Did you read the ending as depressing or upbeat?
Join Date: 10/11/10
Join Date: 10/18/10
It seemed like Brooks was going to end the book on a real down-note (because there wasn't a whole lot of good news in the rest of it!), but I didn't read that way. I'm wondering if others felt the same way.
It's supposed to be bad (I guess) that a Chinese citizen was now president, but he didn't seem like a bad guy - though, of course, not perfect. But I'm not sure if I am conflicted because the author wanted me to be that way, or if I'm just not as anti-immigrant as the presumed audience of the book.
I don't really see how either president could do a whole lot to make large strides in improving the quality of life of the people of the US, so I don't think either would have been a bad choice.
Join Date: 12/04/11
Do you really think it has to be mandatory for our president to be born in the United States? I've never really given it much thought but after reading this book I am wondering if that's really such a big deal. If you have someone who could be effective in the position isn't that the important thing? I actually felt a little hopeful at the end that maybe here was a person who could help.
Join Date: 05/12/11
2030's ending is not particularly upbeat or depressing because life is life. Brooks is offering a vision of an interdependent borderless world; i.e. one that will continue to survive as one world of human beings with all the good and bad consequences of human nature. We earthlings will live together or die together.
Join Date: 10/18/10
Chetyarbrough - I agree with you, I do see that borderless Earth as a positive future. I was just surprised to find it here. It's almost like all the bad things (the debt, generational divide, etc.) would push us towards a good thing, so maybe they aren't so bad? But that's not the tone I was picking up before that, so I was wondering if others read it like I did.
Join Date: 10/18/10
sharalynnep - The biggest reason I see for that law is so we wouldn't have a president with split loyalties. What if his/her country of birth attacked the US? Could you order troops to fight against your birth country?
It would certainly be different if you were a child when you came, but as an adult you couldn't help but retain some connection to the place you lived for decades before adopting the US as your home.
Join Date: 04/22/11
I found it neither depressing or upbeat because this was JUST a story...right? However, I would be hard pressed to accept this happening in the US at this time because it happened so shortly after coming to the US. A borderless Earth sounds good but that wasn't the case in this story. I also imagine that split loyalities could be a very real problem for someone so new to this country.
Join Date: 05/24/11
I thought the ending was a bit abrupt. I understand what the point was, but we had made this journey for several hundred pages and then it was wrapped up within 50 pages. It was neither depressing or upbeat. What I really liked about the book was the tone and insight into the problems of today.
Join Date: 05/12/11
Human nature is immutable; i.e. it will always be good and bad, regardless of the world condition. Presidents will continue to make good and bad personal and national decisions. What changes is our environment. America's excessive debt, increasing longevity, increasing medical costs, and advances in medical treatment are trends that will not disappear between now and 2030.
The precise consequences cannot be known but Brooks has made some pretty good guesses. Space ship earth is cliche but it does seem reasonable in light of global warming, dwindling resources, and an aging population that increasingly require nation-state cooperation. With technological advances, disparate cultures will become more homogenized. Brooks is a smart guy, a decent writer, and an insightful futurist.
Join Date: 07/28/11
I thought the book ended suddenly. I can't really say that it was depressing - it certainly wasn't upbeat. It kept me thinking - can this really happen? It certainly seems plausible. Friends of mine have joked for years that China is going to own us and we should learn to speak Mandarin.
Join Date: 04/28/11
I agree with other posts that the ending was abrupt, and I didn't think it really fit the story. Not sure what I expected, but it wasn't an inaugural address by the Chinese-born president (although his election DID fit with the rest of the story). I thought the ending was not particularly upbeat or depressing, it just was what it was -- and maybe that was the point. Life goes on, things continue to happen, changes occur, one can't know whether they are going to improve things or make things worse.
