Customer Review

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bloated and slapdash, 16 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Future Files: The 5 Trends That Will Shape the Next 50 Years (Paperback)
Alarm bells started to ring on page two of the introduction, when the author explains that this book is based on an 8,000 word article which a commissioning editor at a publishing company asked if he could "stretch out" to 90,000 words. After that guileless admission, it was hardly a surprise that the book felt so waffly and padded.

What did surprise me is that there appears to have been no attempt to impose retrospective order on ideas chucked down in whatever sequence they popped into the author's head ("Actually, mentioning religion brings me to another thought: perhaps science will be the new religion"). It reads like a stream-of-consciousness first draft.

So we have the author contradicting himself in the space of a single paragraph: he notes that working longer hours is not making us happier, then argues that we introspect more about happiness because we have more time on our hands. And we have sloppy non-sequiturs: "if a generation has fewer offspring, its genetic legacy is reduced. This means that the beliefs to which a generation adheres weaken over time." Beliefs are transmitted genetically?

If you want a scattergun collection of ideas about the future and don't mind an inane and shallow writing style, this is fine. If you're hoping for a level of analysis that rises above "personally I think that AI in any meaningful sense is a long way off. Having said that, can you imagine the implications if an internet of the future did actually become aware of its own existence? Ohmygawd", don't waste your money.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Oct 2008 14:28:24 BDT
I loved the style! Mr Watson's honesty, humour and enthusiasm make for an entertaining read, with enough factual support to make it thought provoking. It's about the future, for Goodness' sake; and as the current global financial mire shows, we're none too good at predicting this.

Posted on 17 Dec 2008 13:34:22 GMT
Jezza says:
Thanks mate! That's what I call a useful review. Thanks for saving me from wasting my time and money on this one.
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