Survival of the Richest: escape fantasies of the tech billionaires


Author: Douglas Rushkoff (Author)


Product description


‘A tremendous story … … the big takeaway is clear: your bunker won’t save you. Time to make nice with the butler.’

-- Hugo Rifkind ― The Times

‘Douglas Rushkoff has always been a singular observer and thinker. Embedded near the epicentres of the digital revolution from its hopeful outlaw start through the oppressive mega-corporate current condition, he has never flinched along the way from honestly delivering fresh, radical, humane critiques of the emerging world. There are plenty of books decrying the horrors of 21st-century monopoly capitalism and inequality, and the existential threats posed by technology and hell-bent growth, 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 Andersen, author of Evil Geniuses

‘Douglas Rushkoff’s disguise as an “influential futurist” has enabled him to serve as a mole on behalf of our species in the lair of the wannabe-posthuman. His report is both fierce and amazed in the face of capitalism’s delusions; I for one am sharpening my pitchfork.’

-- Jonathan Lethem

‘A wake-up call to those of us without underground bunkers or peninsulas in New Zealand to take note of where the 0.001 per cent think the world is heading … … This book is a digital version of Dickens’s Hard Times, full of hoodie-clad Gradgrinds failing to see the value of the messiness in humanity.’

-- Daisy Goodwin ― The Sunday Times

‘Well worth reading.’

-- Michele Pridmore-Brown ― TLS

‘Rushkoff gives us a sober, scathing oddsmaking on the recursive wager of the ultra-rich: that they can insulate themselves from the world they’re creating.’

-- Cory Doctorow

‘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

‘With razor-sharp insight, Rushkoff unwraps the dazzling facade of the technological dream, revealing the alarming Mindset that underlies promises of planetary salvation.’

-- Jeremy Lent, author of The Patterning Instinct and The Web of Meaning

‘Beyond eye-opening, this book is eye-popping. A master storyteller, Rushkoff brings to life perhaps the greatest challenge of our time, The Mindset that drives so much destructive behaviour, and blinds us to solutions beyond new technology and consumption. A must read.’

-- Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and Daring Democracy

Survival of the Richest is more than a primer on a soulless world view pervading all aspects of life. Defying fantasies of escape ― from each other, from earthliness, from Earth ― Rushkoff offers something at once more realistic and more imaginative: mutual regard, responsibility, and flourishing. In so doing, he mounts an impassioned defence of everything and everyone marked expendable in the fanatical pursuit of a blank slate.’

-- Jenny Odell

‘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 … 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? … This should give us all pause ― if they want to escape their creations, why give them the power to rule our lives in the first place?’

-- Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of the Institute for the Future

‘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, author of This Changes Everything

Survival of the Richest reveals fascinating tidbits about the elite tech crowd’s post-apocalyptic survival strategies and the niche solutions being marketed to them.’

-- Carolyn Wong Simpkins ― Science

‘He cites a lot of research from news outlets, books, scholarship on technology, politics, human behaviour, and sustainability to drive home his point that technology is running society … Rushkoff’s anecdotes and relatable voice will attract readers interested in technology and business, as well as those who want to know more about how wealthy tech magnates live.’

-- Natalie Browning ― Library Journal

‘Rushkoff delineates the Silicon Valley mindset while suggesting alternatives.’

Library Journal

‘Media theorist Rushkoff presents a fascinating and distressing account of how the very wealthy prep for doomsday … Rushkoff introduces readers to the purveyor of multiple “residential farm communities for millionaires” designed to provide safety for the upper class in the future; the concept of “seasteading”, the creation of “independent, free-floating city-states” in the ocean; and “prepper construction companies” in Texas that offer million-dollar luxury bunkers outfitted with bowling alleys and pools … This is an eye-popping look at some outlandish visions for the future.’

Publishers Weekly

‘A media theorist dismantles the tech-centric fantasies of the wealthiest people in the world … he [Rushkoff] writes with knowledge and authority. The text conveys an appropriately urgent and serious message, while the closing section offers sound reason for hope and reasonable steps to take for a better future. A dense but thorough and authoritative condemnation of tech worship.’

Kirkus Reviews

‘In this compelling short book, Rushkoff both explains what the billionaire class are hoping to escape – such as climate breakdown and mass migration – and how unrealistic it is … In an age where most of the media fawns over every idea, tweet or fashion choice of the mega-rich, from Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos to Bill Gates, it’s worth asking why. Rushkoff has the pedigree to challenge the bullshitters. While Silicon Valley preaches progress, innovation and transformation, “usually these are just euphemisms for conquest, colonisation, domination and extraction”. Their ultimate aim is to monopolise everything – and none of us should be seduced by it.’

-- Antony Loewenstein ― The Saturday Paper

‘If you’re after a primer on the various ills of late capitalism, then strap yourself in and enjoy this wide-ranging, freewheeling romp by one of the US’s most entertaining digital culture raconteurs … Rushkoff is an accessible, pithy writer, with no shortage of examples, analogies and anecdotes to string together … Rushkoff mixes in some pretty wild company on his global speaking gigs, and has serendipitous encounters with some outlandish figures.’

-- Tom Doig ― Gizmodo

’[A] highly worthwhile read to feel equal measure of concern and hopefulness.’

-- Chris Reed ― NZ Booklovers

Praise for Team Human:

Team Human serves as a reminder that we do not have to surrender ourselves to technology ... Joining Team Human means prioritising the social, transcending a digital inclination, and connecting as humans.’

The Washington Post

Praise for Team Human:

‘Technology can be a force for good or amplify our self-destructive capacities. In Team Human, the always-brilliant Douglas Rushkoff reminds us that the tools we design design us in turn, and offers a vision to invert our tools and make them better.’

-- Jason Silva, host of National Geographic’s Brain Games

Praise for Team Human:

‘Rushkoff is the gold standard. He always knows what tech is up to ― and he’s usually prophetic. Now he’s here to tell us how our Silicon masters are attempting to pit us against one another for their own gain. Go Team Human.’

-- Walter Kirn, author of Blood Will Out and Up in the Air

Praise for Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus:

‘Powerful truth telling … The crux of the argument that Rushkoff makes is that the digital economy is a house of cards built on fictional growth metrics that drive companies to raise money, undercut human workers, sell on the public markets, and then ― almost inevitably ― collapse under the weight of public market demands.’


Praise for Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus:

‘A brilliant, bomb-hurling critique of the flaws in our digital economy, identifying what has gone wrong and what can be done about it.’

Financial Times

Praise for Present Shock:

‘This is a wondrously thought-provoking book. Unlike other social theorists who either mindlessly decry or celebrate the digital age, Rushkoff explores how it has caused a focus on the immediate moment that can be both disorienting and energising.’

-- Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

About the Author

Douglas Rushkoff is professor of media theory and digital economics at Queens College, City University of New York. Named one of the world’s ten most influential intellectuals by MIT, he hosts the Team Human podcast and has written many award-winning books. He lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.


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