Grasping Threads of the Future

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What do people mean when they call themselves a futurist? More often than not the moniker revolves around grasping threads and predicting the near-term future.

Futurism increasingly drives conversations amongst technologists and leaders. The future fascinates us as much as the past does, a response to the technological imperative of change facing every single one of us.

Al Gore and Brian Solis popularized the term with their recent books The Future and WTF (What’s the Future) of Business, respectively, but contemporaries like Greg Verdino and others are calling themselves futurists, too.

Futurism extends into our larger culture now. The popular i09 blog looks at future concepts present, in entertainment and through science fiction. Of course, science fiction is the narrative business of imagining the future.

In business, futurists look at current trends, and predict how they impact society, business and culture. They see blends of activity pointing towards a general direction, using emerging trends as a clay to formalize anticipation of what’s next.

But it’s important to understand that as sexy as trendspotting is, it can lead to all sorts of bad decisions.

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12 Books to Read

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Writers read, right? At least they are supposed to… Since spring break is here, and many of us have begun traveling for the annual conference season, here are some books I hope to read.

Fiction

John Scalzi’s Redshirts: When I read fiction, I lean towards scifi with a focus on cyberpunk or hard science fiction in the Asimovian vein.

Redshirts is a hilarious play off of Star Trek, the original TV show. Junior away team members try to avoid getting killed! I’m halfway through and have caught myself laughing out loud several times. I highly recommend this book if you need a something light.

Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin: A National Book Award winner, this book takes us back to New York City of the World Trade Center towers in the 1970s. Hailed as a literary masterpiece, Great World Spin looks tense and captivating. Plus I’m always up for a good Bronx Tale.
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