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9 Reviews
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read - threading it all together a little challenging.
Overall a very good read. The author does a nice job of breaking down a complex theme into bite sized pieces. The examples used were interesting and insightful. I feel the structure of the book, let it down. With 4 parts, 13 chapters, 3 phases plus numerous techniques, processes and methods….it makes it difficult to see the clear line and thread it all together...
Published 3 months ago by christy frank

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the next Megatrends but good idea
The book starts with grand themes but quickly devolves to yet another set of "think outside the box" case studies using the author's methodology. There are good tools and techniques presented and it's useful. It just doesn't live up to the expectations set in the blurb and the first few chapters.
Published 19 months ago by Hal Smith


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the next Megatrends but good idea, December 14, 2012
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The book starts with grand themes but quickly devolves to yet another set of "think outside the box" case studies using the author's methodology. There are good tools and techniques presented and it's useful. It just doesn't live up to the expectations set in the blurb and the first few chapters.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Second worst future thinking book ever, February 18, 2013
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This review is from: Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn't, and What's Next (Hardcover)
Ms. Sommers spends way too much of this book on filler, non-applicable example treatises, and rhetorical stasis which gives no insight for her readers. Future Thinking is about more than writing futurist next to your name, there is process approaches and practices, it is about understanding the conditions and drivers of change, cycles of adoption, This generalized tride is not worth the time it takes to read it.

Futuring by E. Cornish, Future Think by Weiner and Brown, or best yet; Thinking About the Future by Hines and Bishop are much better, more effective, and helpful in understanding and applying the principles of strategic foresight, futuring, and considering the future for social and business purposes
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read - threading it all together a little challenging., April 17, 2014
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Overall a very good read. The author does a nice job of breaking down a complex theme into bite sized pieces. The examples used were interesting and insightful. I feel the structure of the book, let it down. With 4 parts, 13 chapters, 3 phases plus numerous techniques, processes and methods….it makes it difficult to see the clear line and thread it all together. Still, I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to bring strategy and certainty into their future.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for anyone in business, but much more than a business tome..., October 4, 2012
This review is from: Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn't, and What's Next (Hardcover)
This is essentially reading for anyone grappling with the ever-increasing pace of change. The author clearly explains the Four Forces of Change (Hint: it is more than just "technology") and how to make highly educated informed decisions about the future. Required reading for anyone in business or trying to affect social change.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who are you?, May 28, 2013
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"Think like a futurist" is a great book for anyone looking to have a better understanding of how to think differently in this world of change we live in. It gives you the elements and understanding of how you can help drive change both in the organization you work in and your own personal thinking. I have had the pleasure to listen to Cecily Sommer's speak and also to meet her in person. She has tremendous vision and provides great framework that will help invent yourself and creatively apply what you know while overcoming resistance to the goals you are seeking to fulfill. "Thanks Cecily!"
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and applicable, January 13, 2013
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This is a book useful for everyone working with analyzing and planning strategies for the future of corporations and organizations.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think Like Futurist is Worth Your Attention, March 24, 2013
This review is from: Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn't, and What's Next (Hardcover)
Think Like a Futurist is a well-connected caravanserai on the roadways through knowledge space. It provides an intersection of strategic thinking and creative problem solving domains. Such intersections are rich sources of new ideas generated from models and patterns of one domain applied in new ways to a different subject area. In order to avoid simple linear extrapolation futurists need to inject new concepts into their process. Think Like A Futurist describes a creative process that will ensure such new ideas.

Cecily Sommers describes a blended process for strategic planning. It is written to provide the reader with both an overall description of the process and examples of how it may be used. The steps are

I. Data gathering of underlying societal forces
II. Determining a Big Question or goal
III. Engaging in discovery for new insights
IV. Distilling critical elements for a plan to achieve the goal.

I read the other reviews and find the negative comments to be unwarranted. Three other books were suggested as better than Sommers' book, so I purchased them to compare for myself. My comments are listed at the end of this review.

Think Like A Futurist starts with a description of four forces that underlie and affect how human society changes over time. Other futurist books show trends - which are just waves at the top of the ocean, so to speak. If you are just a consumer of futurist reports, then trends are fine. However, if you wish to think as one, then you need to understand how those trends develop. Sommers directs the reader to look at the lowest level currents. These are Resources, Technology, Demography, and Governance.

