- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Wharton School Publishing; First Edition edition (October 2, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0131855204
- ISBN-13: 978-0131855205
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,466,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Powerful Times: Rising to the Challenge of Our Uncertain World First Edition Edition
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From the Back Cover
Understand the most revolutionary human transformation in four centuries... and prepare for it!
We're not just living through an age of change: we're living through a 'change of age': the most profound inflection point in human history since the Enlightenment. That's the thesis of Eamonn Kelly's remarkable new book Powerful Times. From terrorism and nuclear proliferation to emerging technologies and economic globalization, Kelly weaves together 7 powerful 'dynamic tensions' that will reshape human life in the coming decades. Kelly offers breakthrough insights into how these tensions will conflict -- and how they'll resonate, creating giant waves of change beyond anything we've ever faced. He takes on the truly big questions. To answer pivotal questions, Kelly draws on breakthrough 'scenario planning' techniques he pioneered: techniques hundreds of top organizations now rely on. Simply put, this book will help you prepare for humanity's most profound transition in 400 years. For every executive, strategist, manager, entrepreneur, public policymaker, and citizen interested in the trends that will most powerfully impact business and life in the coming decades.
Eamonn Kelly, the CEO and president of Global Business Network, the renowned future-oriented network and consulting firm, has for over a decade and has been at the forefront of exploring the emergence of a new, knowledge-intensive economy, and its far-reaching consequences for society, organizations and individuals. He has consulted with senior executives at dozens of the world's leading corporations in virtually every leading business sector; with key global and national public agencies, and with major philanthropic foundations. Kelly co-authored What's Next: Exploring the New Terrain for Business and The Future of the Knowledge Economy, and authored GBN's 2003 Scenario Book.
About the Author
Eamonn Kelly is CEO and president of Global Business Network, the renowned future-oriented network and consulting firm. For over a decade, he has been at the forefront of exploring the emergence of a new, knowledgeintensive economy, and its far-reaching consequences for society, organizations and individuals. He has consulted with senior executives at dozens of the world's leading corporations in virtually every leading business sector; with key global and national public agencies, and with major philanthropic foundations. Kelly co-authored What's Next: Exploring the New Terrain for Business and The Future of the Knowledge Economy, and authored GBN's 2003 Scenario Book.
Top customer reviews
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By a better understanding of each paradox we can position ourselves to better adapt, potentially profit, and reduce risks from global trends.
The second part of the book deals with a variety of potential scenarios ( i.e possible outcomes for the future) which could arise as the world evolves; The various scenarios are labeled: New American Century; Patchwork Powers; and Emergence. The most likely future reality is some combination of the scenarios.
Overall the contents of the book provide a framework for thinking about the future and helps the reader better understand some of the more complex implications.
Section 1 - What's Happening? - Predicting the Present: History Unleashed; Clarity and Craziness; Secular and Sacred; Power and Vulnerability; Technology Acceleration and Pushback; Intangible and Physical Economies; People and Planet
Section 2 - What If? - Changing for the Challenges Ahead: Governance; Innovation
Section 3 - What's Next? - Scenarios for the Next Decade: Three Snapshots of the Future
Section 4 - So What? - Acting in an Era of Transformation: Creating Our New Future
Endnotes; Afterword: Using This Book in Your Life and Work
This is one of those books that forces you to examine both sides of the coin... your position and the flip side. Section 1 is built on contrasts. For instance, In Secular and Sacred, Kelly looks at how the resurgence of religion and spirituality in society has caused people to examine what's really important to them. On the other hand, it's also deeply divided countries and cultures as radical fundamentalism is used to drive followers and forcibly export beliefs. Depending on which side you stand, you'll easily identify with part of the chapter. While tempting to just write off the other half as "he's wrong", the value lies in letting those alternative views moderate your stance and open up your field of vision. Same with the chapter on economies. While it's important to have a market-driven economy that generally benefits society as a whole, those gains can often come at the cost of maintaining a "low wage economy" in developing countries. As a result, the gap between the haves and have nots continues to increase, trapping ever-increasing parts of the population in a poverty cycle that is hard to break. While there are no "single right answers" any more, Kelly lays out a number of alternate outcomes that might occur given the current trends that are in place. It's impossible to tell just what outcome might win out, but it's helpful to start thinking beyond the "here and now" to see how our actions might determine our future.
An enjoyable read while also provoking thought and self-examination, both personally and as a corporate whole...
On a broader plain, with contradictory forces co-existing with each other in our world today, the author has come to recognize a disconnect between the complexity and paradoxes in the world, and our tendency to default to "either/or" thinking like those political writers. Through reams of data, he is able to identify seven matching pairs of forces that try to make sense of these tensions - prosperity and decline; power and vulnerability; intangible and physical; clarity and craziness; acceleration and pushback; people and planet; secular and sacred.
Kelly explores these tensions in three scenarios. The first is the "New American Century," which assumes our nation will achieve unparalleled leadership and expand our scope of influence so that the entire world will abide by our core values and play by our rules. In charting the continued growth and influence of American-style methods for conducting business, he concludes that the prevalence of Western business models has not ensured that Americans continue to enjoy the high living standards to which they've grown accustomed. China and India offer substantial competition, but they compete in the global marketplace by playing under rules established by US companies.
The second scenario is called "Patchwork Powers", in which geopolitical and economic power is distributed among many different international bodies, regions and nation-states. Admittedly a global hodgepodge, no single nation dominates global affairs. Instead, loose confederations work to resolve global problems such as poverty, climate change, disease epidemics, and international migration. The third scenario, "Emergence", recognizes change and coherence come from the bottom up to accommodate the slow adaptation process. Consequently, interconnected networks of individuals exert more influence than do either waning governments or slow-moving mega-corporations. Digital interconnectedness allows communities to apply local solutions to water, power, and food shortages rather than rely on federal bureaucracies to provide essentials.
What Kelly foresees are profound challenges from a geopolitical standpoint - the sudden increase in catastrophic damage caused by climate change, new demographic realities in terms of the potential spread of disease, and most obliquely, the challenge of how the West will adjust psychologically to a gradual loss of leadership to Asia. According to the author, Asians have a psychological advantage in that they have a much more ingrained "both/and" philosophy. He provides a simple example to illustrate his point - in the West, if you show a picture of a fish tank and ask them what they see, they will say they see three fish, but if you show the same picture to Asian people and ask them what they see, they will say an aquarium. Even this simple distinction in perception shows how we tend to break things down and see the bits, whereas Asia has a more contextual world view.
Kelly's assertions are bold, hopeful and terrifying as he dares to envision a future guided by no single area of knowledge. Rather, he foresees a future where new and newly efficient organizations, as well as individuals, realize unprecedented power. Global transformation, as described by Kelly, is not small order, as things will only change when we get to the point of thinking radically toward collaborative opportunity. Kelly's book makes for provocative reading and will hopefully add to the collective realization that we can achieve remarkable things.