I got called out in one review of my new book Digital Human calling it a "futurist's wet dream", which I thought was a bit much. The reviewer doesn't work in finance, didn't like my views on science fiction becoming science fact, didn't buy into the revolutions of humanity and felt the book was confused. Interesting as I think it is crystal clear and, if anyone else out there agrees, a few positive reviews on Amazon to counter this person's negativity would be welcome.
I get where he is coming from though. If I picked up a banking book expecting it to give me a scientific analysis of Earth’s atmosphere, I’d be disappointed too. From my own perspective, I thought the book would appeal to non-financial people. We shall see.
Anyways, back to this negative person and their comment about a “futurist’s wet dream”, I actually think I’m placidly realistic in my outlook. We will be multiplanetary citizens within the next century, I am sure of it. We will have robots serving humans in every part of our lives - as hosts in restaurants to alternatives to sex workers - I am sure of it. And we will reach a Singularity at some point, where machines are more intelligent than humans - I am sure of it. Mind you, I’m not sure they could beat Anna Netrebko's singing or Coldplay live.
The fact that such views isolate some people, and it is just some, is because they don’t like these ideas or the way they are articulated. They think it is too much like the sci-fi movies out there and it is just that: fiction.
And that’s what I put my negative reviewer down to: he just doesn’t like fiction. But, right now, all of the future is fiction because it hasn’t happened yet. It reminded me of a friend who told me to stop talking about robots, as it turned off the audience. I said that this may be so, but the rise of the robots is inevitable and unavoidable. Therefore if we were to avoid discussing them, because people aren’t keen on speculating such future fiction, then we miss some fundamentals.
In fact, it also reminded me of working with one of the large research firms. I presented the facts and stats of the markets, based on their stringent analysis, and then at the end would talk about the long-term implications or, as one colleague used to say, “this is where Chris goes off on one”.
Bottom-line is that I track the future because it’s the one thing we don’t know. Because the future is not written yet, anything about the future is fiction. A lot of that future is based on science, which is why it’s science fiction and, if you don’t like science fiction, you won’t like any book speculating upon what the future holds. However, if you avoid the future, then you will always be disappointed with life as it’s the one place we are all going, whether you like it or not.
Meantime there have been many positive reviews of the new book. I particularly liked this comment from Monty Munford:
He acknowledges a debt and respect to Yuval Noah Hariri and his best-selling books Sapiens and Homo Deus, but this is a different book, albeit worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Hariri’s works of brilliance.
And this one from the Irish Tech News:
The book is a tour de force of informed, timely on the money observations about where things are going, and if it will be TechFin or Fintech that rules the day.
Or this one from CIR magazine:
This book contributes to an important debate; and offers a timely exploration of this at once exciting and frightening topic, with some compelling arguments from a writer who manages to wrestle some complex issues, cutting through the jargon and noise to offer an optimistic vision of the future for the ‘digital human’.
Or this comment from David Rasson at ING:
If you are preparing your reading list for the summer holidays, consider Chris Skinner's new book "Digital Human". He's one of the few people who combines in-depth knowledge of financial services and technology.
Or these endorsements if you really need convincing:
"Skinner presents a compelling vision of the future of financial services, expertly set in 10,000 years of historical context."
Jesse McWaters, World Economic Forum
"I greatly enjoyed this rare and refreshing optimistic vision."
Kosta Peric, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
"Chris′ latest book is a tour–de–force."
Piyush Gupta, DBS Bank
"A fireside chat one–on–one conversation Chris Skinner has the remarkable ability to distil complex issues to their simplest form."
Wayne Brown, The Walker Group
"Digital Human will feel like a SoulCycle kick–your–butt spin class."
Mary Wisniewski, American Banker
"Digital Human is yet another must–read book from Chris Skinner."
Dan Dickinson, Equitable Bank
"Chris has a sharp eye for industry trends and cuts through a lot of noise with actionable insights."
Kim Fournais, Saxo Bank
Oh yes, and finally, in case you’re interested, here is the troll’s comment and my response. If any of you have an Amazon account, I would love to hear your views (positive or negative, I can take it):
I sadly found the book rather confusing. The blurb suggests the book will explore the impact of digitilisation for humanity, trade and so on, yet the focus is overwhelmingly on the financial sector. In a sense that makes sense as the author is from that sector, but it in no way delivers the holistic analysis that it promises.
When it does venture into a broad analysis, it comes across as a bit of a futurist's wet dream, charting all manner of things that are certain to happen, from massively elongated lives to mass-market space travel. There are regular references to science fiction and these attempts stray too much into that for my liking without being grounded enough to have a common threat to pull it all together.
This is a heavily congested market and sadly I feel that Digital Human doesn't really add much to it.
Reply from Chris Skinner
Thanks for this
The fact that I work mainly in Fin and Tech is something that maybe you should have looked at in the author's bio on the main page, as it would have shown you the book's focus is on commerce and trade from a financial markets viewpoint as clearly described ... but you know that, don't you?
Equally, whenever we look at the future it is fiction, as the future is not written yet, so the comment on 'wet dream' is over the top and I am surprised Amazon allowed it.
Finally, the outline I show of history (three revolutions of humanity), present (fourth revolution) and future (fifth) is totally different to every other author on this area. The 30,000 word case study on Alibaba's Ant Financial, which no other book has focused upon, is also unique. So I would claim it adds a significant amount to this market.
But we're all allowed our own view, and you dismiss this work as useless is your view. Fine by me as there are many glowing reviews of the pre-release (the book is only just on market) http://www.mob76outlook.com/book-review-digital-human/
p.s. I notice this is not an Amazon verified purchase
Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...