Six Principles for Surviving the 21st Century

Unfortunately, there is no guide to surviving the 21st Century. However, my favorite philosopher Yuval Noah Harari gives us a glimpse of what the future will hold in his recent book.

Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century gives us an interesting glimpse of “things to come.” I think taking the time to understand Harari’s Lessons will help you understand what’s coming and prepare for it.

Six Principles for 21st Century Survival 

Interestingly, I discerned six principles for 21st Century survival in Lessons that could help you. Those principles are:

1. Your education is probably worthless. Technology and business are changing so quickly schools cannot keep up. In particular, skills; like welding, coding, writing, editing, trading, investment banking, accounting, and even surgery, could lose all their value at some point.

2. “Those who own the data own the future.” This is a direct quote from Harari. Hence, controlling; or owning, data will help you make money. Thus, understanding data and learning how to control it is critical for 21st Century survival.

3. Stop worrying about war and terrorism. Essentially, violence no longer pays in the 21st Century. Hence, governments and other organizations are slowly getting out of the violence business. Instead, fear technology, climate change, Big Data, Big Tech, bioengineering, and job loss.

4. Your job will disappear. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates we can automate one third of the work in 60% of today’s jobs. Things will get worse as tech; like AI, blockchain, machine learning, deep learning, and robotic process automation becomes widespread.

5. Never stop learning. Keep studying, upgrading your skills, and acquiring more knowledge. In particular, read everything you can about data, new technology, and advances in your field. Only those who understand what is happening will survive and make money.

6. The science fiction writers are wrong. All the great science fiction writers of the past; Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Holmes, Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, etc., got the future wrong. They got a few things right but the big picture wrong. Instead, read or watch sci-fi for fun but remember; it is literature and entertainment not the future.

The bottom line is there is no accurate road map to the 21st Century. However, Harari’s fascinating book will give you a lot of food for thought.