america is an idea

Book Description:

From a co-founder of comes this “Why?” story behind the massive social platform, empowr, that’s been in the making for fifteen years.
Learn exactly what drove the participants (founders, advisors, success coaches and 1,000 employees plus 100,000 alpha test users) in their gigantic moonshot project.
After meticulously discussing the “Why?” the author then delves into how empowr has been designed to exploit the exponential characteristics of the web – via its tightly-integrated democratic, economic and educational platform – to deliver opportunity to people everywhere.
The book reads like a manifesto and a manual. One can’t help but come away with newfound or elevated inspiration to dream big, take on their own moonshot project and make a massive difference on the planet.
My Thoughts:
As one who writes about personal finance this book was an absolute dream to read. I am offered quite a few books for review each year, but this book spoke to me more than any other I have read in a very long time. The author, Michael Pousti, discusses so many important financial topics in an effort to explain why he built, a massive technology platform that hopes to redefine the American Dream and deliver that dream to people via the Internet.

Pousti actually summarizes the first few chapters himself stating

  • First-world democracies are being hijacked by special interests and big money;
  • Educational systems are leaving students woefully unprepared to participate in the modern, global economy where only highly skilled labor jobs matter as software and automation replace low skill jobs;
  • Network technologies are making it much easier for single corporations to rapidly take over entire industries and form job destroying monopolies;
  • To add insult to injury, each structural problem is making the others even worse, leaving the human race completely unequipped to face the many complex threats facing humanity.

Does that sound down right frightful? That is nothing compared to the three core problems Pousti is most concerned about. The issues listed next may make your heart race. They are problems that should concern each and every one of us. They are:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Terrorism and extremism; and
  • The backsliding and destruction of democracy

In the second half of the book Pousti explores each of these three topics in great detail. He shows us just how easily terrorism and extremism can rise in areas where poverty and inequality abound.

He states quite eloquently what we all know. “When people have nothing to lose in their current lives, extreme ideologies and promises of a perfect afterlife have a much greater appeal. This often makes them easy targets for groups with radical ideologies and seemingly simple answers to complicated questions… the key factors of poverty and inequality once again create monsters that can do almost immeasurable damage to their own countries and to the rest of the world.” This is certainly a frightening but absolutely true commentary on the Taliban and other terrorist forces around the globe.

I am not certain if empowr will be successful, but either way this book contained a lot of interesting information about the world, economics and technology and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Meet the author: 

Mike Pousti is the co-founder of empowr, a partnership between academia and tech entrepreneurs that’s attempting to deliver a democratized social media experience where the company is governed by its citizens.

Mike began his entrepreneurial journey when he founded his first start-up during his senior year as a computer engineering student at UC San Diego (UCSD). Employing 200 people and generating millions of dollars in profits before the age of 22, his company, Higher Educational Resources Corporation, developed the first commercially successful search engine on the Internet, known as the Arpanet.

His next start-up, Productivity Solutions Corporation, was acquired when he was 24 and two years later, Mike started, the world’s leading website for the 18-23 year old demographic.

After the dot-com crash in 2000, was acquired, and less than a week later, Mike started Phase 1 of empowr. empowr’s highly patented suite of technologies generated over $150M U.S. and today, empowr’s proprietary technologies are used by all major social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Tumblr.

While Mike remains an integral part in the daily operations of empowr, he recently relinquished his CEO position and handed over control of the company to empowr’s citizens, who formally elected their leader (and new President of empowr) via a web-based election.

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