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The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future
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The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  203 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
From entrepreneur Andrew Yang, the founder of Venture for America, an eye-opening look at how new technologies are erasing millions of jobs before our eyes-and a rallying cry for the urgent steps America must take, including Universal Basic Income, to stabilize our economy.

The shift toward automation is about to create a tsunami of unemployment. Not in the distant future-
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Hachette Books
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Mrs. Europaea
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Move over Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Mama has a new issue to plague her sleepless nights.

In The War on Normal People, Yang, outlines the upcoming employment crisis to hit the United States. With increasing measures by businesses and organizations to make all things automated for reasons of "productivity and efficiency", he lists the industries most in jeopardy due to technological advancements. Industries include but are not limited to: Office and Administrative Assistant, Sales and Retail,, F
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Donald Trump was elected President in 2016, I was living in Miami, FL.

At the time, I had lived through three cycles of boom and bust in the United States. The great recession, in particular, sparked my interest in economics and its impact on society. At the time, learning about subprime mortgages, securitization, foreclosures, and interest rates engrossed me in a profound but technical manner. As the Big Short summarized so succinctly, how could “5 trillion dollars in pension money, real e
Donna Hines
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
Americans are becoming more angered, more frustrated, even more depressed and despondent in this Dog Eat Dog world we currently reside in as they struggle for basics to simply survive.
Jobs are being replaced by automation, innovation, technology as the new norm.
What happened to benefits for all workers, affordable healthcare and childcare, availability of full time work with paid family leave, equal pay, living wages, seniority, and hiring based on skills and or education rather than income or
Diane Pagen
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read The War On Normal People. I recommend it to everyone, which makes it a different kind of book. Even though I love, say, detective novels, and biographies, I won't recommend them to every kind of person. The War On Normal People stands out to me as being able to improve the lives of every person.

Andrew Yang isn't screwing around, telling us that we need to ponder the problem of automation, so that in a few years we can maybe do something. Pondering is not helpful. Indeed, he points out tha
Andrew Frawley
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to be in the year 2018 and not hear about the endless studies alarming the general public about coming labor automation. But what Yang provides in this book is two key things: automation has already been ravaging the country which has led to the great political polarization of today, and second, an actual vision into what happens when people lose jobs, and it definitely is a lightning strike of “oh shit.”

I found this book relatively impressive and frightening. Yang, a former lawyer, en
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I wanted to read this book after hearing the author being interviewed on a podcast:
I actually listened to some of it in an audio-book format, read by the author, and then finished up by reading a physical book. (The author's audio performance was only so-so, but the content of the book was very thought-provoking.) More and more often, I read about the probability that automation will, in coming years, create worsening unemployment. What will happen to all
Fiona Aboud
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this amazing book to be incredibly powerful. The effect of reading Yang's book is literally like waking up and seeing the world in a new way. It's so easy to think of automation as someone else's issue, or a decades-away problem, but the book decidedly convinces the reader that we're already far, far in the middle of revolutionary changes that are manifesting themselves today for millions of people. The book is inspiring in the way it instills urgency. It moved me so strongly that I foun ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like many others, I discovered Andrew Yang by way of his excellent interview with Sam Harris last month. Yang, who is running for President in 2020, immediately struck me as honest, intelligent, well-informed, and profoundly reasonable––a heroic foil for the repugnant personalities that dominate today’s national politics. Yang’s central campaign issue is the institution of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all Americans, a daring and promising idea that has been on my radar for some years now. ...more
Daniel Arnstein
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Human Capitalism is an excellent economic system that should be institutionalized within America. Yes, radicalizing an entire economic system seems crazy at first; but once you wrap your head around how basic it could be to implement & how effective it could be for 350,000,000 people, it feels like the only way forward. Human Capitalism builds a system for what America should look like in the 22nd century and beyond. In a world where globalism and technology are changing at a rate faster tha ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I literally jumped out of my bed in excitement halfway through reading this book.

Andrew Yang completely nails what has caused many of the problems in the US. His simple description of the human effects from automation, and his major policy recommendations to fix them are both a strong reality check and extremely inspirational.

