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The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century
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Amazon Best of the Month, January 2009: "Be Practical, Expect the Impossible." So declares George Friedman, chief intelligence officer and founder of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), a private intelligence agency whose clients include foreign government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Gathering information from its global network of operatives and analysts (drawing the nickname "the Shadow CIA"), Stratfor produces thoughtful and genuinely engrossing analysis of international events daily, from possible outcomes of the latest Pakistan/India tensions to the hierarchy of Mexican drug cartels to challenges to Obama's nascent administration. In The Next 100 Years, Friedman undertakes the impossible (or improbable) challenge of forecasting world events through the 21st century. Starting with the premises that "conventional political analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination" and "common sense will be wrong," Friedman maps what he sees as the likeliest developments of the future, some intuitive, some surprising: more (but less catastrophic) wars; Russia's re-emergence as an aggressive hegemonic power; China's diminished influence in international affairs due to traditional social and economic imbalances; and the dawn of an American "Golden Age" in the second half of the century. Friedman is well aware that much of what he predicts will be wrong--unforeseeable events are, of course, unforeseen--but through his interpretation of geopolitics, one gets the sense that Friedman's guess is better than most. --Jon Foro

“Conventional analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination. It imagines passing clouds to be permanent and is blind to powerful, long-term shifts taking place in full view of the world.” —George Friedman

In his long-awaited and provocative new book, George Friedman turns his eye on the future—offering a lucid, highly readable forecast of the changes we can expect around the world during the twenty-first century. He explains where and why future wars will erupt (and how they will be fought), which nations will gain and lose economic and political power, and how new technologies and cultural trends will alter the way we live in the new century.
The Next 100 Years draws on a fascinating exploration of history and geopolitical patterns dating back hundreds of years. Friedman shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, at the dawn of a new era—with changes in store, including:

• The U.S.-Jihadist war will conclude—replaced by a second full-blown cold war with Russia.
• China will undergo a major extended internal crisis, and Mexico will emerge as an important world power.
• A new global war will unfold toward the middle of the century between the United States and an unexpected coalition from Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the Far East; but armies will be much smaller and wars will be less deadly.
• Technology will focus on space—both for major military uses and for a dramatic new energy resource that will have radical environmental implications.
• The United States will experience a Golden Age in the second half of the century.

Written with the keen insight and thoughtful analysis that has made George Friedman a renowned expert in geopolitics and forecasting, The Next 100 Years presents a fascinating picture of what lies ahead.

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Customer Reviews:

  • Assertion and speculation instead of argument and persuasion.
    The Next 100 Years attempts to forecast the geopolitics of the 21st century. It makes for interesting reading. It is well written though it quickly veers away from the plausible.

    The author has a background in geopolitics and runs a private intelligence company. The company is well known and apparently well regarded. The book focuses on the topics that would be relevant in that context. So we read a lot of geography and demographics with a smattering of history. Economics barely shows up in the text. Technology and innovation are given a shallow and uncritical treatment despite their key influence. In fact the technology described sounds like it was taken from a military contractors marketing materials.

    The text starts out in the present day, and seems to be grounded in reality. As the book progresses it gets farther and farther from reality, and less and less plausible. By the middle of the book the author is engaging in complete fantasy. This is entertaining in chapter 11 which is a scenario of a world war. In the rest of the book it is just not convincing.

    The author makes little effort to explain of justify is conclusions. No real arguments are presented, just the authors opinions, as revealed fact. In fact the book has no index and no foot notes or end notes; I find that incredible in a book of this nature. There must have been at least one other text the author referenced; are there no facts at all in this book? One is left to believe that all the information came from the authors mind. That is not appropriate for a non-fiction book. The Next 100 Years is primarily assertion and speculation, it should be argument and persuasion.

    While The Next 100 Years is an entertaining read in some places, it includes to much speculation and not enough fact. It is just disappointing in the end. ...more info
  • Do Not Waste Your Money!
    Was it George W Bush that said terrorism will be the defining challenge of this century?

