The Sovereign Individual ~ by James Dale Davidson and William Rees Morg
The Sovereign Individual is one of those books that will change the way you see the world forever. It was released in 1997, but the extent to which it anticipates the impact of blockchain technology will give you goosebumps. We are entering the fourth stage of human society, moving from the industrial to the information age. You must read this book to understand the scope and magnitude of how things will change.
As it becomes easier to live comfortably and earn an income anywhere, we already know that those who will truly thrive in the new information age will be workers who are not tied to a single job or career and are not tied to a single location. Choosing where to live based on price advantages is already more appealing, but this goes beyond digital nomadism and freelance gigs. the foundations of democracy, government and money are shifting.
The authors predicted Black Tuesday and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and here they foresee that the rising power of the individual will coincide with a decentralized technology eroding the power of governments. The death toll for the nation states, which they predicted with extraordinary foresight, will be private, digital money. When that happens, the dynamic of governments as stationary bandits robbing hard-working citizens with taxes will change. If you have become someone who can solve problems for people anywhere in the world, then you are about to join the new cognitive elite. Don’t miss this one.
Campaign Quote: “When technology goes mobile and transactions take place in cyberspace, which will increasingly be the case, governments will no longer be able to charge more for their services than they are worth to the people paying for them.”
Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind ~ by Yuval Noah Harari
Whenever I try to convince someone how good this book is, I ask, “Do you want to know the basic difference between humans and apes? A monkey can jump up and down on a rock waving a stick and yelling at his friends that he saw a threat coming his way. “Danger! Danger! Lion!” A monkey can also lie. He can jump up and down the rock and wave a stick and yell at a lion when in reality there is no lion. He’s just kidding. But what a monkey can’t do is jump up and down and wave a stick around and yell, ‘Danger! Danger! Dragon!'”
Why is this? Because dragons are not real. As Harari explains, it’s human imagination, our ability to believe in and talk about things we’ve never seen or touched, that has led the species to collaborate with strangers in large numbers. There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, no religions, and no justice beyond the common imagination of human beings. It is we who make them so.
All of this is a pretty great preamble to where we are today. After the cognitive revolution and the agricultural revolution, Harari takes you into the scientific revolution that only started 500 years ago and which may start something completely different for humanity. However, the money will remain. Read this book to understand that money is the greatest story ever told and trust is the raw material from which all types of money are minted.
Choice quote: “Sapiens, on the other hand, live in a three-layered reality. In addition to trees, rivers, fears and desires, the world of Sapiens also contains stories about money, gods, nations and corporations.”
The Internet of Money ~ by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
If the two books above help us understand the historical context in which Bitcoin first appeared, then this book expands on the “why” with infectious enthusiasm. Andreas Antonopolous is perhaps the most respected voice in the crypto space. He has been traveling the world as a bitcoin evangelist since 2010, and this book is a summary of talks he gave on the circuit between 2013 and 2016, all of which have been streamlined for publication.
His first book, Mastering Bitcoin, is a technical deep dive into technology, aimed specifically at developers, engineers, and software and systems architects. But this book uses some choice metaphors to explain why you can’t ban or shut down bitcoin, why the scaling debate doesn’t really matter, and why bitcoin needs the help of designers to achieve mass adoption.
“When you first drive your brand new car around a city,” he writes, “you are driving on roads used by horses, with infrastructure designed and used for horses. There are no light signals. There are no road rules. There are no paved roads roads. And what happened? The cars got stuck because they had no balance and no four feet.” But fast-forward 100 years and the cars that were once ridiculed are absolutely the norm. If you want to swim around in the philosophical, social, and historical implications of bitcoin, this is your place to start.
Campaign Quote: “Bitcoin is not just money for the internet. Yes, it’s perfect money for the internet. It’s instant, it’s secure, it’s free. Yes, it’s money for the internet, but it’s so much more. Bitcoin is the internet of money. The currency is only the first application. When you understand that, you can see beyond price, you can see beyond volatility, you can see beyond fad. At its core, Bitcoin is a revolutionary technology that will change the world forever. Join us.”
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