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Books about the Future
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01 the Future

. Books about the Future

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
by Ray Kurzweil

At the onset of the twenty-first century, humanity stands on the verge of the most transforming and the most thrilling period in its history. It will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity.

For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he presented the daring argument that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, computers would rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now, in The Singularity Is Near, he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.

That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today - the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. We will be able to assume different bodies and take on a range of personae at will. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped; world hunger and poverty will be solved. Nanotechnology will make it possible to create virtually any physical product using inexpensive information processes and will ultimately turn even death into a soluble problem.

While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, The Singularity Is Near maintains a radically optimistic view of the future course of human development. As such, it offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.

Strategic Leadership : Achieving Your Preferred Future, 3rd Edition, CD PC
by Bill Hainer, Glen Hiemstra

GLEN HIEMSTRA, leading futurist from Kirkland, Washington, has broad experience as an international speaker and consultant. He is the Founder of, the number one portal to the future on the Web. Glen's work as a futurist is widely known and respected and he is frequently invited by members of the U.S. Congress to address state conferences focused on the future. Prior to going into business, Glen was an award-winning educator, selected Most Influential Professor at Whitworth College. In 1989 Glen served as the Washington State Centennial Futurist. At his website,, you can read Glen's newsletter, FuturistNews, along with a wide variety of information about and links to the future. Glen is frequently cited as a resource for articles about the future, most recently in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, the Los Angeles Times, and the Detroit Free Press. He appears on the new medium of Internet radio. A graduate of Whitworth College and the University of Oregon, Glen lives in Kirkland, Washington.

This is a leaders handbook for planning and implementing a preferred future within an organization or enterprise. Written to briefly explain each planning concept and then to suggest possible applications, the book provides a step-by-step guide for leaders. The book comes in on a CD, in .PDF format for the PC. The table of contents can be searched interactively in this format.

The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life
by Richard Florida

The Rise of the Creative Class gives us a provocative new way to think about why we live as we do today-and where we might be headed. Weaving storytelling with masses of new and updated research, Richard Florida traces the fundamental theme that runs through a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing role of creativity in our economy.

Just as William Whyte's 1956 classic The Organization Man showed how the organizational ethos of that age permeated every aspect of life, Florida describes a society in which the creative ethos is increasingly dominant. Millions of us are beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always have - with the result that our values and tastes, our personal relationships, our choices of where to live, and even our sense and use of time are changing. Leading the shift are the nearly 38 million Americans in many diverse fields who create for a living - the Creative Class.

The Rise of the Creative Class chronicles the ongoing sea of change in people's choices and attitudes, and shows not only what's happening but also how it stems from a fundamental economic change. The Creative Class now comprises more than thirty percent of the entire workforce. Their choices have already had a huge economic impact. In the future they will determine how the workplace is organized, what companies will prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities will thrive or wither.


Inevitable Surprises: Thinking Ahead in a Time of Turbulence

by Peter Schwartz

One of America's foremost prognosticators and author of the bestseller and management classic The Art of the Long View discusses the big surprises ahead, the resulting scenarios that are creating the future of our world, and what they will mean for you and your business.

The world we live in today is more volatile than ever. At times it seems that the only constant we can rely on is change itself-and what the future will bring appears to be anybody's guess. But Peter Schwartz, one of the most visionary scenario planners of our time, believes the future is taking shape around us now, and that by taking a closer look at the changes in action today, we can predict what the world of tomorrow will be like.

With Inevitable Surprises, Schwartz offers a provocative look at the forces that are dramatically reshaping our world-and shows what we can do to plan ahead for our society, our businesses, and ourselves. Each chapter takes a predetermined new reality that we will soon face-including regenerative medicine, global climate change, an aging population in the West, and the rise of terrorism-and offers critical foresight for the coming decades. Ultimately, Schwartz brings his analyses of these developments together to offer three overarching scenarios that are possible directions for world history in the coming years, and outlines the implications for each.

