The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly [Summary]

This is a comprehensive summary of the book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future Kevin Kelly. Covering the key ideas and proposing practical ways for achieving what’s mentioned in the text. Written by book fanatic and online librarian Ivaylo Durmonski. Supporting Members get full access and downloadable worksheets.

The Book In Three Or More Sentences:

We’re not totally doomed and robots won’t replace us – at least not in everything we do. In his book, The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly gives us a glimpse in the possible future. He showcases twelve technological forces he believes will shape our future. And though robots might not enslave us, massive tracking and total surveillance are here to stay.

The Core Idea:

The author is presenting different scenarios of how the future might unfold, preparing us for what’s next. And what’s next probably looks like this: Imagine zillion streams of information interacting with each other, communicating, pulsating. A new type of computer, tracking and recording everything we do. The future will be less about owning stuff and more about being part of flowing information that will supposedly make our lives easier.


  • We’ll soon own less stuff. More and more products are becoming services.
  • We, the people, are the fuel that powers the internet. It’s up to us to decide where we should head towards.
  • There are twelve forces that are molding our future. Understanding them will give you a competitive advantage.

6 Key Lessons from The Inevitable:

Lesson #1: Products Are Becoming Services

Kevin Kelly basically reinforces what Tien Tzuo says in his book Subscribed. He’s talking about the fact that all major companies are shifting their strategy from selling to serving – building relationships with their clients.

People will rarely purchase cars in the future – the actual vehicle – they’ll simply use transportation services, like Uber or Lyft.

If you’re planning to start a company of some sort, don’t aim to sell goods. Your main focus should be to build a strong bridge between you and your desired customer. To create a process of some sort that will offer ongoing benefits. In the new era, smart processes (imagine Uber and Spotify) will outwit single products.

“We are moving away from the world of fixed nouns and toward a world of fluid verbs. In the next 30 years we will continue to take solid things—an automobile, a shoe—and turn them into intangible verbs.” Kevin Kelly

Lesson #2: Everything in The World Requires Maintenance

You just purchased a new laptop? Don’t get too attached to it. You’ll most probably replace it after a year or two. The same applies to everything else in the world.

The reason we constantly upgrade our gear is twofold: First, because we want to look cool in the eyes of others – that’s the psychological reason. Second, because stuff break and get outdated really, really fast. Especially nowadays.

But this applies to everything around, not just stuff, but people too. It’s strange to say it, but your relationship with others also requires maintenance.

You need to keep in touch with your friends – including your spouse – if you want to have a strong relationship with them and still have someone to call when your car breaks.

What about your business? Same.

Understanding this life concept will help you in many ways. Not only businesswise, but also in terms of keeping your marriage intact.

“Long ago I learned that even the most inanimate things we know of—stone, iron columns, copper pipes, gravel roads, a piece of paper—won’t last very long without attention and fixing and the loan of additional order. Existence, it seems, is chiefly maintenance.” Kevin Kelly

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