Adrift Book Summary - Adrift Book explained in key points
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Adrift summary

Scott Galloway

America in 100 Charts

4.3 (300 ratings)
15 mins
Table of Contents

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    Key idea 1 of 5

    Join a club or organization.

    Participation in community organizations is dropping. That’s bad news.

    We’re social beings. Our communities give us the daily support we need to survive and thrive. Connection to others and interaction with them is also a key part of building tolerance for those who look or believe differently from us. If we drift apart, society begins to fray.

    Here are a few examples from a range of community groups:

    Since 1990, church membership, once a bedrock of community organization, has dropped 21 percent. But it’s not just religion. Boy Scout memberships have dropped from 22 per 1,000 people to just six. The Girl Scouts have fared a bit better, but even its membership has fallen from 13 per 1,000 people to only seven, a reduction of almost half. Rotary memberships are down too.

    Outside of organized groups, we’re also just losing contact with the people around us. Have you ever felt like neighbors just don’t talk to each other anymore? There’s data to back that up. From 2008 to 2017, the number of adults who talk to their neighbors fell from 71 percent all the way down to 54 percent. 

    Much of life has moved online and that comes with advantages. Working online can save you lots of time, not to mention big money on commuting and office attire. It can also help companies hire the right workers, no matter where they live, and do their business more efficiently. We’re also seeing recreation move online, with tech companies investing in the metaverse, a place for ever more immersive online gaming and interaction.

    While all this can be fun and useful, our lack of connection can’t be entirely replaced by social media – although that’s not stopping us from trying.

    We’re seeing a decline not just in community organizations but, predictably, in friendships too. In 1990, 40 percent of men and 28 percent of women reported having ten or more friends. By 2021, deep into the age of social media, a staggeringly low 15 percent of men and 11 percent of women said they had that many friends.

    Only a handful of people in 1990 reported having no close friends or only one friend. By 2021, that had soared to 21 percent of men and 18 percent of women.

    So don’t rely on online worlds to give you the social interaction you need for your well-being. Seek out groups and places where you can interact in real life. You’ll benefit and so will society.

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    What is Adrift about?

    Adrift (2022) argues that the United States is flailing, despite all its success and global dominance since World War II. It’s a country struggling to adapt to revolutionary changes in technology, facing deep economic and political divisions and threats of extremism, and quickly losing ground to rivals like China. Despite all of this, Scott Galloway still sees reason for hope, but first lays out what he sees as the biggest challenges facing the nation. 

    Who should read Adrift?

    • Those who feel overwhelmed by the anger and divisiveness on social media
    • Investors who want to understand an evolving market
    • People wondering if higher education is worth their time

    About the Author

    Scott Galloway is an author, podcaster, YouTuber, and public speaker who teaches marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business. His best-selling books include The Algebra of Happiness, Love and Meaning, Post Corona, and The Four. He has founded nine companies, including L2 Inc. (now Gartner); Section 4, a business education company; and Prophet Brand Strategy. He also serves on the board of directors for multiple top companies, including Urban Outfitters, Panera Bread, and The New York Times Company. 

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