Timely, thought-provoking, and endlessly fascinating, Peter Schwartz's Inevitable Surprises is a book no one in business-or anyone with an interest in the future-can afford to miss.

Future Shock

by Alvin Toffler

Examines the effects of rapid industrial and technological changes upon the individual, the family, and society.

Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century

by Alvin Toffler

The Tofflers argue that while headlines focus on shifts of power at the global level, equally significant shifts are taking place in our everyday world --supermarkets, hospitals, banks, television, and politics. As old antagonisms fade, Toffler identifies where the next, far more important world division will arise . . . between the "fast" and the "slow." "Thought-provoking on every page." - Newsday. HC: Bantam.

The Third Wave

by Alvin Toffler

The Third Wave is the classic study of tomorrow. Sweeping across history and future, it reveals the hidden connections among today's changes - in business, family life, technology, markets, politics, and personal life. Identifying the directions of change, it has led American corporations to refocus their strategies, Japanese leaders to encourage their country's leap beyond industrialism, and Chinese intellectuals to press their campaign for democratic reform. The Third Wave paints a stunning, comprehensive picture of the twenty-first century civilization springing up around the globe.

Brave New Interfaces
by Jan Cornelis and Marleen Wynants

CROSSTALKS is the industry and university network of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Launched in 2003, it acts as an open and interdisciplinary platform to discuss policy-probing issues. CROSSTALKS manifests itself by interweaving practices from various scientific disciplines, different innovative companies and the art world.

For this book we gathered key people from the European design, architectural, art and academic and corporate technology-driven worlds to reflect on the meaning and impact of existing and future interfaces – and on what the added value could be. The topic of exploring existing and future interfaces and their design emerged from numerous discussions on whether spectacular technological innovations also meant or implied something more than just technological progress. Depending on the gender and the technological literacy of the conversationalists, the answer might be yes, no, or somewhere in between.

Rethinking Europe`s Future (Century Foundation Book)

by David P. Calleo

Rethinking Europe's Future is a major reevaluation of Europe's prospects as it enters the twenty-first century. David Calleo has written a book worthy of the complexity and grandeur of the challenges Europe now faces. Summoning the insights of history, political economy, and philosophy, he explains why Europe was for a long time the world's greatest problem and how the Cold War's bipolar partition brought stability of a sort. Without the Cold War, Europe risks revisiting its more traditional history. With so many contingent factors - in particular Russia and Europe's Muslim neighbors - no one, Calleo believes, can pretend to predict the future with assurance. Calleo's book ponders how to think about this future.

Understanding the European Union: A Concise Introduction, Second Edition

by John McCormick

Despite the plethora of textbooks available on the European Union and the wide range of interdisciplinary and non-specialist courses on which it is studied, there has, surprisingly, until now been no single text providing concise coverage of all its major dimensions and implications. Rather than focusing just on the history or the politics or the economics of the EU or on detailed coverage of its institutions and/or policies, John McCormick's new book introduces all aspects of European integration combining a very clear and accessible thematic narrative with boxed summaries of a wide range of essential facts and figures.
This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Riding the Next Wave: Why This Century Will Be a Golden Age for Workers, the Environment, and Developing Countries

by Thomas J. Duesterberg (Editor), Herbert Ira London (Editor), Hudson Institute

Riding the Next Wave continues Hudson's analytical tradition of exploring the future through the lens of social science and history. Featuring the independent work of Hudson researchers (and those associated with the Institute), Riding the Next Wave starts with an overview of the possible contours of the world in the twenty-first century by exploring the likely and unlikely changes in the areas of population, such as war and peace, urban development, and space exploration.. The authors present a twenty-first century that will see the successes and tremendous growth found in the United States and the industrialized world spread throughout the globe, benefiting workers and developing countries in ways previously thought impossible. The book also identifies several potential threats for future growth and possible solutions to prevent such scenarios. Riding the Next Wave will both stimulate reflection and help shape, in a modest way, the future that it describes.
Contributors include Nicholas Eberstadt (American Enterprise Institute), John C. Weicher, (assistant secretary for housing and FHA commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), and Michael Fumento, Dennis T. Avery, James C. Bennett, and Robert Dujarric (Hudson Institute).
Thomas J. Duesterberg is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute and is the president of Manufacturer's Alliance. Herbert I. London is president of the Hudson Institute.

