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Futuring: The Exploration of the Future 1st Edition

25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0930242619
ISBN-10: 0930242610
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Editorial Reviews


An engrossing and important book...Read it. It could change your future. -- The Futurist

An exciting book, that most agreeably combines readability and practicality with the best American scientific tradition. -- Pro Zukunft (Austria)

An ideal text for students and any friend you want to interest in futuring. -- Future Times (New Zealand)

Cornish...makes a forceful case for future-oriented thinking or 'futuring' in this interesting book. -- Huntsville Times, August 15, 2004

For clear scenarios of what may come, you need to call on Edward Cornish. -- Ode Magazine, September 2004

This clearly written book ... can expand the outlook, as well as encourage a proactive interest in the future. Highly recommended. -- Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October 2004 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Edward Cornish is president of the World Future Society and editor of its magazine THE FUTURIST.

With support from comprehensive designer Buckminster Fuller, Nobel prizewinning chemist Glenn T. Seaborg, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman and many others, he organized a small group to develop plans for a World Future Society, which was officially born in October 1966 as an organization for people interested in the future. The Society now has some 25,000 members in 80 countries.

As a futurist, he has served as an adviser for four U.S. presidents, co-authored a report by the White House's National Goals Research Staff, and served as Chief Investigator in study of futuring for the National Science Foundation and the Library of Congress. He also wrote a textbook on futuring, The Study of the Future, that was widely used in colleges and universities. He resides in Bethesda, Maryland. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 313 pages
  • Publisher: World Future Society; 1 edition (October 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930242610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930242619
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By James A. Vedda on December 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you're new to the study of the future and want to find out why it's important, what methodologies it uses, and how it's applied in the real world, this book is an excellent place to start, and it includes an extensive bibliography for further study. If you've already done a lot of reading on futurism, much of this will be familiar, but it will still provide good background and historical perspective.
The early part of the book, particularly chapters 2 and 3, is reminiscent of the writings of Alvin & Heidi Toffler, discussing the history of technological revolutions and outlining six "supertrends" that will shape the future. The book takes on its own unique trajectory starting in chapter 4, which addresses trends, cycles, patterns, and the tension between stability and change. Methodologies are outlined in chapters 6 through 8, including expert polling (such as the Delphi process), gaming, modeling & simulation, "visioning," scenarios, and their variants. I was hoping for a bit more depth in this part of the book, but at least it gives a first look at the nuts-and-bolts of futuring. Other sources are available to supplement this.
I found chapters 11 through 14 to be an interesting trip through the futurist movement of the past century, highlighting key individuals, organizations, and their effect on societies in different parts of the world. Chapters 15 and 16 end the book on a more philosophical note, arguing that our duty to coming generations requires us to actively cultivate our futuring skills.
The most important points that I came away with:
1) It's a mistake to simply resign oneself to whatever comes and view futurism as little more than science fiction. To do so is to forego the opportunity to shape the future.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Arthur P. Smith on September 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Time's arrow points ever forward, the past irrevocably gone, the future only a guess. We temporal beings spend many of our present moments in thought about the future - predicting, planning, worrying. But few plans survive contact with reality. Is time spent thinking about the future time wasted? Should we just live for the present and let the future take care of itself?

Edward Cornish of the World Future Society makes a forceful case for future-oriented thinking, or "futuring", in this interesting book. More than predicting the future, his argument is that by thinking about it and planning for it, we gain power to change the future and make our dreams real.

The book covers a broad swath: prediction techniques and idea mapping, classification of trends and 'supertrends', the recent increase in the rate of change, and people's desires for stability. Cornish suggests areas where the techniques of the book may be helpful in the personal realm, as well as on the large scale. Perhaps the most inspiring chapter is historical - a discussion of the significant changes of the 20th century.

The past 100 years saw vastly more technological progress than any before. But the supreme optimism and belief in progress at the beginning of the century was transformed through wars, nuclear terror, and environmental degradation into strong doubts about progress, and the prevalence of much more pessimistic views about the future. Cornish makes a strong case that success, both individually and as a society, depends on having a positive vision of the future and striving to make it happen.

The book does not try to make its own predictions, rather showing how they are made and can be used.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS on May 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Thinking ahead is the great need of our times as the rapid pace of technological and social change affects work, home, education, health, amusements, environment and even religion. Futuring helps to understand trends, identify opportunities, and avoid dangers; it is a powerful way for individuals and organizations to create a better future. We cannot predict the future in detail but long-term shifts in population, land use, technology and governmental systems provide vital clues. We can all benefit by doing what futurists do, namely:
- preparing for what we will face in the future
- anticipating our possible future needs, problems and opportunities
- identifying possible situations that might be encountered
- expecting the unexpected
- thinking long-term as well as short-term
- dreaming productively
- using even poor information if that is all that is available
- learning from our successful predecessors
Futurists have identified many trends but for simplicity Cornish limits discussion to six super trends shaping our future:
- technological progress
- economic growth
- improving health and longevity
- increasing mobility
- environmental decline
- increasing deculturation
Assuming no big surprises these super trends allow us to create a picture of what the world might look like under a 'continuation scenario'. This picture of the future is not a forecast but a way of thinking how we might prevent certain things happening and how we might create a better future.
We tend to feel powerless and that we have little control over our future.
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