Join Date: 06/16/11
Several have made the point that it is neither depressing nor upbeat and I agree. The ending was just like the rest of the book with so many really awful things going on but also the wonderful things that had been developed. It is rather true to life in that sense. There is a sort of truth here that we see throughout history where new findings were hailed as the greatest thing in the world only to see the use and abuse of the new thing creating really awful events. As humans we are pretty amazing but really self destructive as well.
Join Date: 10/19/10
Well, it certainly wasn't upbeat. I found that Brooks did wrap everything up rather abruptly, as if he had to get to a conclusion within the allotted pages. I would like to believe in a happier future for the United States in spite of the chaos that we are already experiencing.
Join Date: 04/07/12
It was depressing in that the condition of the United States had deteriorated to such an extent it took a foreign entity to bail it out. Brooks' commentary on the current political situation is apt. I agree with earlier posts that the ending was abrupt. After spending the entire book building the story, it felt like Brooks just gave up and sold out. I didn't find a real message.
Regarding the posts on the birth status of the president, I believe barbarak was accurate in the "loyalties" of the person serving as president. The framers had an argument when they wrote this in the constitution b/c there were so many immigrants in the early years. Brooks' use of a foreign born presidential candidate emphasized the deterioration of the country.
Join Date: 06/28/11
I believe the author deliberately tried to make the ending ambiguous, sort of a glass is half-full or half-empty, depending on your own personal bent. I don't think Brooks 'sold out' at the end. For me, the issue wasn't the abrupt ending or the fact that the new president was a foreign-born person. The inaugural speech was celebratory but empty, no surprises there. Nothing was mentioned about addressing the serious generational gap problems the nation was facing, and I was left with the feeling that things were just going to continue to get worse. I don't think Brooks's intent was to provide a solution, but to give us his own view of the most likely 'plausible' ending, which I feel he succeeded in doing.
Join Date: 03/12/12
There was actually a move to amend the Constitution regarding foreign-born presidents when Arnold Schwartzenegger was governor of California. It didn't go far.
I think the author was winking at us at the very end considering the divide between the young and the old -- that the unity probably wouldn't last.
Join Date: 05/31/11
Well, I found it depressing and I find most of the comments here regarding the ending depressing. Has our 'melting pot' so diluted our National Pride or is it that we are so disillusioned with our economic/political situation that we look elsewhere for our salvation?
Join Date: 04/14/11
As I got to the end I had two thoughts about it. One, An author/friend of mine told me that right now books that sell are about 350 pages long. This book went a little over that so maybe the ending was abrupt for that reason. My other thought is that life goes on and there really is no need to wrap it up.
Join Date: 04/07/12
Join Date: 04/15/12
I thought the whole book was depressing. I was very intrigued at the beginning because it seemed like the plot line could come in the future considering some of the problems in this country. I agree with those who think the ending is depressing. Isn't it sad that we can't have leaders in our own country who can come up with solutions? I also agree with those who feel a President from another country might have divided loyalties. The Founding Fathers were pretty smart when writing the Constitution. What would they say to a foreign leader controlling our country? George Washington in his Farewell Address warned us to avoid foreign entanglements unless unavoidable.
Join Date: 08/23/11
I found the ending just right for me. It seemed that the story lines for each character had come to an ending point and it was time for an announcement that would leave you with a future possibility. With Shen Li taking over the country it is a perfect set-up for a sequel. There were many depressing situations in the book which if you took them seriously could bother you. Unfortunately, for many readers, I am sure it is too close to the present truth in this country which is unsettling. As far as the idea of a Chinese leader taking over our country I took that with a "grain of salt" as it was interesting but I would not allow myself to think that we are headed in this direction. I do think the idea of globalization being extended with the debt issues around the world is very believable.
Join Date: 04/27/11
Join Date: 06/01/11
I read it both ways. The shooting on the retirement "cruise ship" depressed me. I would have liked to have read more closure here. The Chinese president was comical. I agree with one of the participants,whose side would he be on I the event of a war? I think that the book was ended too soon, unless of course Alan plans a sequel......just saying
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