"Views differ on bitcoin, but few doubt the transformative potential of Blockchain technology. The Truth Machine is the best book so far on what has happened and what may come along. It demands the attention of anyone concerned with our economic future."
— Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard, Former U.S. Treasury Secretary
Over the course of a decade, Michael’s books have documented the transformative changes of our times, the forces of globalization, digitization, Internet expansion and financial volatility that have rocked society – changes at once exciting and daunting. Covering the gamut from art and culture to economics, business and politics, his sharp insights into these sweeping developments arm readers with the understanding they need to grasp the relevance to their lives. Michael’s ability to perceive and describe global trends at the macroeconomic level is uniquely matched with a capacity to reveal their local-level effects. Whether it’s corporate leaders forced by competitors’ disruptive innovations to reinvent their business models, workers challenged by an increasingly international and automated labor market, or young inventors whose startups are disintermediating established firms and reshaping the economy, he brings out the human stories within these systemic forces. Michael’s writings explore both the opportunities and the risks as society shifts from a centralized, analog system of economic power to one that’s decentralized and digital. His books, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, are vital guides for a dizzying era in which businesses and individuals must learn to deal with constant change, and to turn threat into opportunity.
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The Truth Machine
The Blockchain and the Future of Everything
St. Martin’s Press, 2018
“An in-depth, fair, and engaging account of a massive technological shift that affects everyone.” ―Business Insider
Big banks have grown bigger and more entrenched. Privacy exists only until the next hack. Credit card fraud is a fact of life. Many of the “legacy systems” once designed to make our lives easier and our economy more efficient are no longer up to the task. Yet there is a way past all this―a new kind of operating system with the potential to revolutionize vast swaths of our economy: the blockchain.
The Truth Machine, the second book Michael co-authored with Paul Vigna, demystifies blockchain technology and explains how this new, decentralized approach to information-sharing marks a millennia-in-the-making shift in society’s management of trust. Along the way, it explains how we can restore personal control over our data, assets, and identities; grant billions of excluded people access to the global economy; and shift the balance of power to revive society’s faith in itself. The authors reveal the disruption it promises for industries, including finance, tech, legal, and shipping, and delve into the challenges that governments and communities face in redefining their systems of regulation to accommodate a fundamentally different system of economic governance.
The Social Organism
A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life
Hachette Books, 2016
"The Social Organism is a remarkable hybrid: a riveting history of mass media, a convincing guide to the landscape of digital platforms, and an indispensable window into our future world. It's a must-read for business leaders and anyone who wants to understand all the implications of a social world."―Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company
In barely a decade, social media has positioned itself at the center of twenty-first century life. The combined power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine have helped topple dictators and turned anonymous teenagers into celebrities overnight. In the social media age, ideas spread and morph through shared hashtags, photos, and videos, and the most compelling and emotive ones can transform public opinion in mere days and weeks, even attitudes and priorities that had persisted for decades.
Michael collaborated with maverick serial entrepreneur Oliver Luckett to produce this groundbreaking analysis of social media’s transformative impact on our lives. The Social Organism draws on evolutionary biology to identify a defining order to a system that might otherwise appear to be in chaos. With the patterns of the natural universe as a template, they offer a new communication strategy for an age when distribution systems are no longer controlled by major media companies but formed organically around leaderless networks glued together with emotional ties and the power of personality. Prescient in its treatment of the “fake news” problem that would later rock the U.S., it works as a roadmap, not only for communicating ideas and branding messages in the 21st century but for contending with a rapidly decentralizing economy in which creative content and ideas enter the economy more freely, without the filters of traditional media gatekeepers. They get beyond the popular impression of social media as a brutal, jungle-like experience and show the potential that a decentralized, global system of idea-sharing can have in the formation of art, scientific knowledge and social organization.
The Age of Cryptocurrency
How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order
St. Martin’s Press, 2015
“Vigna and Casey's thorough, timely and colorful book is a rewarding place to learn it all.” ―Emanuel Derman, The New York Times Book Review
In the book that established Michael’s reputation as a leading thinker in the cryptocurrency and blockchain field, he and Paul Vigna brought what was then a little-understood technology into the mainstream. It enabled people to see beyond the headlines that painted bitcoin as a rogue, “criminal currency” and to instead perceive the potential that its underlying technology offers for a new system of money that frees people from the control of centralized intermediaries.
Widely acclaimed, The Age of Cryptocurrency has an evergreen quality. Despite the rapidly changing state of the cryptocurrency industry, it has proved its relevance years later. Not only does this book explain how bitcoin and blockchain technology works and tell the story of those who created it, but it also lays out why it matters to the world – why a new form of leaderless money can free people from the tyranny of centralized trust and open new opportunities for economic inclusion for billions who’ve hitherto been excluded.
The Unfair Trade
How Our Broken Global Financial System Destroys the Middle Class
A well-reported, deeply serious appraisal of the exceptional damage a dysfunctional system inflicts.” —Kirkus Reviews
A wake-up call for middle class Americans who feel trapped in a post-crisis economic slump, The Unfair Trade is a riveting exposé of the vast global financial system whose flaws are the source of our economic malaise. In it, Michael shows how our livelihoods are now, more than ever, beholden to the workings of that system’s imbalances and inequities. He demonstrates how events such as China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, coupled with some flawed deregulation on Wall Street, created an unhealthy global and geopolitical imbalance that favored elites on both sides of the Pacific but hurt Joe Public. Rather than lock that conversation down in a nerdy academic tome, the narrative includes a slew of human stories that not only show the impact of these changes in personal terms but also illustrate how people’s lives are intertwined, even in a broken system that spans the globe.
The Legacy of an Image
“Fascinating. . . . Bracing and keenly observed. . . . Not only a cultural history of an image, but also a sociopolitical study of the mechanisms of fame.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
In 1960, Cuban photographer Alberto Korda captured fabled revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara in what has become history's most reproduced photo. Here Michael tells the remarkable story of this image, detailing its evolution from a casual snapshot to an omnipresent graphic—plastered on everything from T-shirts to vodka to condoms—and into a copyrighted brand. As he follows it across the Americas and through cyberspace, he finds governments exploiting it and their dissenters attacking it, merchants selling it and tourists buying it. In Michael’s rendering, Korda’s “Che” becomes a rich expression of the tensions of global capitalism and of the borderless culture arising from it. In the end, we see this image as a mercurial, ageless icon that continues to ignite passion—and, ultimately, as a reflection of how we view ourselves.