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Bill Joy’s Joy of Bills

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I just got inside word that Sun Microsystem’s Bill Joy, everyone’s favorite prognosticator of peril is going to be publishing a book on the dangers of the future. Discussion of his Wired magazine piece, “Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us” received more words in print later on than the story itself. And now Joy will profit tremendously from this fear-mongering.

Author and finanical fable-teller Michael Lewis has got this process down:
Step 1: Write an excerpt of a book-to-be. Float it in NYT Magazine.
Step 2: Wait for feedback.
Step 3: Tweak the contents. Get hefty advance. Publish.


Controversy sells. And it sells best at a time like now when there is a current zeitgeist of heightened paranoia, fear, uncertainty and doubt about…well, everything.

Martin Rees scared the wits out of some with 50/50 odds of us surviving in his recent overly-long and colon-titled book “Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future In This Century–On Earth and Beyond”

It’s been a few years since a flood of Nostradamus millenium-bug bit folks. But when Joy’s book drops it’ll be a best seller…assuming the market for these fear-mongering scenarios isn’t already saturated.

And more so, if not for certain widespread media coverage, then for basic behavioral psychology principles: People would much rather take risk to avert loss then to capture gain. And inspiring fear of uncertainty–of what nightmares may come and how to protect yourself from them–is a great purchase motivator to avoid such loss. After all–in the most reductionist sense–it is the yin-yang duality of greed and fear that govern markets and human behavior. Today, fear has the scales tipped in its favor.

(Josh Wolfe, NYC)

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