The Sovereign Individual ~ by James Dale Davidson and William Rees Morg
The Sovereign Individual is one of those books that changes how you see the world forever. It was published in 1997, but the degree to which it predicts the impact of blockchain technology will give you chills. We are entering the fourth phase of human society, moving from the industrial to the information age. You must read this book to understand how things will change.
As it becomes easier to live comfortably and earn an income from anywhere, we already know that those who will really thrive in the new information age will be location-independent workers who are not tied to a single job or career. The drive to choose where to live based on price savings is already more attractive, but this goes beyond digital nomadism and freelance gigs; the foundations of democracy, government and money are changing.
The authors predicted Black Tuesday and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and here they predict a rise in the power of individuals as decentralized technology cuts into the power of governments. The death toll of nation-states, they predicted with extraordinary conviction, will be private and digital money. When that happens, the dynamic of governments will change as passive bandits stealing taxes from hardworking citizens. If you’ve become someone who can solve problems for people anywhere in the world, you’re about to join the new cognitive elite. Don’t miss this one.
Choice quote: “When technology is mobile and transactions take place in cyberspace, as they increasingly will, governments will not be able to charge more for their services than the people who pay for them deserve.”
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind ~ by Yuval Noah Harari
Whenever I want to impress upon someone how good this book is, I ask them, “Do you want to know the basic difference between humans and monkeys? A monkey can jump up and down on a rock and wave a stick and scream at its friends that a threat is coming. “Danger! Danger! A lion!” Even a monkey can lie. He can jump up and down on words and wave a stick and scream about a lion when, in fact, there is no lion. He’s just being silly. But that’s what a monkey can’t do. jump up and down and wave a stick and shout, ‘Danger! Danger! Dragon!'”
Why is this? Because dragons aren’t real. As Harari explains, it is the human imagination, our ability to believe and talk about things we have never seen or touched, that has driven the species to cooperate with aliens in large numbers. There is no god, no nation, no money, no human rights, no law, no religion and no justice in the universe beyond the common imagination of men. We are the ones who make them that way.
All of this is a great introduction to where we are today. After the Cognitive Revolution and the Agricultural Revolution, Harari will guide you to the Scientific Revolution, which started just 500 years ago and could start something completely different for mankind. The money, however, will remain. Read this book to understand that money is the greatest story ever told and that trust is the raw material from which all forms of money are made.
Optional Quote: “The Sapiens, on the other hand, live in a triple-layered reality. In addition to trees, rivers, fears, and desires, the Sapiens world also has stories about money, gods, nations, and corporations.”
The Internet of Money ~ by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
If the two books mentioned above help us understand the historical context in which Bitcoin first appeared, 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 compilation of the talks he gave on the circuit between 2013 and 2016, all compressed for publication.
His first book, Mastering Bitcoin, is a technical in-depth look at the technology, aimed 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, how the scaling debate doesn’t really matter, and why Bitcoin needs designer help to block mass adoption.
“When you drive your new automobile in a city,” he writes, “you drive on roads used by horses that have infrastructure designed and used for horses. There are no traffic lights. There are no rules of the road. There are no paved roads. And what happened? Cars got stuck because they didn’t have balance and four feet.” But fast-forward a hundred years and the once-derided cars are completely commonplace. If you want to dive into the philosophical, social, and historical implications of Bitcoin, this is your place to start.
Optional quote: “Bitcoin isn’t just money for the internet. Yes, it’s the 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 internet money. Currency is just the first application is. If you understand that, you can look beyond the price, you can look beyond the volatility, you can look beyond the fad. At its core, Bitcoin is a revolutionary technology that will change the world. forever. Enter.”