Top critical review
The Future is Now
on 2 August 2016
I had high hopes for this book having seen it cited as a source text a number of times, and particularly as recommended reading in Frederic Laloux’s fabulous “Reinventing Organisations”. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
I ploughed through the text, yearning to find a section that struck a chord but never really discovered one. I found many of the sections highly theoretical and wordy which goes completely counter to my preferred case study style when tackling topics of this kind.
To give Handy’s book it’s due, it may well have been more ground breaking when it was written (although I was apparently reading a fully revised and updated version). There is now such a wealth of emerging writing and accessible examples of businesses disrupting the traditional models that this type of analysis is perhaps out of its time. For me, it felt dated from fairly early on but my view was cemented in one particular quote: ““The Family for many is a security zone. Perhaps a demeaning role for the wife - to be the manager of a security zone- but a very important one for her husband and his colleagues and subordinates”.
There were certain some ideas that felt more familiar and engaging in Chapter 12. But while Handy was predicting the future of work and management, these suggestions represented what I recognise as the present. So perhaps this ability to predict is the clearest proof of why Handy and his writing are still held in such high acclaim.