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Future Minds: How The Digital Age is Changing Our Minds, Why This Matters and What We Can Do About It [Paperback]

Richard Watson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010
We are on the cusp of a revolution. Mobile phones, computers and iPods are commonplace in hundreds of millions of households worldwide, influencing how we think and shaping how we interact. In the future, smart machines will compete with clever people for employment and even human affection. We are shifting to a world where knowledge will be automated and people will be rewarded instead as conceptual and creative thinkers. Hence being able to think and act in ways that machines cannot will become vital. Ideas are the currency of this new economy and curiosity and imagination are among the key raw materials. But what happens to the rigour of our thinking in a world where we never really sit still or completely switch off? What are some of the unexpected consequences of digital information on the 100 billion cells and quadrillion connections inside our brains? Future Minds illustrates how to maximise the potential of digital technology and minimise its greatest downside, addressing the future of thinking and how we can ensure that we unleash the extraordinary potential of the human mind. In this absorbing new book, discover all about: the sex life of ideas; the rise of the screenager; generations, gender and geography; delving deep inside your head; how to clear a blocked brain; why clever people make dumb mistakes; why we are so afraid of doing nothing; what we can do to reclaim our brains.

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Future Minds: How The Digital Age is Changing Our Minds, Why This Matters and What We Can Do About It + Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years + An Optimist's Tour of the Future
Price For All Three: £27.67

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185788549X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857885491
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Watson spends most of his time thinking. He works with various governments, corporations and nonprofit organisations on strategic foresight and scenario planning projects. He is also a regular speaker at conferences and other events worldwide. He has recently returned to the UK after 8 years living in Sydney.


Product Description


A great case for how to think, not what to think in these fast moving and complex times. Watson s message is clear – our innate imagination and human ability to think deeply about life and issues are the best assets we have to deliver us safely to the future. Full of wonderfully inspired quotations, sage predictions and abundance of source material this is a "how to" that is a definitely a "must have."
Ellen Sideri, Founder & CEO, ESP Trendlab, New York

"A reflective and insightful look into how the next generation will think, feel and shape our society"
Baroness Susan Greenfield, CBE author of ID: The Quest for Meaning in the 21st Century


About the Author

Richard Watson is an author, speaker and consultant who helps individuals and organizations to think ahead, with a particular emphasis on scenario planning. He is the founder of nowandnext.com, a website that documents global trends, and is co-founder of Strategy Insight, a scenario planning consultancy. His clients have included, among others, IBM, McDonald's, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Virgin, Department of Education, Public Libraries NSW, Ikea, Toyota, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. Richard also writes for a number of business publications worldwide, including Fast Company (US), Future Orientation (Denmark), and Retail Banking Review (Australia). Richard was born in the UK and divides his time, rather unsuccessfully, between London and Sydney. Apart from two future minds (aged 8 and 10), his other interests include old cars, old wine, and fixing things in sheds.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated 6 Aug 2011
While I appreciate this book covers a topic worth discussing (otherwise why would I buy it?), I find the author's style very overbearing and overly personal. Often, something is presented as a truism "just because I say so", without significant facts to back it up and honestly, a lot of it seems to be written from a mish-mash of spoken presentations he has done, without any significant threads pulling it all together. I really struggled to get to the finish and I think you will too. I was almost glad the book ended early, as there are pages and pages of wasted references to other texts at the end, making the book twice the size it really is! Not good.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was hoping for much more 12 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I was hoping that this would be an in-depth study into the effects of the rise and rise of computers on human cognition and attention span but in reality it's just a grumpy old geezer's attack on all things technological. There's a scattergun approach to quoting studies without context and lazy generalizations from extreme cases made all over the place (apparently we need all scientists to be untidy or they'll never discover anything). I suppose the author thinks if only we all dropped out of college like Bill Gates we'd all be billionaires! He seems to really lack rigor and his arguments appear to be a set of anecdotes masquerading as evidence. Overall its disappointing but probably enjoyable for old curmudgeons who want their predjudices about modern kids reinforced.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Borrow a copy but don't actually buy it. 13 Sep 2012
By agc
As other reviewers report this book is a scattergun approach to ideas & issues, with poor evidence. I don't often write in books but I found myself scribbling challenges to his assertions on almost every page. Having done that I found that it got me so riled up that other ideas, alternative conclusions, things to be followed up etc. kept on occurring to me. So it's turned out useful, but more by luck than the author's design.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very perceptive, quite worrying but some great tips to make changes.

I guess we all recognise the decreased attention span of our kids. Probably also recognised the ineffectiveness of multi-tasking - whether male or female. This book gives some great analysis of what's going on and some useful practical tips. Easy to read and well-divided into sections so there is time to think through the topics and not rush the book.

This should be required reading for all screenagers. The only reason I give it 4 stars not 5 is because it is perhaps a little repetitive and could be a little more concise.

The slow movement's take on thinking.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Author and scenario planning consultant Richard Watson is clearly torn. One minute, he issues warnings about the negative effects of digital technologies on the brain and human society and discusses his fears that people pay insufficient attention to the possible consequences of these effects. The next minute, Watson is positively giddy and excited by the future potential of that same technology. The possibility of controlling machines with your mind, or improving your mental function by popping a pill, sounds like life in a science fiction utopia. But every utopia carries the possibility that it might turn into a dystopia that traps the human spirit: That's Watson primary concern and the insight he offers his readers. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone interested in futurism, cyberculture, digital technology or the ethics of human society.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading 16 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very good for parents to have this knowledge, so that they understand the DOWNSIDE of the digital age. This gives backup to telling your kids not to have so much time on the computer.
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