    Terrorism most certainly is a major challenge, however to label it the defining issue of this century is impossible to predict. What about Peak Oil? Climate Change? Resource Scarcity? We simply do not know what the defining challenge of this century will be.

    Trying to forecast 100 years down line, such as this book does is an exercise in arrogance by the author, who no doubt will make alot of money off this book.

    I know of no ways to predict human affairs. And despite what Freidman writes in his book, nor does he.

    Didn't friedman write a book on The coming War with Japan, back when everyone thought Japan was the next rising power and challenger to American preimenence? Boy was Friedman wrong.

    If you want to read the book, then go ahead, but do take what he forecasts with a grain of salt. I do think Mr Friedman is arrogant enough to think that he is capable of forcasting 100 years down the line. What a Tool!

    FYI: Read the National Intelligence Councils landmark study "Global Trends 2025 report" released Fall 2008. This report looks out to the year 2025, and lays out the trends the will guide policy makers, its available for free on the Director of National Intelligences Website.
    ...more info
  • An exercise in strategic thinking
    Most likely George Friedman would be the first to acknowledge that his outline for the next century has less than wonderful odds of unrolling as indicated. His opening section, showing the difficulty of extrapolating from current trends - and the tendency for shifts over time - makes that point clearly.

    What grabbed me here was the runthrough of strategic thinking about where the unsuspected might arise, and the challenges to existing patterns of thought. The population boom has been such a given for so long that Friedman's take on why it may not last was terrifically useful (and convincing). China *won't* be the massive challenging power in the next few decades? Well, there was a compelling counter-intuitive argument for that too, drawing on historic patterns. Poland and Turkey as pivotal powers to be? Who knows?

    What the book did for me was to shake me out of in-the-rut patterns of thought, and open up to alternatives. They won't all materialize. But then, so might not many of the directions so many of us now take for granted....more info
  • Smart man, but dead wrong about Asia

    Everyone praises "America's Secret War" for Friedman's in-depth knowledge of both the U.S. military, and 25 years experience in studying Eurasia. However, it is a far leap to predict the next hundred years and expect to be taken seriously by applying strict geopolitical ideology to the world to the absence of any and all other significant factors and historical "twists of fate," as in a rogue nuclear weapon/s?

    Either it is of no interest to him, or he has far less area of expertise in Asia itself, but to write off China in one small, vague, chapter is an enormous disservice, completely without any supporting data that by 2020 China will "destabilize." In 2008-9 the entire world banking system "destabilized" to the surprise of many, and yet China's did not, has not; and possesses the largest liquid assets on the planet, of which they have invested heavily in U.S. Treasury bonds. His lack of any mention of the New World's banking was an obvious oversight.

    Additionally, his premise that, to summarize, Japan will again expand as it did prior to WWII and will again take over parts of Mainland China is laughable. China has the largest standing military in the world. No, they do not possess much of an navy, but it has more than enough aircraft to do the exact reverse, which is physically invade Japan to put an immediate stop to Japanese aggression. Boots on the ground are quite cheap, and China has lots and lots of boots. And the money to keep them there.

    Does Friedman believe Nanking has forgotten? China is an excellent observer of other cultures' mistakes. When the Chinese government converted and moves into a capitalist driven economy, they did not have the problems and horrors Russia had, because they were astute observers.

    China does not have a history of aggression toward other countries (if one excludes Tibet), but I live in China, and I have no fear now or in the future that Japan will ever be able to "convince" the Chinese of their need for Chinese materials and labor should be satisfied with a Japanese presence. Not in this century and not in the next.

    And, finally, it is as if Africa and India have no import in the next 100 years. He does not even bother to mention them.
    ...more info
  • The future is unknown... but...
    Things never turn out as we often and naively expect them to - a linear progression, but that doesn't mean Friedman is likely right OR wrong. As I see it the value in this book is to prepare the reader for the unexpected. But make no mistake, Friedman IS correct about the general implications of American geography - and the ease with which we utterly dominate the oceans because of our unique location on the globe. And he makes several persuasive arguments based on geopolitics which are impossible to argue with. Many of his predictions are probably wrong, but there is a general thrust to his geopolitical arguments which is undeniable.

