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The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World in the Next 20 Years Paperback – August 28, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Canton's background in future-planning consultancy began when he studied under Alvin Toffler in the 1970s—and it shows in this big-picture take on the world of tomorrow. Taken individually, none of the trends Canton believes will shape the upcoming decades are surprising: major crises brought on by energy shortages and climate change; economic transformation wrought by globalization; and the "war on terror" has barely started. But he recognizes that the future is created by a "convergence" in which these developments interact. Canton's imagination runs in a dozen directions at once, peppering the margins of his vision with media headlines and short vignettes from a science-fictional future. Some of these are more believable than others—hydrogen-based energy systems by 2040, sure, but drugs that will keep us from even thinking antigovernment thoughts? Canton's goal, however, isn't predicting, it's convincing Americans to take a more active role in envisioning and safeguarding the 21st century before somebody else does. His lively scenarios are designed to spark debates, and they surely will. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Canton, global futurist and business advisor, offers a forecasting road map for the twenty-first century that includes 10 top trends of the extreme future. These trends are the critical role of energy; information technology and networks; biotechnology; the manipulation of matter at the atomic scale (producing new drugs, fuels, materials, and machines); and the use of devices, drugs, and materials to heal and enhance mental performance. Other trends are the emerging workforce, which will be more multicultural, female, and Hispanic; longer and healthier lives; the critical importance of science; major threats, including hackers, terrorists, and mind control; and the new realities of global trade and competition. Finally, he cites preparation for increased global warming, the struggle for human rights and individual freedom, and the consequences of future interaction between America and China. Canton is optimistic about the future and believes Americans in general are, too. He observes, "They inspire change and innovation, creating a vision that suggests what is coming next will be good." Important and fascinating perspective! Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452288665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452288669
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Canton, Ph.D.

Futurist, Author and Visionary Business Advisor
Twitter #futureguru

Dr. James Canton is a renowned global futurist, social scientist, keynote presenter, entrepreneur and visionary business advisor. For over 30 years, he has been insightfully predicting the key trends that have shaped our world. He is a leading authority on future trends in innovation and The Economist recognizes him as one of the leading futurists, worldwide.

Dr. Canton is CEO and Chairman of the Institute for Global Futures, a leading think tank he founded in 1990 that advises business and government on future trends. He advises the Global Fortune 1000 on trends in innovation, financial services, health care, population, life sciences, energy, security, workforce, climate change and globalization. From a broad range of industries, clients include: IBM, BP, Intel, Philips, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Boeing, FedEx, and Proctor & Gamble. He has advised three White House Administrations, the National Science Foundation and MIT's Media Lab, Europe.He has held positions as Advisor, National Science and Technology Council, Fellow at Kellogg School of Business, KIN, the founding Co-Chairman of the Futures and Forecasting Singularity University at NASA, Economic Development Board, State of Singapore and Visionary Advisory Board, Motorola.

Recognized as "one of the top presenters in the 21st century" by Successful Meetings Magazine, Dr. Canton is a highly sought-after keynote presenter. He has spoken to thousands of organizations on five continents. He is noted for his fascinating, informative, dynamic and entertaining keynotes.

A frequent guest of the media, he was named "the Digital Guru" by CNN and "Dr. Future" by Yahoo. Dr. Canton's media coverage has included CNBC, Fox, PBS, ABC, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Bloomberg Report, The New York Times, US News and World Report, CEO, CIO and CFO Magazines.

He is the author of Future Smart Managing the Game-Changing Trends that will Transform Your World, The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World in the 21st Century and Technofutures: How Leading-Edge Innovations Will Transform Business in the 21st Century.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Jaewoo Kim VINE VOICE on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author makes many speculative and outlandish predictions of the future. His sheer number of intuitive predictions will allow him to be right on many matters, but very off on some.

What is lacking are analysis and technical details of why the future will be the way the author claims. For example, he claims lack of energy supply and technological progress will bring forth an age of hydrogen powered cars and fusion nuclear reactors. Yet, he provides no technical reasons why these two technologies will dominate the energy industry. Just how will we manage to produce hydrogen in large concentration and quantities which will be cost effective when it takes MORE energy to produce concenttrated hydrogen today than the energy value of the hydrogen themselves? Also, since when was controlled nuclear fusion reactors even possible? An explaination of how we will overcome the technical hurdles is missing throughout this book.

Some of the claims are downright outlandish. For example, the author claims we will have teleporter which will transfer objects throughout the globe. Again, the missing piece is of any scientific backing or explaination.

