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Summary of The War on Normal People 

Short summary

Statistics show that between the year 2000 and now, there have been no net jobs created in the United States. The new jobs emerging haven't been able to make up for the jobs that were lost. And this trend is not dying anytime soon. AI and robotics are coming for work as we know it. No industry would be left out. If you want to learn more about the future of work and how you can possibly secure your financial future, then this summary would be a worthy use of your time. "I found The War on Normal People fascinating and troubling." ~ Major Garrett

Key points


The workforce didn't start shrinking overnight, it was a gradual process that spanned decades and will continue if not curtailed

We are in desperate times and very few people recognize it. If you have a college degree and earn upwards of $50K every year, then chances are you won't be able to relate with how the workforce is suffering. Did you know that the average American doesn't have a college degree and makes an average of $15 per hour? Most of these people are either working in transportation, food service, as office clerks, or as part of retail staff.

Thousands of them have been laid off over the past two decades and the years that are coming will see more layoffs.

It's pretty much like what happened with the industrial revolution that so many people were displaced from their jobs. America saw some level of quick recovery because some workers were able to adapt, retrain and get hired again. But sadly, not every laid off worker was able to bounce back. Let's move away from workers and compare how jet age companies survive compared to earlier companies.

Research has shown that since the 1980s, when manufacturing industries embraced technology — which led to the displacement of many workers — there has been a steady decrease in the number of workers that companies in this industry hire. Matter of fact, it's no longer the manufacturing industry alone; all companies have now learned to minimize labor cost to make maximum profit.
The United States has suffered many depressions in the last 4 decades and each depression has left us with lesser jobs.
Take Airbnb and Hilton for example. Both companies are giant operators in the real estate sector, but one chose to use technology to find a way to make money while having the lowest possible number of workers. In 2016, Hilton had 169,000 employees, while Airbnb had just 3,100 in 2017. That's the reality of the world we now live in. Companies are cutting costs as much as they can by utilizing technology and hiring fewer human workers. This means two things: many workers have lost — and would continue losing — their jobs. It also means fewer opportunities for graduates of certain majors. In short, technology is shrinking the workforce. When you realize tech is here to stay, you will begin to see the weight of the matter.

What will happen in the future? Which jobs are safe? What industries should we run to for cover, or how else do we secure our future? All these and more will be answered in subsequent chapters.

We need work more than work needs us

The argument for work is almost always a philosophical one. When you ask people why they work, you will get responses ranging from survival to purpose. When we're young and ready to face life, we jump into the workforce first for the money. Very few young people admit to working because they love to. But as time goes on, we begin to desire greater things from the work we do. Things like comfort, freedom, satisfaction and a sense of purpose are all things we would eventually desire from the jobs we commit our lives to doing.
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Amazon and the retail industry is a good example of what automation can do to society


The technological revolution is not anything like what we've seen before


The family is the most hit institution in the job loss story


Government intervention would go a long way in creating a future where humans and technology peacefully cohabit



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