    There is an impressive novel titled "1632" by Eric Flint which concerns itself with a nascent "America" being established in Germany in the beginning of the 17th century. I found myself thinking back to that novel while reading TN100Y. Fascinating....more info
  • A Guess Exercise - But Some Points Are Valid
    I have mixed feelings about this book. It contains very reasonable and solid arguments on population decrease, people behavior, the importance of technology deployment and how determinant demographics, geographic position and culture is for strategic matters. I also believe with the statements that the US military power is practically unchallengeable and that the most unimaginable actions in terms of technology - space based mostly - are already under development and will be put into use in a near future.

    However, it fails to support some assumptions and even falls in contradiction at some points:

    1) Why would anyone believe that Japan, Turkey and Mexico would someday be a threat to US military power?

    As for Japan, for the very same reasons the author argues, it lacks territory and capability to produce its own raw materials. Besides, after Pearl Harbor attacks and its respective retribution, I think that any Japanese leadership would have to have a very good reason to confront US again, under any circumstance. Japan might have a strong economy, a respectable technology expertise, internal social stability, but in terms of geography, it's not necessarily a place to be feared.

    Turkey and Mexico are emerging countries, capable to positively surprise their fiercest critics in some aspects and both benefit from interesting positions around the globe, but, what about their technology record? What about their own capabilities to resolve even their simplest social problems? I am not aware of any world recognized action from both. So, if internal conflict is the reason that both China and India would not thrive in the years to come, so I believe Turkey and Mexico would fit in the same category.

    2) Why Western Europe would become so forgotten and left-behind in the new world scenario? Again, if years of historical conflicts are reasons to stay out of new trouble, the above mentioned countries would surely think the same way. I don't think they should be disregarded that way.

    The attempt to anticipate the future based on trends and observation certainly deserves praise and I believe that something relevant might really happen ahead and that could change the world order - as the author says: "Expect the unexpected" - but picturing the years to come with details on who, when and how things could occur transforms what could be an interesting book in a mere guess exercise with a forward-looking statement included.

    However, the book is well written and is entertaining.

    ...more info
  • Hari Seldon He Is Not....
    No one can predict the future. If we could we no doubt all be very rich, and wield huge power. The best we can hope to do is look at what has come before and try to vector that into predicting what will come.

    Friedman makes an interesting case but places far to much emphasis on geography and places far to little effect on globalisation, national pride, and global institutions like the UN and world bank, also non nation actors don't even get a look in at shaping the future, (just look at what 15 guys did on September 11 to shape world events)

    Mexico and Poland wil become world powers?, Turkey and Japan will fight a war with the US?, Russia and China will collapse and simply roll over and die?. I'm sorry but I find most of his "predictions" highly unlikley at best. Also climate change is hardly mentioned, this will no doubt be a major factor in the next 100 years. Friedman simply looks at the Human elements involved and fails to look at the world and how she will dictate terms to us in the future.

    Russia has vast ammounts of energy at it's desposal, energy will be a vital factor in the next 100 years, Japan I feel will never become agressive after the trauma of WW2 and the idea of Mexico becoming a super player on the world stage with it's 3rd world living conditions and the country overrun by drug lords is truly odd. As for Poland?, well Poland is well know for...well nothing really. Also I find it just a little suspicious that according to Friedman (An American) the US will have a very rosy future while all of her potential foes are all going to fall over and collapse, sounds a little like propoganda to me.

    I guess anyone can make predictions, after all we will have to wait at least 20 years before we can start yelling "liar liar, pants on fire" but what the heck, it makes for a good yarn.

    Hari Seldon this fellow is not....more info
  • An exercise in strategic thinking
    Most likely George Friedman would be the first to acknowledge that his outline for the next century has less than wonderful odds of unrolling as indicated. His opening section, showing the difficulty of extrapolating from current trends - and the tendency for shifts over time - makes that point clearly.

