Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires (Paperback)
"A devastating portrait of the cultures and logics underlying big tech. Rushkoff is going to make you mad enough to fight back. A vital, lucid, and enraging read." —Naomi Klein
Five mysterious billionaires summoned Douglas Rushkoff to a desert resort for a private talk. The subject? How to survive the "Event": the societal collapse they know is coming. Rushkoff argues that these men were under the influence of The Mindset, a Silicon Valley–style certainty that they and their cohort can escape a disaster of their own making—as long as they have enough money and the right technology.
Rushkoff traces the origins of The Mindset in science and technology through its current expression in missions to Mars, island bunkers, AI futurism, and the metaverse. Through fascinating characters—master programmers who want to remake the world as if redesigning a video game and bankers who return from Burning Man convinced incentivized capitalism will prevent environmental disasters—Rushkoff explains why those with the most power to change the world have no interest in doing so. He argues that the only way to survive the coming catastrophe is to ensure it doesn’t happen by rediscovering community, mutual aid, and human interdependency.
Anticipating the mass layoffs and institutional collapse that have recently rocked Silicon Valley, Rushkoff’s Survival of the Richest is "a necessary and timely read" (Los Angeles Review of Books) with a prophetic message about the future of tech and our human community.
— Seth Godin
Why are the world’s richest people obsessed with preparing for the apocalypse? Because they’re edging us all toward it. It’s as if, Rushkoff writes, they’re trying to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust.
— Malcolm Harris - Wired
Dark and revealing…Rushkoff provides a powerful critique of the attitudes and technologies that enable these deceptions.
— Nick Romeo - Washington Post
Survival of the Richest reveals fascinating tidbits about the elite tech crowd’s postapocalyptic survival strategies and the niche solutions being marketed to them.
— Carolyn Wong Simpkins - Science
Rushkoff’s knowledge of digital technology shines…horrifying us with the capacities of the machines we’ve built and the ways they have been used against us. This is an important book.
— Adam Frank - NPR
[H]arrowing and illuminating.
— Chris Barsanti - PopMatters
Rushkoff is well worth reading [and] uncannily right.
— Michele Pridmore-Brown - Times Literary Supplement (UK)
Intriguing…[Survival of the Richest] shows the degree to which serious money is fretting about a looming disaster [and how] this scramble to organise the logistics of bunker life may make the underlying problems worse.
— Gillian Tett - Financial Times (UK)
Survival of the Richest is more than a primer on a soulless worldview pervading all aspects of life.…Rushkoff offers something at once more realistic and more imaginative: mutual regard, responsibility, and flourishing. In so doing, he mounts an impassioned defense of everything and everyone marked expendable in the fanatical pursuit of a blank slate.
— Jenny Odell, author of How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
There are plenty of books decrying the horrors of twenty-first-century monopoly capitalism, but none quite like Survival of the Richest. Rushkoff is essential—not just a passionate visionary on the side of the angels, but the rare one who can write.
— Kurt Anderson, author of Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History
[Rushkoff’s] report is both fierce and amazed in the face of capitalism’s delusions; I for one am sharpening my pitchfork.
— Jonathan Lethem, author of The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc.
A sober, scathing oddsmaking on the recursive wager of the ultra-rich: that they can insulate themselves from the world they’re creating in their rush to insulate themselves from the world they’re creating.
— Cory Doctorow, cofounder of BoingBoing
A hilarious and lacerating look at the elite sociopathy wrecking the world, and a call to arms for how the rest of us can fight it.
— Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood
Beyond eye-opening, this book is eye-popping. A master storyteller, Rushkoff brings to life perhaps the greatest challenge of our time. A must-read.
— Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet
Douglas Rushkoff’s keen eye as a seasoned media analyst, combined with his flair and wit as a writer and a performer, shine in this book. Rushkoff confronts the reader with a ridiculous conundrum: how is it possible that people who have powerfully shaped our society and economy and have reaped enormous financial rewards in the process are doing everything possible to escape the world they’ve created?
— Marina Gorbis, executive director of Institute for the Future
With razor-sharp insight, Rushkoff unwraps the dazzling facade of the technological dream, revealing the alarming Mindset that underlies promises of planetary salvation…Ultimately, Rushkoff demonstrates, the growth-based techno-solutionism inspired by the Mindset will drive our civilization toward collapse unless we begin to recognize capitalism as the underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
— Jeremy Lent, author of The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning
[A] thorough and authoritative condemnation of tech worship.
— Kirkus Reviews