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Inevitable Surprises: Thinking Ahead in a Time of Turbulence Paperback – Bargain Price, April 30, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Here is the book's structure:
Chapter 1: Inevitable Surprises
Chapter 2: A World Integrated with Elders
Chapter 3: The Great Flood of People
Chapter 4: The Return of the Long Boom
Chapter 5: The Thoroughly New World Order
Chapter 6: A Catalog of Disorder
Chapter 7: Breakthroughs in Science and Technology
Chapter 8: A Cleaner, Deadlier World
Chapter 9: Inevitable Strategies
In chapter 1, he argues that scenarios can predict the future. His most telling example is having helped develop a scenario involving airplanes destroying the World Trade towers for the Hart-Rudman Commission that was reported a few months after President George W. Bush took office in 2000. But no one paid attention. He cites several other examples of denial that have led to corporate disasters from ignoring scenarios he helped construct. If you would like to learn more about scenario construction, I also highly recommend his fine book, The Art of the Long View, which was published in 1991.
What can we expect now? "First, there will be more surprises. Second, we will be able to deal with them. Third, we can anticipate many of them."
Chapter 2 begins by pointing out that the U.S. retirement age began climbing in 2001 and will probably continue to do so. People are living longer, are healthier, and either want to work (as his examples of wealthy, educated people show) or have to work (as his example of the airline attendant in her 70s who cannot afford to retire shows). Even after retirement, these people will be active and be part of society.Read more ›
In case you read Schwartz's previous work and wonder whether he still believes in "The Long Boom", the answer is an undeniable and unashamed *yes!* Productivity and accelerating technological advances will return the economy to a long-term path of strong growth. This doesn't mean that Schwartz paints a pastel portrait of the future. We can expect a cleaner environment and opportunities in abundance, but must also anticipate massive migrations of people, declining populations in large parts of the Western world, a confusing and unruly international situation, global climate crises, plagues, and possibly an asteroid strike. Study this book, challenge Schwartz's thinking, and prepare yourself and your business for a wild ride ahead.
Schwartz believes that his forecasts and scenarios will stand up to the test of future history better than those of most prognosticators.Read more ›
1. In an increasingly more turbulent environment, how to recognize and understand "the inevitable surprises that lie ahead of us, particularly in the next twenty-five years"? For example, how to know what is needed to be known and then obtain that knowledge?
2. Given those "inevitable surprises," which steps must be taken that would allow a company or organization to thrive? For example, how to overcome "two different types of natural [but fundamentally irresponsible] reaction": denial and defensiveness?
3. What to do when new complications reveal themselves? For example, how can an "early-warning system" identify them so that appropriate and effective responses can be made in a timely manner?
Schwartz's response to only one of these questions is worth far more than the cost of his book. As he explains in Chapter 1, "Underneath the specifics, between the lines on every page in this book, you will find a basic message about the future in general: The challenges facing civilization right now are immense -- arguably more difficult than they have been during the lifetime of any living person. At the same time, because of advances in knowledge and technology, the human race has never been so capable. And since most of our challenges are caused, at least partly, by our own activity, this expanded capability is a double-edged sword.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Way out of date but still worth reading. Schwartz is right--some of the future is quite easy to predict.Published 16 months ago by perry smith
I got this book from a colleague of mine with impeccable taste in books and a strong background in scenario thinking, so it comes as no surprise that I found this book to be of... Read morePublished on March 21, 2010 by Kyle Dionne Clark
David Taylor got it all wrong. Being European, I actually felt a little pro-American bias about the book...but not much. Read morePublished on June 2, 2005 by Kenneth
If you think the future is predictable, read this book. The author seems rather pessimistic about the future, especially considering his earlier book, The Long Boom.Published on March 30, 2005 by Jonathan G. Curtis
I got this book, Inevitable Surprises, written by Peter Schwartz, because the one that I was looking for (the Art of the Long View) was not available at that time. Read morePublished on December 23, 2004 by Eduardo Antico
Heartily enjoyed this book. Got me thinking long-term about some of the possibilities for the future that you don't find in the newspapers e.g. Read morePublished on October 4, 2003 by T. Butler-Bowdon
Interesting speculation of potential future events. Some are way out such as the prediction of a major asteroid hit. Read morePublished on August 10, 2003 by David Taylor
Good current trend analysis. Personal political bias reflected. Technical errors: Thinks methane is a fuel - it is not, Thinks is clean - actually causes more pollution to make... Read morePublished on July 24, 2003
I would recommend this book, but only if it is read along with others in the field; such as "Leading Change" by Kotter, and "Strategic Organizational Change" by Beitler.Published on July 23, 2003