Future Savvy: Identifying Trends to Make Better Decisions, Manage Uncertainty, and Profit from Change Hardcover – 1 Sep 2008
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A book that will make fascinating reading for anyone involved in forecasting. -- Foresight Magazine
Future Savvy...will help you become a better consumer of forecasts, from economists, governments, think tanks and, yes, even journalists. -- The Globe & Mail (Toronto)
Given recent developments in the economy...publication of this book is indeed timely.
-- Dallas Business Commentary Examiner
If you care at all about preparing for the future, read this book. -- ONLINE Magazine
Warnings against such common errors as overreliance on numbers, overlooking your own bias, and ignoring the oscillations of history. -- Strategy+Business
A book that will make fascinating reading for anyone involved in forecasting.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
For example: what we think about the future tells a lot about what we are in the present.
This principle can be extremely valuable when it comes to corporate strategy and board discussions about key investment decisions. By exploring decision bias, paradigm blindness (things we do not see because we do not want to see them) and the alike (well described in Adam's book) an organization can increase the quality of its decision making process by having people aware of the portion of the future they are equipped to see and therefore making them more open to different opinions and "bias systems".
That is probably why in the past the human race asked the fortune-tellers to be talked through its own future thinking, as a way to stay honest about expectations from the Future.
And certainly that is why we keep doing it.
It is a pleasure to read - clear and to the point with excellent references as well as fascinating examples.
A brilliant book that I would recommend to anybody vaguely interested in the topic, but in particular to business people and decision-makers that need to manage uncertainty and make better decisions.
Whether you work in forecasting, are studying it, or want to help understand the limitations of an outsourced forecast, this is a book to help you through a tricky subject. Gordon takes a no nonsense, systematic approach to explaining forecasting - first of all clearly defining the different approaches from so-called future-aligning to future-influencing methods, to that age-old battle of the pessimists vs the optimists.
Having cleared the key basics, he moves on to one of the eternal challenges and stumbling blocks in forecasting - that your forecast is only as good as your data (working with statistics at university our motto was "lies, damn lies and statistics" ). Gordon also tackles the tricky question of quality of data, how good is your data and what are the typical traps to be avoided. From improper use of data to out-of-date data, there are many ways to make mistakes and perpetuate misunderstandings. It makes however for somewhat depressing conclusions - as you begin to wonder if there are any statistics or data sources that can really ever be trusted. As Gordon points out, "all numbers lie a bit, and some lie a lot".
But data itself is not the only problem to be addressed. He warns, with ample examples, about the many bias traps that also play a role in forecasting - such as sponsored forecasts, insider forecasts and technophile bias. But as if that isn't enough to worry about, Gordon moves onto " Zeitgeist and Perception: How we can't escape our own mind". This addresses the powerful (often problematic) influence of the Zeitgeist on forecasting as well as partly what Bruce Sterling calls the Futurists Monkey Trap - the parts of prediction that are down to the forecasters own mindset, peccadillos and little personal hang-ups.
But there is hope for the future of forecasting - if you can't entirely fight against bias or bad data, better to understand it, identify the problem and then learn to work with it. And so the book takes us on to more optimistic proposals for forecasting with a chapter cheekily entitled, "How it's better to be vaguely right than exactly wrong." If you have limited time, then Chapter 11, entitled "questions to ask of any forecast" is a good summary of the issues and leaves us with the reminder that "good forecasting is as much about seeing what won't change in the future."
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