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Future Savvy: Identifying Trends to Make Better Decisions, Manage Uncertainty, and Profit from Change Hardcover – September 24, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (September 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814409121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814409121
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Future Savvy…will help you become a better consumer of forecasts, from economists, governments, think tanks and, yes, even journalists." The Globe & Mail (Toronto)



"a book that will make fascinating reading for anyone involved in forecasting" --Foresight Magazine



“If you care at all about preparing for the future, read this book.” -- Online Magazine



"Given recent developments in the US economy and their implications and probable impact insofar as the global economy is concerned, the publication of this book is indeed timely." -- Dallas Business Commentary Examiner



"...a guide for prognosticators and scenario planners, a set of warnings against such common errors as overreliance on numbers, overlooking your own bias, and ignoring the oscillations of history…” -- Strategy+Business



"… offers a great deal of common sense that often gets left behind in analytics and forecasting…” -- Inland Empire Business Journal



"...Gordon's book will be a useful primer and refresher on the art of proper forecasting and on detecting the artifice and subtlety of persuasion via anticipatory declaration." --Research Technology Management

Book Description

In order to succeed in their industries, decision-makers today need to anticipate the future outcomes not only in their own industry but also in society and technology as well. The better their view of the future, the better their decisions--and the bigger their profits–will be. Future Savvy is a hands-on, how-to book on evaluating the business, social, and technology forecasts that appear in everyday communications such as newspapers and business magazines, as well as in specialized sources like government and think-tank forecasts, consultant reports, and stock-market guides. Futures analyst Adam Gordon has spent his career deciphering changes and trends in a variety of industries. Now, he shows business leaders how to gain a clearer view of the future, as well as:

• Recognize potential trends and outcomes more effectively

• Discount poor and biased forecasts more confidently

• Anticipate relevant opportunities and potential threats earlier


More About the Author

Over 15 years I have been an analyst, consultant, planner, facilitator, and educator in the field of strategic and industry foresight. I integrate foresight tools with classic management to create real-world industry/policy foresight; and work with leaders to implement future-wise solutions.

My new book, "Future Savvy," is published by Amacom Press, New York. I blog at http://www.futuresavvy.net

Future Savvy provides a critical guide to evaluating what forecasters and industry experts say about the future ' what they predict ' giving the reader the tools to judge the merits of predictions. There's no shortage of predictions out there. Apparently helpful forecasts are ubiquitous in everyday communications such as newspapers and business magazines, and in specialized sources such as government and think-tank forecasts, consultant reports, and stock-market guides. These resources are important for navigating change, but they are also of very mixed quality. How does one know which predictions to take seriously, which to be wary of, and which to throw out entirely? Which ones do you let guide your decisions? That's what Future Savvy is about. It views the predictive discourse as an important resource, but it puts sharper tools in the hands of forecast readers and users.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Yes, you could find a more technical book on forecasting methods.
J. Gary
And so the book takes us on to more optimistic proposals for forecasting with a chapter cheekily entitled, "How it's better to be vaguely right than exactly wrong."
Zukunftsinstitut Horx Gmbh
Scenario planning is a process that can help forecast users deal with uncertainty and macro-environment forces that can't be forecast but can have enormous impact.
G. Lettre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Gary on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
You will not find a better book than Future Savvy on how to cultivate a forecasting mindset. I teach futuring workshops for mid-career professionals. I have just adopted Future Savvy as a textbook for my graduate students. Why? Future Savvy is accessible. It contains a wealth of managerial wisdom about bias traps, perceptive frameworks, change drivers and change blockers. You may know your industry, but Future Savvy will help you think beyond the limits of trend extrapolation to analyze your changing macro context. It will teach you how to define a cone of uncertainty for your division or product line, and weigh the likelihood of alternatives disrupting your business. Finally, you will take away questions to ask any business or government forecast, to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Yes, you could find a more technical book on forecasting methods. You could get a more detailed book on short-term operational business forecasting. You could even buy a more entertaining book on erroneous predictions. But you will not find a better book to under gird both sense making and decision making in an organizational context. Unlike a lot of futurist fluff out there, this book delivers on its promise.
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Format: Hardcover
'Future Savvy; Identifying Trends to Make Better Decisions, Manage Uncertainty, & Profit from Change', by Adam Gordon;

While reviewing this book, my curious mind somehow retrogresses to the early eighties, which had given me my first exciting encounter with strategic management, more specifically, the domain of planning & forecasting.

I was then involved in corporate planning & research of a Malaysian conglomerate based in Singapore.

I recall my first introductory book, among a few others (including George Steiner's 'Strategic Planning'), to help me understand & appreciate the basics of horizontal scanning, was actually Francis Aguilar's 'Scanning the Business Environment'. It was in fact my excellent field guide for many years.

Since then, I had become very fascinated by the subject of planning & forecasting, venturing into new ancillary fields like futurology or future studies, trend tracking, even after I had left the corporate world in the early nineties.

I had even joined the World Future Society & other learned institutions to gain more access to available resources.

From that subsequent period onward, all the way right up to even today, as part of my own strategy consulting as well as personal development, I began to develop a deep interest in state-of-the-art stuff like anticipatory management & developing strategic foresight.

Over the ensuing years, I have amassed, read & digested a whole gamut of good books as well as interesting articles, including watching webcasts & listening to podcasts.
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Format: Hardcover
Adam Gordon explains how to "identify trends to make better decisions, manage uncertainty, and profit from change." To the extent possible, he presents the material in layman's terms so that it is accessible to those who have only recently begun a career in business as well as to C-level executives. It will hardly be an "easy read" for the former, to be sure, but he patiently explains the fundamentals (including nomenclature) of forecasting. The audience he has in mind includes decision makers in commercial, policy, and nonprofit sectors but also "ordinary people" in daily life; in fact, he hopes that his book will help almost everyone "to make better judgments about predictions they read and hear, so they can appropriately plan for an profit from the future." Given recent developments in the US economy and their implications and probable impact insofar as the global economy is concerned, the publication of this book is indeed timely.

As Gordon explains, he follows a middle course "between an uncritical reliance on prediction and overcynical dismissal of it" as he examines subjects that include the broad categories of forecasts, evaluation of the forecast information and data, forces "that drive and block change...and how forecasts deal with them," the role of value (or "utility") when determining the direction of and timing of future outcomes, potential problems with trend-based forecasting, issues related to complexity (e.g. the interconnectedness of all elements of the world, how the change of one can affect all others), themes that illuminate the uses and limitations of quantitative forecasting, and approaches to forecasting based on development of alternative futures and scenarios.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter von Stackelberg on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are a lot of books about trends and forecasts -- and increasingly, TV programs that look at the future. Some are excellent and some not so good.

Future Savvy provides a guide on how to assess trends and forecasts and sort out the useful from the hype or the down-right false. Adam Gordon does a fine job of discussing the subtleties of working with trends and forecasts. The writing is clear and concise; it is simple without being simplistic.

It is a "must-read" book for anyone with a personal or professional interest in foresight.
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