My next book: Radical Abundance, 2013

by Eric Drexler on 2011/07/21

Word cloud for Radical Abundance

I’m now working on a new book, Radical Abundance, scheduled for publication in 2013 by PublicAffairs. The book has a wide scope in both its content and intended audience, addressing scientists, a general reading audience, and thought leaders in the policy arena.

Radical Abundance will integrate and extend several themes that I’ve touched on in Metamodern, but will go much further. The topics include:

  • The nature of science and engineering, and the prospects for a deep transformation in the material basis of civilization.
  • Why all of this is surprisingly understandable.
  • A personal narrative of the emergence of the molecular nanotechnology concept and the turbulent history of progress and politics that followed
  • The quiet rise of macromolecular nanotechnologies, their power, and the rapidly advancing state of the art
  • Incremental paths toward advanced nanotechnologies, the inherent accelerators, and the institutional challenges
  • The technologies of radical abundance, what they are, and what they will enable
  • Disruptive solutions for problems of economic development, energy, resource depletion, and the environment
  • Potential pitfalls in competitive national strategies; shared interests in risk reduction and cooperative transition management
  • Steps toward changing the conversation about the future

These topics interweave to make what will, I think, be a compelling story for readers with diverse interests, backgrounds, and concerns.

Update: As I mention in the comments, I’ll be posting the news on the blog when pre-orders are available, and inviting participation in pre-launch activities.

Publishers interested non-English-language rights please direct queries to Rosa at GeographicEngine dot com.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex July 22, 2011 at 1:42 am UTC

Good to see you blogging again, will definitely be looking forward to your new work! Is it the first time you’ve published since Nanosystems & Engine of Creation?

Yes, this will be my first full book since Nanosystems, and a lot has happened since then.

— Eric

Sam Ghandchi July 22, 2011 at 6:55 am UTC
Jason Hartgrave July 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm UTC

This is very exciting news. When would you start scheduling interviews? My big request is that you make an audiobook version, and Kindle to get the widest possible reach at launch. Also, book/novel marketing has radically changed in the past 3 years by introducing ideas and tactics borrowed from Internet marketing by pioneers like Timothy Ferriss who wrote “The 4 Hour Body .”

Hi Jason — I’ll start doing interviews sometime next year. You’re right about the evolution of marketing, and getting current with it will be part of the job. I’ll be inviting participation here in the months to come. Stay tuned!

— Eric

Fred Stitt July 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm UTC

This is great news, Eric. You’ve already made history
and this will add another dimension to it all.
Congratulations on this and all that you’ve accomplished!

Hi Fred — thanks, and great to hear from you! — Eric

Ted Howard July 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm UTC

Hi Eric
Good to see we’re thinking along similar lines.
Have you considered the economic disincentives to radical abundance?
You can see some of my thoughts on the topic on

The foresight conference was great this year – really enjoyed it – your name seemed to come up in about every 3rd conversation!

Hi Ted — The last section of the book will examine fundamental economic driving forces and some of the natural first-order opportunities and challenges that follow. I think it will speak to many of the questions that you have in mind, but it’s aimed more at starting a conversation than at providing answers.

— Eric

Jonathan Vos Post July 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm UTC

As an insider, co-author with Nanotechnology’s great-grandfather, who wrote the world’s first PhD dissertation on nanotechnology by 1977, and as someone who helped K. Eric Drexler become well-known, and publicized in Analog and Omni, I’m quite interested in “A personal narrative of the emergence of the molecular nanotechnology concept and the turbulent history of progress and politics that followed.”

Jonathan Vos Post July 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm UTC

I was delighted to introduce K. Eric Drexler face-to-face with Analog’s Dr. Stanley Schmidt, who had a PhD in Physics, and correctly reasoned that Analog readers would want to know about Drexler’s vision. Likewise, I got Omni magazine, which had several million readers in North America and Europe, and for which I’d been writing cover articles, to profile Drexler and Nanotechnology. And I kept in touch with Marvin Minsky, who finally convinced MIT to give Drexler the PhD he’d abundantly earned.

O'Brien July 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm UTC

Eric, will you address big environmental issues like climate change in the new book?

Yes, part of what I mean by “Radical Abundance” is deep change in the environmental impact of large-scale production, with deep reductions in resource demand and emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. I’ll describe how a radical reduction in the cost of solar photovoltaic arrays and thermodynamically efficient CO2 removal systems enables the rapid reduction of greenhouse gases to pre-industrial levels.

The required thermodynamic work of compression is ~1021 Joules, or 3 TW-decades. This is huge by present standards, but affordable with radical reductions in the cost of production.

— Eric

J. Scott Shipman July 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm UTC

Hi Eric,
Congratulations! Based on the preview, I look forward to reading it!
Cordially, Scott

Al Nejati July 24, 2011 at 10:32 am UTC

This is exciting news. Is there any way to pre-order?

Thanks — I’ll be posting the news on the blog when pre-orders are available.

— Eric

William L. Dye ("willdye") July 27, 2011 at 6:05 am UTC

I’m very much looking forward to the book. Are there any plans to add interactive and/or multimedia features to the electronic versions? Development cost is an issue, of course, but it seems appropriate that a book about future technology would make good use of present-day emerging technologies.

Hi William — I agree, but plans for electronic versions are in a very preliminary stage at present.

John Michael Espinosa-Duran July 29, 2011 at 7:52 am UTC

Eric, it is great to see you again active in the field, I would like to invite you to give a conference in Colombia, the third week of September 2011, Are you available?

