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X-EVENTS: The Collapse of Everything by John L. Casti

X-EVENTS: The Collapse of Everything by John L. Casti

We live in a world more complex and larger in scale than our forbearers could have ever imagined. Our technology-dependent society has become a dizzying, interconnected web as unstable as a house of cards…

All it may take to send civilization crashing back to a preindustrial level is a nudge from what theorists like John L. Casti call an “X-Event” (short for “extreme event”), a rare and surprising event that yields extreme consequences. When the X-Event hits, finance, communication, and travel will halt. The flow of food, electricity, medicine, and clean water will cease. What will you do?

In X-EVENTS: The Collapse of Everything (William Morrow; June 12, 2012), renowned complexity scientist, John L. Casti, shows how our world has become impossibly intricate. Technology is advancing at an exponential rate and so too is our reliance on that technology in every aspect of our lives. Yet it is a rule of both mathematics and human nature that higher and higher levels of complexity make a system correspondingly more fragile and vulnerable to sudden, spectacular collapse.

Fascinating and chilling, X-EVENTS is a provocative tour of the catastrophic outlier scenarios that could send us back to the horse-and-buggy era in a flash: global financial “black swans”; the world-wide crash of the internet; the end of oil; nuclear winter; “nano-plagues”; robot uprisings; electromagnetic-pulse bombs; pandemic viruses; and many more.

X-EVENTS is a provocative and terrifying wake-up call to all of us who think our complex society can continue growing without consequence. It’s no wonder the book was one of the hottest books at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, selling at auction in Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, Portugal, Brazil, and more.


About the Author

JOHN L. CASTI, Ph.D., is Co-founder of The X-Center, a Vienna-based research institute focusing on human-caused extreme events and how to anticipate them. Previously, he was a Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, where he headed an initiative for the study of Extreme Events in Human Society. He worked for many years at the Santa Fe Institute and the RAND Corporation, as well as serving on the faculties of Princeton, the University of Arizona, and New York University. Formerly editor of the journal Complexity, Casti received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Southern California. He lives in Vienna, Austria.  Read More




“I am an assiduous reader of John Casti’s books. He is a real scientific intellectual.”
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan

“Casti provides thought-provoking speculation on the future of civilization.”

—Kirkus Reviews

About the Book

 X-EVENTS: The Collapse of Everything

By John L. Casti

William Morrow Hardcover
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Price: $26.99; 336 Pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062088284
E-book ISBN: 9780062088307