Most helpful positive review
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Review for Art of the Long View
on February 12, 2000
The Art of the Long View By Peter Schwartz Peter Schwartz challenges uncertainty by using scenario planning as the tool to predict and prepare for the future. Schwartz suggest that to act with confidence, "[o]ne must be willing to look ahead and consider uncertainties". In his book, Schwartz presents many "rules" to creating scenarios such as: "seeking out truly unusual people...who could see significant but surprising forces for change". Another rule is to view the future with at least three different mindset: as an optimist, pessimist and transitionist. Schwartz also advises the future scenario planners to have a good focus yet practice using peripheral vision (called fringes) to guide direction. What people don't see directly, such as activities happening in another country for example, may interrupt economy, social factors and so on. As an example, Schwartz mentioned the problem of third countries' rise of youth. With the rise of teenage population and little job opportunities in their own country, millions of foreign youth may migrate to countries like U.S. When this happens the stability of U.S. in terms of population, social welfare and minority issues will be affected. In turn these social factors may affect the economic factors. Thus, the readers of this book will learn that awareness will become a strong asset to being a great scenario planner. The advice and guides Schwartz provides are logical and simplistic. Human beings are used to some degree of future planning and Schwartz acknowledges this as he labels people as "scenario-building animal." With the acknowledgment of this innate capability people have for scenario planning Schwartz tries to focus on fine-tuning that innate skill to help people and business plan for their future. By planning for the future one can stabilize uncertainty both emotionally and financially. Schwart's background of having worked at SRI (Standford Research Institute), Shell and Smith & Hawken made the advice of the author more legitimate and provided examples of how scenario building can become a profession to consider. Scenario writing is truly an art that requires open-minded, creative and resourceful thinking. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. Schwartz understands that though we have no control over uneventful factors that may disrupt our future, we can have the power to prevent disasters from sneaking up on us. By preparing our minds to possibilities, both good and bad, people can learn to adapt to the future. I especially liked the optimistic view of Mr. Schwartz. I ended the book with enlightenment and happy thoughts of my own future.