Whether you're Republican or Democrat, Andrew clearly proves that automation is real and having a negative effect on our society. Most importantly, instead of just identify
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, good-words
This review is long overdue and I find myself often referring back to bits and pieces I’ve read.

The War On Normal People is a frightening commentary of our American economy and how ever advancing technology has already and will continue to create an epic scale of unemployment. More and more jobs are being eliminated as a result of “automation” and how is this affecting our society? Humans being rendered useless or irrelevant because their skillset is easily replaced by robotics, artificial inte
C.J. Shane
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: culture
I’ll admit. When I first heard about the idea of Universal Basic Income (UBC), I cynically thought that the chance of that happening in this country was as likely as gun control being implemented. Zero chance. Then I read Andrew Yang’s book The War on Normal People. He makes a very compelling argument for Universal Basic Income and Medicare for everyone. I also really like his "social credits" program which is in operation in a number of U.S. cities. Several countries are conducting small-scale ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yang is running for America presidency 2020. He is the founder of Venture For America which distributed talents into developing cities in America, to staunch the brain drain of smart people into the coastal cities.

Yang described the future jobless scenario when most things would be done by AI and robots. Though new jobs would be created, it will be 20 smart coders replacing 10000 blue or while collar workers. Many people will be out of a job, community will disintegrate and we will be living in
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First and foremost, before I get into anything, I fully recommend this book. I'm giving it a perfect score...... But if I could I'd give it a higher score.

Get it from the library, Amazon, or borrow it from a friend. Read it asap, it's easily one of the best books of the year. I hope it catches fire before 2020 (more on that at the end of the review).

I have been on board the Basic Minimum Income train for a long time (ever since I read "Saving Capitalism), and did not need any further convincing
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was absolutely shocked by this book and can't stop talking about it. The author gives a background of the largest income sectors in the US, all of which have lost or will lose jobs to automation, including retail and trucking, and the impact this will have on income inequality, families, and the future economy - and he has a plan for how to ameliorate the situation.

I'll do pretty much anything to avoid going to a mall (I bought this book from The Major Online Retailer!) and there's no shortage
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Andrew Yang describes with precision many of the social and economic woes plaguing society at present, painting a bleak, dismal, and all too plausible picture of how the near future may have some very tough times in store due to automation, AI, and the eternal quest of businesses to increase efficiency, and the many ripple effects this could have. Yang argues a compelling and well-reasoned case that universal basic income can address many such problems, and help set our potential free. He addres ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great take on about how robots and artificial intelligence will drastically change jobs, including how many jobs are going to disappear for humans. It's something serious that we can't ignore and he argues that it's coming a lot sooner than we think. He urges that now is the time to get ready for this change and that there can be some things done to help the "normal" everyday person so that society continues on in a decent state instead of unraveling into a world resembling Mad Max where every ...more
Selim Tlili
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Yang is a gifted writer who explains his ideas with incredible clarity and a palpable sense of urgency. His well reasoned arguments in favor of Universal Basic Income have convinced the skeptic in me that it would provide a lot of net positive results to the country and the world as a whole.
Andrews fundamental argument, that technology will reduce our workload and cause the economy to shed a lot of jobs, makes sense with a caveat.
I tend to be skeptical of predictions that involve a time l
Otto Lehto
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Andrew Yang paints a bleak picture of the future. If it were painted by a child, it would take him to a psychiatrist's office. But the author is no child, and no psychiatrist could conceivably deliver us from the menace of technological and sociological change.

The book is a powerfully personal plea by a successful entrepreneur for a "human capitalism" to alleviate the social decay and psychological disruption caused by the creative destruction of capitalism. He argues for a Universal Basic Incom
Ling Chung
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very thought provoking book that touches on many social issues we face today. Worth a read just to expand the mind and to explore possible solutions to our world's social issues. I really like the idea of "humanistic capitalism", where humanity should trump profits even in a capitalistic economy.

Having graduated from a business school but also being knee deep in non-profits for the last 20 years, I'm often reconciling the left and the right. Some of the solutions outlined in the book appear ver
Ailith Twinning
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
There's a stark patronizing tone to this book that bugs me. It would have been a lot less evident if the author hadn't begun with "Your sort probably aren't reading this book." Well, thanks for that man. Yeah, yeah, statistics, I know - but there is such a thing as tact and it matters.

