Events like the collapse of a major energy company or a devastating terrorist attack seem to come from nowhere. Not only are they shocking and disturbing, it often appears that their prevention would have been impossible. Not so, argues Peter Schwartz in this fascinating book. Many 'surprises', he says, soon acquire an aura of inevitability once ...
Events like the collapse of a major energy company or a devastating terrorist attack seem to come from nowhere. Not only are they shocking and disturbing, it often appears that their prevention would have been impossible. Not so, argues Peter Schwartz in this fascinating book. Many 'surprises', he says, soon acquire an aura of inevitability once the underlying patterns of behaviour are examined. And although we cannot do anything about the past, we can try to do something about the future. What, then, is the next big surprise? How might it play out? INEVITABLE SURPRISES covers high-level, universal trends -- from business to international affairs, from biotechnology to climate change -- but presents them in the context of the particular and concrete choices that different people must make. It distinguishes those forces beyond our control from the future that we can influence and help design -- for the world around us, for our organisations, and for ourselves.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-06-16 Schwartz uses the techniques of scenario planning he presented in The Art of the Long View (1991) to create a new version of what tomorrow's world might look like. Unsurprisingly, it's a mixed picture, where the "potential for progress is enormous, but the potential for disruption is equally great." The futurist and chairman of Global Business Network thinks the long-awaited population bomb will actually be an explosion of the elderly. He sees a "continuing, ongoing flood" of people migrating to better lives in the richer nations, the return of a decades-long economic boom he predicted in a previous book written before the bubble burst, the U.S.'s continued flirtation with unilateral action as the world's only superpower, and major scientific and technological breakthroughs. More ominously, Schwartz claims there will be "no plausible future in which terrorism has been permanently neutralized," no end to the chaos and religious wars among the have-not nations and dire results from the AIDS epidemic. On the plus side, "the biosphere is becoming healthier every year" and the energy we use will be cleaner and more efficient. On the minus, environmental crises and as-yet-unknown diseases are coming. To top it off, there's the eventual collision with a killer asteroid. How accurate are these predictions? "All of them are inevitable," declares Schwartz. He admits, however, that the effects of these major events, especially as they interact and influence each other, are largely unknowable. So ready or not, the future will bring a "world of maximum surprise." Schwartz's predictions are interesting in a speculative way, but, naturally, have limited practical utility. Agent, John Brockman. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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