Some of the predictions are based on facts, and therefore, have strong predictive value. For example, the author claims that we will have a skilled worker shortage well into 2025 and beyond. This is based on a solid demographic data which indicates that we will have a shrinking workforce of suitable age in America.

Finally, the author is a PhD, but he never says on what subject. He also seems to compare himself to Da Vinci.....He claims many of his previous predictions were right on target. But I imagine many of his predictions were dead off target as well. The sheer number of predictions in this book will allow the author to claim that he is a futurist because many of his predictions will probably come true. Just don't expect him to backup his claims with solid science, facts, or analysis.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Angela Bull on October 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book contains a lot of preening; the author seems to think it is important to remind us (anecdotally) how many huge companies and heads-of-state he's interacted with. Many of his predictions range from poorly explored (he talks about a hydrogen fuel economy without addressing the fact that hydrogen is just a transport--not a readily available source of energy) to the absurd (predictions that teleportation will be available within decades, given the fact of photonic teleportation which doesn't even slightly approach the complexity of disintegrating, transporting and reintegrating an object!) There's also a lot of political advocacy here; I'd have simply preferred an analysis of technological and cultural trends along with research to back it up.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on November 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As I read this book I am reminded of the old saying that 'forecasting the future is easy, it's being right that's hard.'

Dr. Canton breaks down his forecasts into ten areas. Some of them I find very good. Some of them I find OK. Some of them I disagree with. Some of them I'd replace with others.

His view of the future of the individual, Chapter 10, I find totally agreeable. He says that protecting the freedom and rights of the individual is going to be difficult. I absolutely agree. There will be a great deal of pressure to restrict rights (the so called Patriot's Act) in the name of security. The Democrats would like to impose gun control. The Republicans would like to impose abortion control.

His view on energy I find half right. He is right that we are running out of energy. Oil will get progressively more expensive. Then he says, 'Hydrogen is the most plentiful gas in the universe...It's abundant, reliable, renewable, clean and secure because hydrogen is everywhere, America wouldn't have to rely on foreign suppliers.' Yes, but hydrogen isn't a fuel, it's a way to store energy. You have to put more energy into separating hydrogen from oxygen (where it's mostly found, i.e. water) than you get back when you burn it. Nuclear power is the only forseeable place to get the energy to put into hydrogen, and we still have problems of where to store the old fuel rods, do you want them in your back yard?

He sees medicine making all kinds of advances that will lead to longer and healthier lives. I'm not so sure. AIDS is likely to move up to #3 in killing people in the next few years, and there's no cure in sight. Drug resistent forms of TB, malaria, etc. are spreading. New potential diseases like avian flu.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By N. Thomas on May 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was very disappointed with this book. Between his shameless plugs for his speaking engagements and various other activities, the author pulls together various thoughts, statistics, and projections that could easily be synthesized by reading a few choice periodicals. If you are a reader in search of innovative thoughts about the future that may help guide your worldview, company, or investments, I would advise you to look elsewhere. I will not read another work by this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. J. on May 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First a few sample forecasts from the book.
- Today in 2012 one forecast seems difficult to believe but I sure would love to: "There will be more jobs than people to fill them by 2015 in the U.S., Europe, and Japan."
- "By 2012, most people will want to use the science of genetics to predict when they become sick..." is not exactly there although a number of companies are offering limited genetic testing.
- "Energy terrorism will become a future weapon..." seems implausible given the strong incentive to come up with alternative energies. Certainly some sources are more expensive than others, but terrorism seems too strong a word in this context. The author further talks about the "myth of abundance". Of course, that was before the Bakken shale, before fracking, and probably before hybrid cars became commonplace.
- hydrogen car. Maybe in the distant future but the author seems to have missed the hybrid, battery operated car.
- nanotechnology. This area is certainly growing and has great potential in many applications.
- space tourism. Another growing and not-so-far-fetched area.
- all merchants, banks, and consumers will be connected. Definitely on the mark with this one.
- "Within 10 years [by 2016?], humans routinely living beyond one hundred will be an accepted reality." Unless a major breakthrough is achieved, that seems far fetched today in 2012.
- Robo-surgery. While not commonplace, this is becoming more available in various forms.
- The author presents a lot of global warming hype with little evidence in 2012.

The author mentioned longevity and for a supporting point stated that Socrates died before 35. It appears that Socrates actually died at the age of 70.

Predicting the future is difficult business.
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