Hi John — Thanks for the invitation, but I will be out of the country then. Please check your email for more, though.
— Eric

James Eastwood July 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm UTC

re: Ted Howard on “economic disincentives to radical abundance:”
Neal Stephenson captured the ideas of abundance and the limits of economic systems in his novel The Diamond Age Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer in which a hierarchical, economic application of molecular manufacturing leads to a society with no material needs, but plenty of inequality and unrest. Toward the end of the novel, he introduces a revolutionary paradigm called “The Seed” in which molecular manufacturing technologies are made viral and self-replicating (though not in the runaway “grey goo” sense so often described by cheap novelists) so they can truly usher in abundance. Though he offers no technical explanation of “The Seed,” that radical, anti-economic mindset has become the driving ideology behind my aspirations in this field. I look forward to Eric’s new book!

Jaya Gibson July 31, 2011 at 10:43 pm UTC

Hi Eric,

I’m the Technology editor at Before It’s News. Our site is a ‘people powered’ news platform with over 2,000,000 visits a month and growing fast.

We would be honored if we could republish your blog RSS feed in our Technology category. Our readers need to read what your blog has to say.

Syndicating to Before It’s News is a terrific way spread the word and grow your audience. Many other organizations are using Before It’s News to do just that. We can have your feed up and running in 24 hours. I just need you to reply with your permission to do so. Please include the full name and email of the person who will be assigned to the account, and let me know the name you want on the account (most people have their name or their blog name).

You can also have any text and/or links you wish added to the end or to the beginning of each of your posts on Before It’s News. Just email me the text and links that you want at the beginning and/or ending of each post. If you know html you can send me that. If not, just send me the text and a link to your site. It should be around 200 characters or less (not including links).

You can, if you like, create a custom feed for Before It’s News that includes multiple links back to your blog or web site. We only require that RSS feeds include full stories, not partial stories. We don’t censor or edit work.

Thank you


Jaya Gibson
Editor, Before It’s News

amanfromMars August 30, 2011 at 8:05 am UTC

“Yes, this will be my first full book since Nanosystems, and a lot has happened since then.” … Eric, in reply to Alex, July 22, 2011 at 1:42 am UTC

Indeed there has been, Eric, and a lot more than is ever going to be freely admitted and officially revealed, lest it causes a chaotic rout with crashing global financial markets and ignorant blind panic and a very specifically targeted and anonymous revolution against perceived deserving ruling heads of everyone’s misfortune, and against which there is no available defense or attack facility.

Much better than such is an orderly affair, so that incredible increased value is delivered to that which would be in virtual remote control of events to be staged … or not, ….. for of course there always such choice available to make it so valuable.

Patrick October 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm UTC

Hello Dr. Drexler,

Dear Dr. Drexler,
My name is Patrick Tucker and I am the deputy editor of THE FUTURIST magazine and a freelance writer. Might you be willing to address a couple of questions about your upcoming book?

1. How will the next ten to twenty years of nanotechnology and materials science change the way we make things?

2. How might nanotech destablize industries and national economies in the next ten years?

3. How might American entrepreuners use those trends to create the businesses of the twenty-first century? Can nanofabrication turn garage inventors into “little Chinas” as some have suggested?

4. What are the most cutting-edge examples of nanotechnology, and particularly nanofabrication, that you’ve seen recently?

Thanks much for your consideration.

Luis Roa October 23, 2011 at 8:31 am UTC

Dr. Drexler,

congratulations! I am looking forward to reading your new book.

Tor Barstad October 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm UTC

Dr. Drexler, I´m convinced that your contributions to humanity will prove to be of an importance to humanity that is orders of magnitude of orders of magnitude beyond what we are able to fathom today. Keep on fighting!

If you ever have work that can be done by someone who isn´t an expert and that can be done remotely over the internet – either in your work, or in your personal life (freeing up more time to work on nanotechnology) – send me an e-mail, and I´ll see what I can do. My e-mail is tor.barstad (at)

Maxwell Rebo November 10, 2011 at 9:28 pm UTC

Looking forward to the new book. I hope your work continues to flourish.

Hannah Fontana February 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm UTC

Are we still on schedule for the Singularity in 2020? I want to be sure I get that week off.

There’s a schedule? Cool!

Kelly Balthrop March 15, 2012 at 10:43 pm UTC


I can’t wait to read your book. Are you going to discuss any of the socio-economic impacts that these changes will bring; the nature of work, technological unemployment, wealth disparity, etc.

Matthew Bailey September 7, 2012 at 5:18 am UTC

I hope that this new book doesn’t become yet another rallying cry for the radical libertarians, who seem to love to point to Drexler’s work for why we don’t need to worry about addressing inequality now.

Ultima Ratio January 9, 2013 at 1:38 am UTC

“Matthew Bailey September 7, 2012 at 5:18 am UTC
I hope that this new book doesn’t become yet another rallying cry for the radical libertarians, who seem to love to point to Drexler’s work for why we don’t need to worry about addressing inequality now.”

Why would you let the comments of radical libertarians prevent you from doing what you thing is right?

Augustin Jodogne January 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm UTC

Greetings Eric,
Me and my friend were working on a Highschool documentary required for our Baccalaureate (french system) when I stumbled upon your blog. I have been amazed by your knowledge and work around Nanotechnologies. I enjoy reading your articles on your blog. Our work was supposed to be centered around the development of nanotechnologies in Medics, but the physics are getting more and more appellant to us, also I have always wanted to start medical studies in a few years, but physics has always been my predilection class… Anyway i wish you a good continuation in your work.
You truly are legendary
ps: I will shortly acquire Nanosystems and Engine of creation

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