text, audio, video/film, web) without written permission of the author.
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