Is global capitalism on its last legs? Is the era of American leadership over? Has the West begun a decline into a new Dark Age? Does American civilization deserve to survive? These are the unnerving questions raised by the Great Crash of 2009.
This book presents a radically new answer, insisting that global society has only begun to realize its full potential. Author Howard Bloom argues that there’s a hidden mandate beneath the surface of capitalism: "It’s struggling to whisper and rumble its message to you and me. That hidden imperative can lift us from economic crisis, can make us a leader in the next-generation economy, and can dramatically upgrade our ability to empower our fellow human beings." Bloom sees crisis as opportunity, opportunity for the whole human race.
In more than eighty short, fast chapters, insights appear suddenly, like the quick bursts of flashbulbs, taking the reader on a sweeping tour of human history, from the Stone Age to the present. Every chapter conveys a radically new way to see the astonishing mechanism we call "Western Civilization." Bloom marvels at how humans have turned toxic waste into food and fuel, trash into treasure, and garbage into gold. He shows how we've produced material miracles based on immaterial things—passion, persistence, and fantasy. He shows that what many regard as the end is just the beginning. The beginning of something you've never before imagined.
The author explains why the secret to capitalism’s next great leap does not lie in new financial tricks, but in tapping things right under our noses in radically new ways—that is, tapping our imagination, our desire to feel useful, our desire to help others, and our desire to be recognized for contributing to the welfare of humanity. The key to next-generation capitalism lies in a big-picture view that's utterly unlike anything you've previously perceived. A big-picture view that will startle you. A big-picture view with which you can ignite the world, get a new handle on your life, and help transform society.
This brilliant, inspirational work of daring ideas and breathtaking research offers more than hope. It offers unseen levels of understanding. Understanding that can literally redefine what it means to be a human being.
"It is absolutely one of the most thrilling (I mean that—it gives me goose bumps) books I have ever read."
—Robin Fox, Rutgers University
"Impressive and stimulating. A tremendously enjoyable work."
—James Fallows, national correspondent for the Atlantic
"The Genius of the Beast is a tour de force."
"In this recapitulation of the universe’s evolutionary thrust—and humanity’s part of it—Howard Bloom proves to be a provocative, even an inspiring, thinker."
"Engrossing, uplifting, and educational . . . fascinating."
—Monsters and Critics
"I really could not put it down. Ultimately, I found the book a tremendously optimistic, motivating, exciting read that I look forward to tackling again."
"Capitalism does indeed work, scholar Bloom boldly affirms in this at-once brash and well-considered treatise, in which, in his own words, he applies a new lens to viewing the entire course of Western civilization. . . . The problem . . . [lies] in the way capitalism has come to be viewed. This long, provocative, needs-to-be-read book seeks to rectify that situation. What he explains here, in detailed arguments, is that ‘capitalism and the Western system hide astonishing abilities.’ Spend time with this eye-opener."
"Riveting, brilliant, remarkable, distressing, optimistic, and beautifully written. A brilliant . . . history of the world."
—Michael Zilkha, CEO of Zilkha Biomass Energy
"Get this book and read it. Bloom’s assessments are thoughtful and inspiring. Thank you, Howard Bloom; you have bridged generations and thoughts and tied together facts that otherwise would have gone unnoticed."