For people who have been wondering who really is the man behind Oxford University’s biggest ever single donor ($150 million since the founding of the Oxford Martin School in 2005), the answer looks to be found in a new book published this month by Tonto Books.
According to the book’s author Andrew Crofts, “The Change Agent: How To Create A Wonderful World”, is partly a conversation with a wise man and partly fable of James Martin: the story of a shy boy from a poor background who becomes one of the world’s foremost authorities on the social and commercial ramifications of computers, a Pulitzer Prize nominee (for his book “The Wired Society”), and an internationally renowned public speaker.
The book recounts a gripping conversation about James Martin’s global ideology and startling future predictions, warning of potential horrors with an overriding sense of urgency. Along the way, it describes how Martin has encountered people as varied as Bertrand Russell, David Bowie and Lee Kuan Yew, and how he has been called upon for advice by prime ministers and presidents, Cold War spies and business leaders.
It tells the story of James Martin’s ideas, which are the reason so many millions of people read his books and attend his lectures. And it gives insights into why Martin gave a the biggest single donation ever to the University of Oxford to inspire the foundation of a new School (the Oxford Martin School) that would be dedicated to developing the concepts, tools and technologies that will help make the future better. Martin believes we are entering a time of transition during which we could either destroy Homo sapiens - or at least relegate ourselves back to the Dark Ages - or we could use human ingenuity to develop and apply new technologies that will help create the most wonderful civilization that has ever existed. He believes that whatever happens, it is now a matter of urgency.
People already connected with the Oxford Martin School have known about James Martin’s extraordinary vision and generosity for many years. Now this new book provides the opportunity to spread his story and inspire others like him.