There has been a trend of late of publishing multi-disciplinary books with an ambition of rediscovering history, economics, sociology, whatever, or even of creating a new science, which have met commercial success. In particular, it seems that as soon as you talk about "evolution" you double the sales of your book. "The evolution of wealth" and "Guns, Germs and Steel", both excellent books, come to mind. This book seems to be surfing that wave and explicitly aims at being the next Jared Diamond (says the publisher). Unofrtunately it doesn't quite get there.
It's difficult to find a thesis in this book. It claims to be a scientific model of history but it's mostly descriptive verbiage. Most of it is pedestrian historical narrative (which admittedly could be interesting to someone who knows little about world history), with a few analytical points (sometimes just summarizing someone else's book) thrown in from time to time. The part exposing the author's belief in free will is particularly naive and reads like an undergraduate philosophy dissertation. I suppose that the author's main thesis is the fact that empires tend to be built from areas located on meta-ethnic frontiers - which makes sense, if only because that's where the good armies are, but promoting it to a Universal Law of History is excessively pompous. Likewise, the asabiya concept, while not totally useless, is purely descriptive ex-post. Besides, the expression of those ideas is vague and lacks rigour.
There are some interesting points. The best chapter in my view is the one on the 14th Century (largely inspired by Barbara Tuchman's Distant Mirror), explaining how Europe resolved its overpopulation problem by murderous warfare, and its inequality problem ("top-heavy" society) by the elimination of the elites either through the legal assassination of the richest nobles (England) or by purging the nobility in military defeats (France). The parallel with the end of the Roman senatorial class at the beginning of the Principate is interesting and makes me think the of the way Mr. Putin has been recovering the People's economic assets from the Oligarchs in Russia. The observation that inequalities have been increasing in the US since the 1960s could perhaps help us determine the time of the next revolution...The part on social capital in chapter 13, essentially a summary of various theories on the subject (Putnam), is very interesting as well.
Finally, contrary to what seems implied by the publisher, the book makes no use of quantitative models. The author only briefly mentions a simplistic wealth distribution model with inheritance in a population which has little in common with the main discourse.