The critical need to understand the rapidly approaching future relies upon our understanding of various domains that are Converging. It is difficult enough to stay abreast of rapid advancements in science and technology, but Introduce societal factors, geopolitical, economic, and environmental considerations, and the task gets harder. Yet a high-level appreciation for these domains is necessary if we hope to understand the future and steer it in constructive directions.Continue reading
When we look into the future and try to understand its path, we must consider the geopolitical sphere as a key area of influence. To that end, I just added another book to my Book Library. The World: A Brief Introduction was written by Richard Haass, an American Diplomat. Per the book abstract, The World is designed to provide readers of any age and experience with the essential background and building blocks they need to make sense of this complicated and interconnected world.
I have added a new book by Ezra Klein to my Library. The book titled “Why We’re Polarized” takes us on a fascinating journey to the past, helping us see that for all our problems, we have been a worse and uglier country at almost every other point in our history. Having said that, our current polarization has made it impossible to govern. I found his historical perspectives on the framing of our current political system very timely, and the notion that what works in one era fails in the next. The institutions, frameworks, and beliefs born in a vastly different era, struggle to keep pace in an era that looks very different.
I just finished another book and added it to my Book Library. Ecosystem Edge was written by Peter J. Williamson and Arnoud De Meyer. The move towards ecosystems as an organizing principle for market activity has been a foundational piece of my research on the future of business. You can find that research here. The book goes into depth on the what, why, and how of ecosystems. Anyone looking for detailed guidance on how to execute in this ecosystem world, this is the book for you. Supported by several real-world examples, the authors explore the different aspects of succeeding in the ecosystem world. I highly recommend the book. The abstract is included below.
I just finished another great book: Beyond Blockchain: The Death of the Dollar and the Rise of Digital Currency. I just added it to my Book Library and highly recommend the read. Author Erik Townsend has a great blend of financial and software expertise, making him uniquely qualified to talk on the topic. He explores a wide range of topics from the basics of money to global scale digital currencies.
Although launched in early 2019, the book is very timely given the current geopolitical environment. Mr. Townsend does a great job of describing various aspects of our financial system, thereby building a foundation of knowledge that makes the discussion of digital currency more impactful. Although a big proponent of cryptocurrencies and the values and motivations of the original inventors, he is a pragmatist and practical thinker – which I found very refreshing.
I Just finished another great book. This one is titled A World Without Work authored by Economist Daniel Susskind. The author explores a phenomenon that we have discussed many times over the centuries: Technological Unemployment. Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. The book describes a world where more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers – from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts, from writing news reports to composing music – are coming within their reach. Mr. Susskind tells a compelling story to support his conclusion: the threat of technological unemployment is now real.
While the 19th Century belonged to the British, and the 20th Century to the Americans, Parag Khanna believes the 21st Century belongs to Asia. In his recent book The Future is Asian, the author takes us on a journey to Asia’s past. Along the way, we learn about the historical events that shaped Asia, and the role that the western world played in that shaping.
As Mr. Khanna shifts to the present, we learn about the fascinating stories unfolding across Asia – from all corners of the eastern world. From Saudi Arabia, Africa and Australia, to China, Vietnam, Russia, and Korea. The coming together of Asians as a people is a core theme. The author explores the prominent role that Technocracy played in Singapore, and holds it up as a model to be replicated. He compares and contrasts the progress made in the East, to the dysfunction of the West. As we witness the populist outbreak in the west, we see a coming together in the east. As it does so, the Post-War (One and Two) global order defined by the West gives way to a global order increasingly defined by the East.
Several great books have informed my own personal journey towards our emerging future. The complex and uncertain nature of this future requires a level of system thinking that will challenge our ability to connect the dots that are emerging. Foresight analysis will be an iterative ongoing process, fueled by both human and machine-driven guidance.
Humans are investing considerable time in evaluating the path of many future scenarios. In various forums, I am often asked to recommend books that explore these scenarios. I have now added a Menu Item that lists a number of great books along with an Amazon link.
I hope your journey is as fascinating as mine has been to date.
Update January 22nd: I am adding a book just released to this short list – Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution
I’m often asked for book recommendations that aid with future thinking exercises. A good source in 2018 for this type of exercise is Fast Future Publishing, whose goal is to profile the latest thinking of established and emerging futurists, foresight researchers and future thinkers from around the world, and to make that thinking accessible to the widest possible audience. Their innovative publishing model bypasses most traditional publishing channels and accelerates time to market. Two books that I’d recommend for early 2018 are described below, and a new book due out in the spring is also included.