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Future, Inc.: How Businesses Can Anticipate and Profit from What's Next Hardcover – December 14, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“... Cleverly illustrates both how to incorporate future planning scenarios into business strategy development and the benefits of doing so.”

-Competitive Intelligence Magazine



“Beyond amusement, the value of this book is usefulness as a guide to evaluate trends that may evolve into opportunities.”

-Miami Herald



“Garland is imaginative but also a bit of a pragmatist in recognizing the usual forces that exert themselves upon human behavior, and this approach informs most of his work. Also, he's a good writer, so his prognostications are presented in a pleasantly entertaining manner. Beyond amusement, the value of this book is its usefulness as a guide to evaluate trends that may evolve into opportunities….Garland provides an interesting perspective from which to evaluate events and project their possible future outcomes.”

-Miami Herald

Book Description

Foreword by Joseph Coates

In the next 50 years, new technologies, shifting global economics, and many other factors will present innumerable changes for business and society to navigate. Starting now, leaders need to be more flexible, responsive, and decisive than ever before. Unfortunately, most people are not trained in the type of critical thinking required to anticipate what lies ahead. This groundbreaking book will change that.

Futuring is not a matter of tea leaves and crystal balls -- it is a rigorous science based on time-tested analytical methods. Future, Inc. translates the proven techniques of professional futurists into accessible language and shows how to:

* identify what is and what isn’t changing at a given time, and how even small changes will affect whole businesses

* use forecasting -- not ""predictions"" -- to pinpoint tomorrow’s realities by looking at today’s trends

* employ scenarios to test the validity of potential strategies

The author illustrates his advice with examples of companies whose foresight has given them an unparalleled advantage and identifies significant trends that will impact businesses in the future. Companies can’t afford to be caught unaware. In order to survive and succeed, they need to look ahead. <i>Future, Inc. </i> provides the tools to bring the future into focus.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM; English Language edition (December 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814408974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814408971
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,773,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author, speaker, futurist and intelligence expert. Managing partner, Competitive Futures, Inc. Bassist. Linguist. Bon vivant.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By redbrianza on May 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a newcomer to the field of information technology, I was hopeful that this book would provide insights on how to manage change from a technological viewpoint. Although the purpose of the book was not technology alone, the theme was intertwined throughout the book and explored in creative ways. The technology topics were not discussed in depth which left room to explore analysis techniques. These tools will be applicable even when current technologies are obsolete. Therefore, this book will be a reference for years to come.

The book is divided into two sections: Tools and Techniques and Drivers of the Future. In the first section, each chapter discusses one important stage of the futurism process. The second half devotes a chapter each to eight different broad categories of trends. Each chapter contains real world examples that demonstrate companies succeeding or failing at strategically planning for the future. The last page of each chapter contains a handy checklist of the important points from the chapter and a section explaining activities or implications of the topic. This provides a quick reference guide and easy access to information from the chapter.

The basic premise of the book is to introduce futurism and provide the tools necessary to develop scenarios of the future that may not be obvious to the analyst. The step by step process is easy to follow and uses graphics to illustrate key points. In fact, Garland stresses that graphical representations lead to the successful implementation of the futurist techniques. Wagner in "Partners for Progress" supports this when she explains how road maps help leaders focus on ways of conceptualizing the future. Garland uses many real business examples that illustrate his points in dramatic ways.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MTHB on January 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book provides an excellent breakdown of the analytical process that futurists use, allowing the common person to incorporate long-term thinking into every-day decisionmaking. Garland effectively uses examples from every-day life to provide some background on what futurism is, and why futurist thinking is important. He then proceeds to break down the process, set by step, to show the reader how he/she can adpat his/her thinking to make better decisions for the long-term.

I have to admit that I was skeptical at first that a guy calling himself a "futurist" could be taken seriously. Fortunately, I read it on a recommendation, and I'm more than willing to admit that I was wrong. What Garland is writing about could just as easily be called something more respectable, like "trend analysis." I've found, however, that futurism is a developed discipline, and I think I'm way too late to get them to change the name of their clubs, magazines, and the titles on their literature. Garland's book establishes that futurism is not a subset of business--it is a holistic way of thinking, which, in a fast past, increasingly integrated world, should permeate professional thinking. This may seem like a truism, but, as Garland points out with example after pitiful example, very smart people have failed to succeed on this point.

If you have a job where you have to make decisions or plan (I am a long-term planner for a large organization), you will find this book useful. I read it with a stack of post it notes, marking the concepts that I later used in the workplace, impressing co-workers. I haven't decided if I will tell them about Garland's book, or let them believe that I'm just a genius.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anthony J. Priest on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
After hearing the author speak on a panel about the future, I decided to buy his book. And what a fabulous book it is! Displaying in-depth knowledge, and conveying it in an entertaining and clear manner usually don't go together. That is what makes this book a great read.
If you like ideas, thinking about them, exploring them, etc., then you will love this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Berenice Ring on June 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book!
Very interesting and well written. Connects directly "future studies" with "strategic planning". Introduces the concept of System Thinking, analizes trends and go through scenario generation, all ilustrated by good cases.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. Tetsuka on January 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Highly recommended reading for anyone. It contains important ideas. I think about its relevance, particularly in light of the news [daily] about an upcoming Recession. While this may tend to put us in knee-jerk reaction-mode, thinking about what we have to do presently in reaction to the possible conditions of the next 12-18 months; it is actually now more than ever that we need a framework for thinking about what is on the 10-20 year horizon. If you could effectively do that [i.e., build the scenario for 10-20 years out, and alter your current plans accordingly], imagine how far ahead of your competition you would be -- in business and in life.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ira Koretsky on July 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was attending a social event and bumped into Eric Garland. His ideas of the future intrigued me enough to buy my own copy of Future Inc. After reading his book, I have come to learn that the study of the future is its own discipline. Studying the future can help organizations "profit from what's next." Truly, the future is something all of us should be thinking about more.

I travel the country speaking and consulting on topics that help organizations build stronger and more profitable relationships. Meeting thousands of individuals and hearing their stories, many folks are singly focused on the short-term gains. This focus makes them miss many important direct and indirect trends and forces. Garland suggests and I agree, that we should use a model to capture the trends and forces. He recommends using the STEEP model (society, technology, economics, ecology, and politics) along with scenarios. Scenarios portray various futures to help decision makers understand the direct and indirect trends and forces that shape their own organizational stories.

Page 27 sums this concept nicely, "When you think about a problem or anything else, no matter how complex, take it apart. If it's a product, find out where its supplies or components came from, who participated in its creation, and where it all began. If you can see all parts of the system, then you have a much better chance of seeing where the next change will come from."

I appreciate the thorough approach to the study of the future along with the practical tools you can use today. I especially enjoyed chapters 5 (Strategic Implications: What the Future Means to You), 6 (Scenario Generation: Drawing a Picture of the Future), and 7 (Communicating the Future--Even to the Skeptical).
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