The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-First Century

by John Brockman (Editor)

Scientists love to speculate about the direction research and technology will take us, and editor John Brockman has given a stellar panel free rein to imagine the future in The Next Fifty Years. From brain-swapping and the hunt for extraterrestrials to the genetic elimination of unhappiness and a new scientific morality, the ideas in this book are wild and thought-provoking. The list of scientists and thinkers who participate is impressive: Lee Smolin and Martin Rees on cosmology; Ian Stewart on mathematics; and Richard Dawkins and Paul Davies on the life sciences, just to name a few. Many of the authors remind readers that science has changed a lot since the blind optimism of the early 20th century, and they are unanimously aware of the potential consequences of the developments they describe. Fifty years is a long time in the information age, and these essays do a credible and entertaining job of guessing where we're going. - Therese Littleton

Radical Evolution : The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human
by Joel Garreau

Washington Post reporter Garreau takes readers on a cross-country trip into the future as he interviews scientists and other thinkers grappling with the implications of our newfound - and, to some, frightening - knowledge of the genome. Highlighting what he calls "the Curve" - the rate of exponential change in technology - Garreau (Edge City: Life on the New Frontier) breaks the central part of his book into four scenarios. In "Heaven," genetic engineering will make us stronger and healthier, help us live longer and metabolize our food more efficiently. "Hell" resembles the island of Dr. Moreau: science runs amok, we cripple the genome of our food supplies, and babies are born with unexpected deformities instead of the improved characteristics promised by gene therapies. The "Prevail" scenario might also be called Muddling Through: even if we make a mistake now and then, we will figure out how to slow potentially harmful changes and speed up potentially beneficial ones. Last, "Transcend" considers that humans might conquer the difficulties that lie ahead and emerge into a new age beyond our wildest dreams. Science buffs fascinated by the leading edges of societal and technological change and readers concerned by the ethical issues that change presents will find much to ponder in Garreau's nonjudgmentallook into our possible futures Agent, John Brockman.

High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them

by Jean-Francois Rischard, J. F. Rischard

The most impressive idea to emerge from the recent World Economic Summit 2003 in Davos, Switzerland: a new approach to identifying and managing the world's twenty most pressing problems.

In this age of instant communication and biotechnology, on this ever-smaller planet, what kinds of problems have we created for ourselves? How do we tackle them in a world where the accustomed methods used by nation-states may be reaching their natural limits? In High Noon, J. F. Rischard challenges us to take a new approach to the twenty most important and urgent global problems of the twenty-first century. Rischard finds their common thread: we don't have an effective way of dealing with the problems that our increasingly crowded, interconnected world creates. Our difficulties belong to the future, but our means of solving them belong to the past.

Rischard proposes new vehicles for global problem-solving that are startling and persuasive. With its clear-eyed urgency and refreshing specificity, High Noon is an agenda-setting book that everyone who cares about the future must read.

Jean-François Rischard is the World Bank's vice president for Europe. He lives in Paris, France.

Promise Ahead : A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity's Future

by Duane Elgin

Here is a view of the future that is relevant to anyone seeking to navigate through our profoundly changing world. Based on thirty years of research by one of the foremost thinkers about the future, Promise Ahead is the sequel to Duane Elgin's bestselling 1981 classic Voluntary Simplicity. In Promise Ahead, Elgin looks beneath the headlines to reveal the deeper currents that are now changing our lives.

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
by Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows

Written in refreshingly accessible prose, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a long anticipated revival of some of the original voices in the growing chorus of sustainability. Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Update is a work of stunning intelligence that will expose for humanity the hazy but critical line between human growth and human development.

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