2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this tale of the future from actor Al Brooks. I've always been impressed with his imagination (particularly because of the afterlife world he created in the movie Defending Your Life), and after reading this book, I'm even more impressed.
There are multiple characters and story lines, but one of the main themes is that in 2030, cancer has been cured and people are living longer than ever. AARP is one of the strongest lobbies, and younger generations have come to resent the "olds" because of the strain they put on the system. I don't want to say much more than that--you just have to read it.
2030 was very thought-provoking. Any time I had a conversation with someone about the current state of affairs in the United States (such as the debt ceiling debate or healthcare), something from from the book would come to mind and I'd bring it to the conversation. I believe that a lot of Al Brooks' "predictions" will truly come to fruition. Some of those predictions I will welcome--such as a car that drives itself, and others I fear. (Again...you'll just have to read it. No spoilers here.)
For example, I was visiting my aunt and uncle who have been taking cruises annually for the past 15 years. They said that on their last cruise, they met a lady who essentially lives on cruise ships. Turns out this was cheaper than her moving to a retirement home. Well, in 2030 the retirement homes are cruise ships. They just move from port to port. See what I mean? My aunt and uncle met one lady already doing this--I'm sure there are others. A full retirement home ship can't be far behind.
In any case, I would recommend this book to everyone. It definitely makes for interesting discussions.
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Update (8/7/11): One of the headlines in Saturday's Washington Post was: "China bluntly tells U.S. to end its ‘addiction to debts’."
And, on page 170 in Al Brook's book, when the U.S. tries to borrow trillions of dollars from China, China officials tells the U.S.: "As you know, your debt to us is bordering on fifteen trillion dollars [remember, this is the year 2030], and yes, you pay back with fair interest, but you are a bottomless pit and we no longer feel comfortable feeding it." And later, on page 197: "We feel, as I'm sure you do, too, that your debt is already too high, certainly regarding money you have borrowed from us."
Hmmm....can we say prescient?