    What grabbed me here was the runthrough of strategic thinking about where the unsuspected might arise, and the challenges to existing patterns of thought. The population boom has been such a given for so long that Friedman's take on why it may not last was terrifically useful (and convincing). China *won't* be the massive challenging power in the next few decades? Well, there was a compelling counter-intuitive argument for that too, drawing on historic patterns. Poland and Turkey as pivotal powers to be? Who knows?

    What the book did for me was to shake me out of in-the-rut patterns of thought, and open up to alternatives. They won't all materialize. But then, so might not many of the directions so many of us now take for granted....more info
  • The American Century
    First of all it is impossible to predict the future so you have to take this book with some healthy scheptiscism. The Stratfor Group looks for trends and creates some possible scenarios for the future based upon the past and the usual trend behavior nations have used when confronted with similar problems in the past and the geopolitical situation plus their own idea of the role the nation has to play in the context of the world. I really want to believe what the author is telling us about the future because it is a bright future.

    I loved the definitions on barbarism, civilization and decadence the author brings, and I agree with him that the U.S. is still in its adolescence and still strugling to get out of barbarism and achieve civilization. Barbarism as stated in this book is the imposition of your ideas and points of view regarding all others as equivocated thus leading to intollerance and the U.S. is still intollerant against societies and points of view that differ from its own citing the relations with Islamic civilization and even socialist societies. The good aspect is that during the XXIst century as the U.S. finds its greatest power and grandeur it will evolve its perception and become a trully civilized nation and a beacon for humanity.

    For the first time I have read a plausible explanation of the behavior of the U.S. when dealing with the rest of the world and the game is trade domination and security by undermining possible rivals. The U.S. is uniquely located to dominated trade and the ownership of sea lanes provides safety for trade domination, the only rival the U.S. could have is a dominant power in Eurasia and that is why it will undermine the possible rivals such as China, Russia and later Turkey and japan.

    In accordance to the theory stated in this book the war with the Jihadists is by all matters won already as the real aim was not securing peace and democracy in the Middle East but preventing the creation of a united Califate that could rival the U.S., so if the Middle Esat is destabilized which it is today then the strategic aims have been reached and whatever happens next is not important as long as the Islamic extremists don't have the power to control the Islamic world. I would interpret following this rationalle that bringing the troops now and leaving Afghanistan and Irak rife with fratricidal war is convenient for the U.S. geopolitic position.

    In the future the U.S. will operate the same way undermining rivals and leaving them in a destabilized position posing then no more threat to the national interest of the U.S. and not necessarily finishing the job by utterly destroying the enemies and rebuilding countries in the U.S. pattern. It is possibly an amoral view of the geopolics game but I think is very practical.

    The choice of rivals, allies and new powers make sense as old Europe decays mostly because of population trends, too few births lead to the ageing of societies that in turn lead to a scramble to find new blood in the form of inmigration, which is the game that U.S. excells. It also means that as Western Europe fades the nations of Eastern Europe in particular Poland gain ascendancy and after Russia collapses they gain real power. Then a war scenario between the U.S. and a Turkish and japanese coalition takes us to a scene of future war where combat is high tech, precise and limited and in which the ownership of space brings victory. New energy technologies are created in this war bringing up the age of robotics, unlimited solar power and the decline of the dependency on fossil fuels. And it leves us with the scenario of having Mexico as a rival for the dominance of North America as the nation becomes an economic powerhouese and the shift of population in the Southern states creates a condition in which Mexico could reclaim its losses of the Mexican war of the 1840s.

    It maybe rissible today to think of Mexico as a possible rival to the U.S. but it could happen and since I am a latin America it will stimulate my ego if this scenario happens. We in the Southern Cone tend to believe that Brazil rather than Mexico will be the next powerhouse of the region but if the book predictions come true the old Brazilian adage: "Brazil is the land of the future and it will always be" will come true.

