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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Hardcover with dust jacket. Jacket shows mild wear to surfaces including light scratches, mild indentations, smudging / scuffing, and other light wear. Edges, corners, and the outer edges of the closed pages show mild wear including edge indentations and other light wear. Pages are clean and there are no markings noticed upon several scans of the book. Overall this book is in very good condition.
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Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction Hardcover – March 1, 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Maybe it was fated that Pickover (The Girl Who Gave Birth to Rabbits; etc.), a polymathic researcher and professional observer of the weird, would eventually write about the mysteries of divination; his 20-some popular books cover subjects as diverse as aliens, fractals and the nature of time. In this hefty but fast-paced work, Pickover's infectious enthusiasm spins unstoppably from the book's dedication ("to the New York Yankees, winners of the 2027 World Series") to the appendices (containing, among other things, information on techniques for ooscopy, or reading eggs). Along the way he conducts a survey of some of history's most bizarre prediction practices for example, interpreting the holes in Swiss cheese and offers poker-faced instructions for aspiring home seers (e.g., "the Do-It-Yourself Termite Oracle"). Further chapters offer some choice examples of prediction changing the course of history sometimes with tragic consequences and a compendium of Pickover's favorite prophets, a veritable Who's Who of kooks, including psychic detectives, conspiracy theorists and channelers tuning into everyone from Socrates to Barbie. Generally, Pickover's attitude is one of healthy skepticism; he stays firmly uncommitted to either fuzzy or seemingly scientific proofs of divination's efficacy. He even goes so far as to share some lighthearted experiments conducted on his Web site that demonstrate the public's gullibility. Nevertheless, true believers and skeptics alike cannot fail to be won over by Pickover's disarming affection for his subjects even at their most ridiculous. The human need for belief being perhaps the future's only certainty, this book should delight anyone who suspects truth is stranger than fiction, and everyone who has ever wished that the implausible were true. (Mar.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Considering the number of ridiculous books touting various methods of prognostication, this levelheaded treatment of the topic is long overdue. Pickover, a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, discusses pretty much any form of prediction you care to mention, from alepouomancy, predicting the future based on a fox's paw prints, to the zodiac, on which astrology is based. His section on famous soothsayers is particularly interesting; he points out, for instance, that it is nearly impossible to relate Nostradamus' prophecies to actual historical events because they often lack specific details and that Jeane Dixon, the famous tabloid "prophet," tends to get it right only when her predictions are so broad as to be meaningless. Unlike some debunkers, Pickover acknowledges our inevitable fascination with predicting the future, noting that, although hopelessly unreliable, it can be fun, exciting, profitable, and sometimes even spiritual. An excellent book for skeptics and believers alike. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (June 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157392895X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573928953
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,917,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Clifford Pickover takes us on a thrilling journey through time to learn how people have utilized a wide variety of divination methods to catch glimpses of the future. DREAMING THE FUTURE succeeds on many levels; it contains one of the most complete assortments of divination methods ever brought together in one book, it describes fascinating accounts of how divination and prophets have changed history, and it provides the reader with many useful do-it-yourself guides to try divination techniques at home.
DREAMING THE FUTURE is an entertaining and educational read whether you are actively involved with divination methods, are simply interested to know more about them and how they've been used, or are downright skeptical that such things could have any accuracy whatsoever. Pickover frequently refers to himself as being a skeptic throughout this book, yet he does not fall victim to scientism -- the belief that scientific hypotheses are immutable "laws", rather than ever-changing theories. Pickover requests that people first rule out the ways we can be tricked, to avoid blindly accepting assertions of paranormal or mystical experience.
I particularly enjoyed reading about the wide variety of oracles involving animal behavior, dowsing, candle flames, numerology, automatic writing, cheese shapes, tea leaves, crystals, breathing over a vase of water, sounds and movements of the wind, sand, geomancy, feng shui, fortune cookies, and random remarks overheard in crowds. I finished reading this book feeling inspired to try out new kinds of divination methods that weren't even mentioned, because I regained the sense that we can receive spiritual information from all of our senses in every situation, everywhere, all the time.
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Format: Hardcover
Once again Clifford Pickover has proved his genius. He presents us with a monumental catalog of methods of divination. The genius is that, although we know that Pickover is a scientist with an international reputation as a science writer, he presents his catalog without a hint of judgment. You can find in this work step-by-step instructions for telling the future by observing spiders (step 1 - find an inhabited spider hole), reading tarot cards, or cracking coconut shells.
In keeping with the author's interest in fractals, he describes Fractomancy, a computer-graphics method of divination. "Fractomancy is based on the generation of fractal geometric patterns and interpreting the structures for divinatory methods." He also tells us that we can derive new inventions by cutting up patents and recombining the paragraphs at random. Are we to believe that this is how he has generated his portfolio of United States patents? No matter. The book is a source of endless fascination.
Finally, in an appendix we find a list of predictions by prophets of dates for the end of the world. I was pleased to see that if we get through 2001, we are safe until 2012.
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Format: Hardcover
Pickover is an amazing author, more exciting than Asimov and Sagan because of his sheer range of topics. Pickover's books range from time travel to mind travel.

Dreaming the Future is Pickover's most fascinating and largest work. Among the many topics, he discuses the use of hypnosis to progress people into the future to tell us what they find. He also describes actual technical patents dealing with divination devices and strange mental phenomena. Every conceivable divination method is described in this book as well as every important prophet and new-age channeler. I especially liked Pickover's chapters describing how sheep entrail divination has changed the course of history. He also discusses Hitler and astrology. The chapters on future-life progression will send a shiver down your spine, and, in many ways, you will be transported to a new plane of existence after reading this book. Pickover is certainly right when he writes, "Even with the great scientific strides we will make in this twenty-first century, we will nevertheless continue to swim in a sea of mystery. Humans need to make sense of the world and will surely continue to use divination for that task."
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