Apart from that tho, it really feels like a book about someone trying hard to understand what poverty even is, and missing it because a few core issues are in his blind spots. I don't want to talk about giving peo
Ben Neidl
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Mostly this is about job displacement in the mid and low skill labor force brought on by artificial intelligence. The author predicts major job losses over the next 10 years, with most of the casualties being men in transportation (truck driving) and similar blue collar positions who, the book posits, will either default into right wing extremism or just surrender fully to the increasingly seductive escapism of hyper-stimulating video games (which is already happening). If this guy is even half ...more
Katie Bloom
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Normal Americans can sense that the economic systems in the US are rigged against them, but they can't always see the gears at work. The War on Normal People is a thorough, cogent, data-driven explanation of the state of our nation and exactly how things have gone so wrong. In sum, the average American is suffering from a lack of meaningful opportunity, a lack of money, and a lack of hope—and things are about to get infinitely, catastrophically worse as automation wipes out millions of American ...more
Chris Carlson
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This booked forced me to consider so many things in vastly different ways!

On the surface, it is a well articulated counterpoint to free market capitalism in the light of growing automation. But it is also addresses the gift of privilege, the near inescapable weight of poverty and so much more. Read this book to challenge how you see the world. Don't be dissuaded by your views on universal basic income, it is only a small portion towards the end of the book and reading this won't make you a soci
La'Tonya Rease Miles
May 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
If this book were an emoji, it would be an eyeroll. If it were a rapper, it would be Kanye West. If it were a freshman composition paper, I would give it a B-/C+. The argument itself is pretty solid but presented in a Chicken Little way, i.e., the economy is failing and robots are taking over. But HOW we get there, including the examples and evidence, is suspect. To build his case, Yang relies upon what we Old Timers refer to as ethos or personal credibility. It's the equivalent of You Should Be ...more
Jean Kelley
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read for 2018! Even if you don't agree with his solution, Yang highlights some major problems that have plagued the US for decades. His book gives a great understanding of how America has gone from the wins of the Civil Rights movement into the xenophobic populism of Trump. The suffering inflicted on those lost towns, former booming industrial centers, which now even long-term residents decide to abandon. We have exchanged our value of humanity for the value of ever increasing returns. We ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a really insightful book, it is a really great take on what is happening politically and economically in America and by extension in many other places including Australia. What I like is the very positive approach that does not just look at problems but suggests productive and constructive ways that we a s a society might address those problems.

For all my friends who are sceptical about Universal Basic Income this book suggests how it might be done in a way that would reduce not increase
V.O. Diedlaff
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book gets off to a good start describing the crisis that AI and robotics will cause. Wang builds his case skillfully. However, I find the solutions in his final section are unsatisfying. Wang recommends a $12,000 yearly UBI. With such a low amount, people will try supplementing their incomes with other work gigs. The problem Wang fails to address is just what those other gigs will be. In my own book, “We Can Fix It,” I attempted to make the point that it’s not sufficient to provide UBI with ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I find myself optimistically cautious about our fast approaching automated future. It’s going to take a seismic shift in understanding and consciousness to adapt to what’s coming down the pike. It’s going to be a tsunami and our Governments are no where near prepared. Andrew Yang gives me hope again for a better future. His book is both alarming and encouraging. If our societies could actually evolve instead of acting like spoilt children we could really make progress. I love a good book that ma ...more
Monica Sheldon
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A somewhat misleading title, this is actually a straight-forward description of our current economic disparity and increasing automation of both blue and white collar jobs along with the author's thoughts on related social issues and his presidential platform: the case for Universal Basic Income, single-payer universal health care, barring politicians from benefiting personally after holding office, and restructuring healthcare administration and education. The first two thirds of the book are p ...more
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I am running for President as a Democrat in 2020 on a platform of Universal Basic Income and evolution to the next stage of capitalism, Human Capitalism.

Visit the campaign website here:


Author of 'The War on Normal People' about automation, jobs and Universal Basic Income

I am the founder of Venture for America, an organization that recruits and trains top college graduates to st
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