"The rough guide to the future" – a good starting point
09 Dec 2010

"The rough guide to the future" – a good starting point

Last month, Rough Guides quietly released Jon Turney’s new book, The rough guide to the future. I was looking forward to the release of this book –not just because I’m quoted in one of its asides– but because I am always on the lookout for new primers on futures studies and serious looks into the future.

09 Dec 2010

Book: The rough guide to the future
Author: Jon Turney
Publisher: Rough Guides (2010)

Last month, Rough Guides quietly released Jon Turney’s new book, The rough guide to the future. I was looking forward to the release of the volume –not just because I’m quoted in one of its asides– but because I am always on the lookout for new primers on futures studies and serious looks into the future.

The future seems to be a tangental topic for the Rough Guides series, and that might explain the subdued promotion by the publisher. Or, perhaps, it’s due to lackluster reviews (New Scientist calls it “too polished”). With a focus on established, modern issues that impact our long-term futures, the book provides a survey of how we are building our future landscapes. For this, I believe it deserves better attention.

An interesting part of the book is that Turney includes the feedback of fifty “thoughtful futurologists, scientists and other experts,” where he asks each:

  • What is your highest hope for what will happen?
  • What is your worst fear?
  • What is your best bet for what will actually occur?

Respondents include Ray Kurzweil, Freeman Dyson, Aubrey de Grey, Bruce Sterling, Sohail Inayatullah, and me.

A general futures guidebook is a bold undertaking. But, New Scientist is probably right — the book is broad, and lacks the depth required to really dive into eyebrow-raising forecasts and visions of the future. As a primer, however, it is very well organized. For people who are just beginning to explore the future, the book serves as a very nice starting point as we survey what’s ahead.

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