After extensive data gathering of the four forces the raw material is used in a creative problem solving process of defining, discovery, and distilling to create a plan to reach the future. Some highlights of Sommers' process stand out.

First, a unique insight Sommers adds to futures planning is recent discoveries of brain activity. The portion of the brain that 'lights-up' when recalling memories is the same network of neurons that activates when planning for the future. Therefore, to improve one's ability to plan for the future Sommers advises to "know more things". Planning will be more nuanced with a wide variety of memories and experiences from which to draw. One of the ways to do so is to immerse oneself in new sensory input. The method is Sensory Input Learning Centers. These caught my attention because the description matches the types of learning stations I used as an elementary school teacher. They provide self-directed interactions for learning concepts. By configuring them for strategic planning and bringing them into business settings, Sommers provides a mechanism for knowing more things.

Second, another feature is the three elements labeled "Mental Clarity Modes". These are tools of discovery in the creative process that lead to insights. "Awe" is the feeling of wonder derived from a connection between oneself and a larger universe. "Aww" is the empathic resonance with another person's perspective. "Aha!" is the one we normally think of and is the flash of insight provided by a new perspective on a problem.

These three modes are like small lego-blocks of creative thinking. When enough of them form during the discovery phase they connect and in combination become the structure of a solution.

There is one aspect I would change about the book. It is a minor characteristic that I would have described differently. It is the references to left-brain right-brain thinking. It became overused 15-some years ago by the media and reduces too much the complexity of the human mind. My preference would be for a classification of logical versus sensory or convergent versus divergent thinking. However, I understand its use in this context. It is a well-known metaphor and easily understood in corporate environments.

In response to the negative review I mentioned earlier I purchased the three suggested books. They are good, but I do not agree they are alternatives to Think Like A Futurist. Instead they complement by providing additional materials for the futurist presented in characteristically different ways from Sommers book.

A. Thinking About the Future by Andy Hines & Peter Bishop (2006)

This is a planning process book. However, it only describes the overall process without providing instructions for any of the stages. It is a good high-level view of the planning process and serves as a reference book.

B. Futuring by Edward Cornish (2004)

It provides a rich set of anecdotes of the major elements of the futures planning field. There is no process described. Instead the book highlights larger elements of the futurist landscape such as Six Supertrends Shaping the Future; Systems, Chance, and Chaos; and Futuring Methods.

C. Future Think by Edie Weiner & Arnold Brown (2006)

Many traps can waylay a futurist and this book provides a compendium of many. The book organizes traps into Personal & Organizational types providing descriptions of several and how to avoid them. The author also offers several concepts to improve a futures plan such as Law of Large Numbers; Harnessing Evolution; and Demography.

Think Like a Futurist brings together a blend of strategic planning and the creative problem solving process. It provides a full description of the author's four-step method for a business to construct a future they wish to achieve. Sommers contributes unique features to this activity such as the neuroscience of planning, four forces underlying societal change, mental clarity modes, and the sensory input learning stations. This is an excellent book and worth your attention.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think Like a Futurist, July 20, 2013
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The subtitle for this book is "Know what changes, what doesn't, and what's next" and from there author Sommers demonstrates how she helps businesses, large and small, understand change. In short, she shows what a professional consulting futurist does for clients, and demonstrates her approach to leading clients into to the future.

Sommers starts by asking two questions of clients:
Who are you?
Where are you going?
Define yourself, then decide where you want to be in the future. Simple, foundational research. From there, Sommers shows how consulting futurists help clients understand forces that will shape the client's future.

Examples are provided for consulting with small and large businesses, and Sommers leads the reader through the process of learning to understand change, then deciding how the client can creatively use that knowledge to prepare for, and deal with the future. This is a book that will be useful to business people who are not really familiar (or comfortable) with the concepts of foresight and futures studies, yet will be interesting to anyone interested in thinking about the future.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think Like A Futurist, November 4, 2012
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annempryor (Minnetonka, MN, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn't, and What's Next (Hardcover)
Cecily Sommers is the next Einstein. Her Four Forces of Change guide our thinking on how to create, leverage and manifest what's next. This is a must read for anyone who cares about innovating and needs a sustainable and replicable process. She makes is easy, fun and has excellent real-life examples of her proven client successes. Do you know "who you are?" and "where you're going?" If not, this book is for you. Be well, my forward-thinking friends, Anne Pryor
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Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn't, and What's Next
Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn't, and What's Next by Cecily Sommers (Hardcover - October 9, 2012)
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