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Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future Paperback – May 26, 1993

4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


""Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future" is a secret weapon. I'm buying a copy for each of my customers and suppliers . . . but none for my competitors!"-- Harvey Mackay, author of "Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive "and "Sharkproof""All about change and what it does for your business . . . Should have a prominent place on the desk of every business owner who intends to stay competitive.""--Entrepreneur""If you can figure out what changes are in store for the marketplace, you gain extradordinary leverage against your competition. How do you do it? Joel Barker advises.""-- Success""With Paradigms, Joel Barker continues his role as master teacher and advisor to society's leaders. His insight can help people prepare for the future in these turbulent times."-- Larry Osterwise, Vice Preident, U.S. Market-Driven Quality Assessment, IBM --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Joel Arthur Barker has been a teacher and advertising executive and has served as director of the Future Studies Department of the Science Museum of Minnesota. His corporate clients include IBM, Monsanto, AT&T, General Mills, U.S. Sprint, the Mayo Clinic, 3M, Motorola, and Digital Equipment Corporation.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (May 26, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887306470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887306471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Since it was first published, this book has become a "must read" for those who are struggling to understand what is happening and, more to the point, what will probably be happening in the global marketplace. Drucker has suggested that one of the greatest challenges for any organization is to manage the consequences and implications of a future which has already occurred. I agree. However, I also agree with Barker that it is possible to recognize what he calls a "paradigm shift": a major change of the rules and regulations that establish or define boundaries, a change which suggests that new behavior will be required within those redefined boundaries.
One of the most important concepts in the book is what Barker calls "paradigm pliancy": "the purposeful seeking out of new ways of doing things. It is an active behavior in which you challenge your paradigms [ie the status quo, assumptions and premises] by asking the Paradigm Shift Question: What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done, would fundamentally change my business?" Have you asked this question? Do you realize that one or more of your competitors may have already asked that question?
Although the book's subtitle is "The Business of Discovering the Future", the fact remains that (back to Drucker) the challenge is to identity and then measure the degree of probability of various contingencies...many of which may have already occurred or are now in process.
Barker asserts that every organization must anticipate and then innovate to achieve excellence in an age during which change is the only constant.
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Format: Paperback
Barker did a major service when he took Kuhn's work (about stalled thinking in science) and extended it into general social situations, across the disciplines. Think of this book as the popularized version of Kuhn. Without popularizers, most important concepts would never have achieved wide appreciation. Darwin is a prime example of someone whose name we might not know today except for popularizers.
If you have never heard of a paradigm, this book is a good introduction to the subject. Basically, a paradigm is a thought process that simplifies our thinking incorrectly. After we become familiar with the paradigm, we have to develop a new and better paradigm to deal with the issues that the paradigm does not sufficiently address.
The book focuses on how to anticipate changes in paradigms, who to look to for such new paradigms, and how to take advantage of this anticipation.
Of particular value is the section where Barker shares many examples of stalled thinking. These are brilliantly conceived, and make it easier for you to appreciate what a stall is.
My hat is off to Barker, and I am honored to have referenced his excellent contributions in The 2,000 Percent Solution.
If you are committed to overcoming stalled thinking to achieve exponential success, this book is a prerequisite.
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Format: Paperback
This is actually the paperback version of "Future Edge: Discovering the New Paradigms of Success," by the same author. In fact, both books are sort of brief updates of the author's earlier book, entitled "Discovering the Business of Paradigms," written in the mid-80s.

Drawing essentially from the pioneering work of Thomas Kuhn, who wrote the classic, The Theory of Scientific Revolutions, in the 70's, this author has very artfully expounded the concept of paradigm shifting in the world of business, in contrast to the world of science. From a strategic exploration viewpoint, this is an excellent guide book.

Understanding - and mastering - your paradigms is one important thing for making progress in life and in business, but I personaly feel that the real essence of this book is succinctly captured by the author in the five strategic exploration tools outlined in the book. The five tools are intended to help you to enhance your anticipation skills. They are the real gems of the book. [Bear in mind that the author is a process futurist, unlike most other futurists who write books & who are primarily content futurists. The five specific tools mentioned in the book are the exact process tools to aid & enhance your strategic exploration. Do not get carried away by the content part of the book pertaining to some perceived trends illustrated by the author.]

In addition, the author defines the concept of paradigm very well & also elaborates at length on its key characteristics & effects, with illuminating examples.

He highlights the importance of paradigm shift & anticipation.
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Format: Paperback
For years I wondered why it is often very difficult to convince even highly-intelligent of a new fact or idea, no matter how much evidence there may be supporting the new concept. Then I read this book and learned that even intelligent people often find it difficult to even hear or see evidence for anything which lies outside their current mindset -- or "paradigm." Even great scientists and astute business men time and again fail to see or hear compelling evidence for new concepts that lie outside their current paradigm -- and, thus, significant ideas and opportunities are lost to them. However, in the present time of rapid change, we simply cannot continue to be held back by our old paradigms. This book is essential reading for those who wish to be able to cope with the rapidly-changing present and future.
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