Working Like It’s 2020: A Sneak Peak at The Fourth Industrial Revolution


As a leader, if you ever wanted to stick your head out of the proverbial sea of news headlines and look at the broader picture of the future, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” could be a helpful guide. The book looks at some of the most interesting trends of the future and identifies the economic and social implications so that business leaders can prepare for that inevitable (but unpredictable) future.

Working Like It’s 2020: A Sneak Peak at The Fourth Industrial Revolution

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It seems like every day brings some new “unknown” for people in the business world: robots who could replace your employees, disruptive startups that can take your customers or hackers who can steal your identity. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a look at the promising (and scary) trends that are heading toward a workplace and society near you.

What is The Fourth Industrial Revolution About?

“Innovation is a complex, social process, and not one we should take for granted.”
The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Author Klaus Schwab wants you to be excited and scared for the upcoming world of 2020.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution discusses the trends behind what many experts call a new industrial revolution in the modern world. Unlike previous industrial revolutions, the fourth one is completely different in terms of speed, depth and its effect on society as a whole. The impact of this fourth industrial revolution is predicted to affect every country, every economic sector and probably every single person on the planet. Understanding the potential impact of the fourth industrial revolution is crucial because it affects the survival of our jobs and ultimately, ourselves.

Schwab’s motivation is the belief that the business community, as yet, is unprepared for this industrial revolution. Businesses today lack the policy framework or common vision to leverage the potential of the fourth industrial revolution. This is a recipe for uncontrolled disaster. Without a proactive and collaborative response from the major influencers of that future (government, business, etc.), future economies could suffer the consequences of higher unemployment, higher social inequality and an increased gap in women’s and men’s pay.

The book’s point, however, is not to shock and awe business leaders with the realities of a world where robots learn human jobs through algorithms, a group of college kids can create a billion dollar business with less than 100 employees, or a computer can diagnose your illness and print out organs for transplant. Instead, Schwab’s goal is to help business leaders become more aware of the future they are actually heading toward. Without forward-thinking leadership and planning on an individual, national and global scale, the future may not be a pleasant one — especially for small business.

Schwab is the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, a global economic reporting group which seeks to create partnerships to advance humanity’s economy into the future.

What Was Best About The Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is an exciting look into the future that doesn’t get caught up in the novelty of the future. It provides a balanced look at the potential rewards, dangers and implications of the future ranging from 3-D printing to nanotechnology. The book, in particular, focuses on the economic implications (labor, business strategy, GDP, etc.) of that future. This approach gives readers both the social context and business impact of these trends.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not designed for the reader looking for “Top 10 Trends to Beat Your Competitor Now”. It is designed for a long-term perspective, asking readers to confront the personal and global implications of living in the future. It, therefore, doesn’t give specific advice on how to utilize the insight from these trends in your current workplace. It details what could happen, so you can prepare for the conversations all business leaders need to have.

Why Read The Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a very interesting book for anyone who is intrigued by the future unfolding everyday in TV and social media headlines. With its particular focus on the economic implications of that future, it serves as an early call to action, cautionary warning and optimistic advocate for the future. Since the implications are believed to impact everyone, the book can be enjoyed by all. Those who enjoy economics, however, will better appreciate the book’s unique focus on the economic and social implications of living in a world with drones, TaskRabbit, Uber, RFID technology (technology that tracks a package’s location),”smart” homes and appliances and more. Today, business leaders are seeing only the tip of the iceberg as far  as innovation in business. But this book provides a sneak peak of how the part of that iceberg still beneath the surface can still cause plenty of challenges.

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Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.