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Future Savvy


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Table of Contents

CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER 1: Recognizing Forecast Intentions 17 CHAPTER 2: The Quality of Information: How Good Is the Data? 39 CHAPTER 3: Bias Traps: How and Why Interpretations Are Spun 61 CHAPTER 4: Zeitgeist and Perception: How We Can't Escape Our Own Mind 83 CHAPTER 5: The Power of User Utility: How Consumers Drive and Block Change105 CHAPTER 6: Drivers, Blockers, and Trends 133 CHAPTER 7: The Limits of Quantitative Forecasting 153 CHAPTER 8: A Systems Perspective in Forecasting 173 CHAPTER 9: Alternative Futures: How It's Better to Be Vaguely Right than Exactly Wrong 197 CHAPTER 10: Applying Forecast Filtering 215 CHAPTER 11: Questions to Ask of Any Forecast 263 FURTHER READING 285 INDEX 289 6894fm01.qxp_jt 7/21/08 2:13 PM Page viii

About the Author

Adam Gordon is an expert in strategic foresight and its application to real-world industry and policy leadership. He has been an analyst, consultant, planner, facilitator, and teacher in the field, and his work has been featured on NPR' s Morning Edition and CNN World Report. Adam is the director of The Future Studio, UK, and was previously a Senior Associate at Coates & Jarratt, Inc., a futures consulting firm in Washington, D.C. He maintains an author blog forum on topics related to Future Savvy at


"Future Savvy...will help you become a better consumer of forecasts, from economists, governments, think tanks and, yes, even journalists." The Globe & Mail (Toronto)
"a book that will make fascinating reading for anyone involved in forecasting" --Foresight Magazine
"If you care at all about preparing for the future, read this book." -- Online Magazine
"Given recent developments in the US economy and their implications and probable impact insofar as the global economy is concerned, the publication of this book is indeed timely." -- Dallas Business Commentary Examiner
..".a guide for prognosticators and scenario planners, a set of warnings against such common errors as overreliance on numbers, overlooking your own bias, and ignoring the oscillations of history..." -- Strategy+Business
..". offers a great deal of common sense that often gets left behind in analytics and forecasting..." -- Inland Empire Business Journal
..".Gordon's book will be a useful primer and refresher on the art of proper forecasting and on detecting the artifice and subtlety of persuasion via anticipatory declaration." --Research Technology Management

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