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Longpath summary

Ari Wallach

Becoming the Great Ancestors Our Future Needs - an Antidote for Short-Termism

4.3 (264 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

'Longpath' by Ari Wallach is a call to action for a more sustainable future. It explains how we can shift our focus to long-term thinking and implement positive change through collaboration, empathy, and foresight.

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    Given our present challenges, humanity needs a new way to think about the world

    Humanity is in the midst of an Intertidal – a term author Ari Wallach uses to represent a crucial period of monumental change. 

    And when we say crucial, we mean Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution-level crucial. The kind of seismic shifts that alter the world for centuries.  So, if we are currently in the middle of an Intertidal, how did we get here?

    Globalization is one reason. Climate change is another, as is the rapid pace of changes in technology. But it’s more than just these forces. It’s a marked shift in cultural attitudes, too. The way people have thought about the world for generations is shifting.

    The influence of organized religion is waning, and there’s a contest to determine what might take its place. Foundational ideas of freedom, justice, and equality are being reconsidered through a 21st century lens. 

    This moment presents a unique opportunity to rewrite the rules of civilization. This may sound a bit jarring, but it doesn’t have to be.

    It’s true, Intertidals are chaotic. But it’s precisely this chaos that creates a unique opportunity for lasting change. According to Nobel Laureate and complexity theorist Ilya Prigogine, systems often shift from periods of immense chaos to order and equilibrium.  Whether this new equilibrium is better or worse than the present is up to us.

    Some Intertidals represent a step backward, like the collapse of the Roman Empire that ushered in the bleakness of the Middle Ages. This is probably not something we want to repeat. Others, like the Scientific Revolution, have helped propel humanity forward.

    So, how do we turn the chaos of today into a better world? We must reject short-termism, and instead embrace our capacity for empathy, cooperation, and looking ahead. We must understand that our choices today will have ripple effects for generations. We must accept our role in the broader story of humanity.

    By adopting the Longpath mentality, we can lead happier lives. But Longpath isn’t simply about self-improvement. It’s also about building a better future for posterity.

    If we reject toxic short-term thinking and prioritize the future, we can achieve both. Here’s how to build a future our descendants will thank us for. 

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    What is Longpath about?

    Longpath (2022) is written to change the way you think about humankind. By teaching the lessons of the Longpath mentality, it shows how to break the bad habit of short-term thinking and embrace a mentality that helps connect humanity’s past, present, and future in order to make a better world. 

    Longpath Review

    Longpath by Ari Wallach (2022) explores a unique perspective on long-term thinking and how it can shape our actions today. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With a fresh take on the concept of long-term thinking, the book challenges conventional wisdom and encourages readers to envision a better future.
    • Rich with thought-provoking ideas and insights, it offers a practical framework for individuals and organizations to make decisions that have lasting positive impacts.
    • The book's engaging storytelling and compelling case studies bring the concept of longpath to life, transforming what could be a dry topic into an intriguing exploration of possibilities.

    Who should read Longpath?

    • Individuals interested in improving their connection to others
    • Anyone held back by short-term thinking
    • Policymakers at the local, state, or federal level

    About the Author

    Ari Wallach is a futurist, a professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and the founder of Longpath Labs, which helps individuals and institutions adopt mindsets geared toward the future.  He is also the CEO of Synthesis Corp., a strategic innovation consultancy based in New York. His TED talk on Longpath has garnered more than 2.5 million views. 

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    Longpath FAQs 

    What is the main message of Longpath?

    The main message of Longpath is to think beyond short-term solutions and focus on long-term thinking and planning.

    How long does it take to read Longpath?

    The reading time for Longpath varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Longpath a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Longpath is a valuable read for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of long-term thinking. It offers practical insights and strategies for planning ahead.

    Who is the author of Longpath?

    Ari Wallach is the author of Longpath.

    What to read after Longpath?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Longpath, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
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