    I will cathegorize this book in the science fiction/futurology department and as such is brilliant. I would not take it too seriously as to base future business and investment planning on its tennets. Stratfor does what the technical traders do with markets, looks for trends and tries to predict futures but again nobody can predict the future. The book also leaves some aspects out and it decribes why (because it does not foresee a future relevance) such the environmental and global warming, the feasibility of a pandemic disease that could wipe out a good number of inhabitants of this planet and even how people are going to live their lives, relevant occupations, jobs, the post car and suburban society for example.

    Anyway as I said before take this with scheptisism and as a work of fiction this book is trully brilliant....more info
  • Friedman seems like a fortune teller
    This book is an excellent analysis piece. The overall theme is what will happen in the world over the next 100 years. However from reading the book you will learn about the world today. Friedman takes historical, economic, political, demographic and military trends to tell the story of the future. Through this discussion of the trends you learn about the world today. I also think the reader will learn about how strategy works in the real world of nation states.

    The story line is for the next 100 years. I think as you read about the stuff in the far off future you will see things that are happening today, not in 100 years. For example in the book he talks about the emerging power of Turkey and Japan. Just a few weeks ago Japan threatened to shoot down the North Korean missile. The recent news since last Christmas seems to be full of page 16 stories of how Turkey is helping here, there and doing other things on the national scene. He does make reference to the recent economic crisis. That leads me to think this may be the story for the next ten years.

    It is written very well. Once you start reading you will have trouble putting it down. It is a very American centric book. He predicts we win. We all can only hope his fortune telling ability is as good as the PR machines says they are. ...more info
  • The next 100 years: A forecast for the 21st Century
    A superbly presented discourse, on geo Politics and a projection of the centers of world power for the future.Bit of a pity I will be dead and gone when it all unfolds. Such is life. ...more info
  • The Next 100 years
    really thought provoking, especially up to the year 2030 or so.
    after that, well I dont care... but the basis for his positions are very good and look at historical comparisons objectively and out of the mainstream bs the national media try to force on us.

    well done, and a quick read...more info
  • Quite interesting
    This was a fascinating view of the how the world will be over the next century. It concentrates mainly on military and political forecasts, and not anything about pop culture, but still quite interesting none the less....more info
  • Should Be Required Reading
    This is a very worthwhile read. I say this not because of its specific predictions, but because of the author's thought processes. I consider myself relatively well read and well informed, but reading this book put a whole new light on both history and current events for me. Many of its concepts are intuitively obvious, but they had never crystallized in my mind.

    Dr. Friedman makes excellent arguments for why the United States will remain THE world power throughout the 21st century and why China and Russia will not be. He also predicts some surprise future powers including Turkey, Poland and Mexico. And he argues his case(s) clearly, albeit somewhat repetitively at times.

    While I will not mark all of the author's projected events and dates on my grandchildrens' calendars, I will say that this is an eye opening book that should be required reading for anyone interested in where our world is and where it might be going.

    ...more info
  • Refreshingly on target
    This book is a rarity among many others that discuss the current world and the anticipated state of world affairs just ahead. Nearly all the others merely replicate and parrot one another's conventional wisdom. Author Friedman does neither. Instead he gives us a clear, concise foundational understanding of how the world will change, what the threats and opportunities will be, and where they will come from based on solid facts and common sense. Mosdt of his conclusions are arresting and fresh. Some are somewhat startling at first until you piece through them and realize how superior in insight they are to all the blabbing of the so-clled wise minds who are often the darlings of the media. I strongly recommend this book to anyone attempting to make sense of this dangerous and ever more complicated world....more info
  • Interesting
    It is an interesting speculation on our future but in a hundred years many things written today will not matter much. Similar to those who wrote of the Y2K possibilities in the late 90's but at least many of us lived to see the outcome. I do recommend it as it explains geopolitical history as much as it speculates on on many future outcomes....more info
  • The next 100 years
    Well written and very insightful. The forces that will shape the world in the future well analyzed, eventhough the consequence of world wars I feel can be avoided.
    Excellent and a must read for anyone who wants to understand the geopolitical forces that shape empires....more info