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The Art of the Long View

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  • Posted February 28, 2009

    A good read for anyone concerned about their future

    The essence of this book boils down to the Boy Scout motto, be prepared. The world is an uncertain, constantly shifting place, but that does not mean we cannot plan for what may come with some degree of assurance. Scenario planning, as Schwartz puts it is, "about making choices today with an understanding of how they might turn out" (p.4). By opening our minds up to possible futures through the use of scenarios, we become aware of the world around us and keen to indicators that might lead us in different directions. Instead of simply being a victim of circumstance and surprise, we are able to actively perceive shifts and adjust accordingly.
    Although this book does not offer an exact prescription on how to write scenarios, that should not deter readers. Schwartz compares his book's approach to the novelist John Gardner's book, The Art of Fiction. In his book Gardner never describes exactly how to write a story, but instead offers useful techniques, methods, and helpful things to think about while writing and that essentially there is not a prescription for an effective story and that scenarios are pretty much the same. However, scenarios do have a recognizable process which Schwartz does outline. Although this may seem a little daunting at first, Schwartz's clear writing style, abundant examples, and important key points do not leave readers wanting for direction. Instead, this approach gives one a sense of empowerment and freedom in writing. Schwartz makes it very clear in the beginning that scenarios are not about predicting the future, he offers this definition of a good scenario: "A good scenario, similarly, asks people to suspend their beliefs in its stories long enough to appreciate their impact. You know that a scenario is effective when someone, pondering an issue that has been taboo or unthinkable before, says, 'Yes. I can see how that might happen. And what I might do as a result'" (p. 37). By planning ahead and considering possibilities not thought of before, enforced by research and an open mind, we can explore various futures, recognizing key indicators.
    Though Schwartz addresses organizations, this book could easily be adapted to individuals who want to write scenarios for personal uses. As one comedian once joked, "I always wanted to be somebody, now I see I should have been more specific". This book has the ability to guide and focus your sights in the right directions, or at the very least consider alternative possibilities. Don't let an unsuspecting future creep up on you unawares, have some idea on how to handle even the most difficult experiences, scenarios are the way, planning is the key and The Art of the Long View is a wonderful guide.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2008

    The Art of the Long View Review

    Peter Schwartz, the author of the book, is known to be one of the world¿s leading futurists and also the President of the Global Business Network. In his book, The Art of the Long View, he discusses scenario building to help forecast the future rather than simply predicting it. He defines the method of scenario as an ¿imaginative leap for the future.¿ He also discusses the scenario process step by step in order to help the reader utilize the method in forecasting the future. It¿s interesting when Schwartz says that, ¿Scenarios are thus the most important vehicles I know for challenging our ¿mental models¿ about the world, and lifting the ¿blinders¿ that limit our creativity and resourcefulness,¿ (pg. XV) because scenario building really does help you think about the future, which may not seem useful now, but will be in the future. This book was very well written, easy to understand and it helped me learn about more future forecasting, scenario building and writing. Although it¿s a little outdated, some of the information is still useful till this day. It¿s a great book for beginners who are just starting to study the various future forecasting methods. If you are interested in learning about future forecasting, then The Art of the Long View would be good book to start off with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2004

    Scenario for personal life

    As an international student who stays in Hawaii for a while, Peter Schwartz¿s The Art of the Long View inspired me to make planning for my future whether in Hawaii or other places. His explanations about scenario building may be adapted to my personal life as well as in business to plan my better life in future. Moreover, as a human being, we have an innate ability to build scenarios and to forecast the future. He said that scenarios are apparatuses for helping us to acquire a long view in a great uncertainty rather than simply predicting the future. Therefore, it is possible to prepare for our future. In real time, the eight steps of developing scenarios which he suggested in his book are used in many fields. Most websites about forecasting adopt his idea as a basic foundation to prepare alternative future with social, economic, political, and technological points of views. Although he said scenario building as ¿art¿ not ¿science¿, it may not reduce the important of scenario building to identify alternative dimensions of future by recognizing the driving forces and composing the plots. I recommend for a beginner in particularly non-native English speaker in forecasting or in future planning reading this book as a guide. His guide is easy and simple to apply for everyone to anticipate unexpected changes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    Review of "The Art of the Long View".

    Review of gThe Art of Long Viewh This book, gThe Art of Long Viewh, is a very powerful but easy to understand book that helps people who are learning about future forecasting and scenario writing not just to learn about it but also to be confident of the significance of the future forecasting. I am sure this book helps people a lot from beginners to professors, especially beginners like me who has hardly think about this matter before and have little knowledge or information about it. This book made the meaning of the future forecasting and scenario writing tangible and significant which was intangible and insignificant before I read it. It tells the importance of seeing the future in a long view, making alternatives in the future, and therefore enables us to be aware of the uncertainties we have in reality and think about what we can do, deal with it, and to envision our own future by making alternatives and making decisions for future that best fit your vision of the future realistically. This book familiarize you with the processes of future forecasting, scenario writing, and the significance of them step by step by giving authorfs own experiences written in a very logical and persuasive way, which gives reality and reliability to it. This book helps people reducing uncertainty and giving hopes instead in the future. However, one point that I would like to address as a critique is that the stories or facts which were introduced in the book were mostly successful ones not ones which ended up in failure, which I can consider as one-sided. And I also think it would be good if it includes unsuccessful models not just successful ones to compare with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2003

    How Can You Successfully See a Future Through Scenarios?

    In The Art of the Long View, Peter Schwartz, a president of Global Business Network, prospect the scenario that illustrates assumptions as real-life plans in the future. He also shows how the scenario has to thoroughly be thought for managers and business readers, and also for individuals. Schwartz is giving you an example of Royal Dutch/Shell company survived in energy crisis after the war in the Middle East in 1973 since they had prepared for the change by setting up scenarios about the future. In order to create a future scenario successfully, planners have to see through a world with many possible filters from both inside and outside of the society. It is because your aspects now may be overlapped and recombined in unexpected ways in a future, and you have to be flexible to deal with the agendas in this situation. Schwartz shows the indispensable key components in scenario- driving forces, predetermined elements, and critical uncertainties- for the exploration in a future. Interestingly, in the process of exploring, you must find yourself moving through the following steps from refining a decision, performing more research, seeking out more key elements, trying on new plots, and to rehearsing the implications. As a conclusion, the author believes that people in the world have to be capable to perceive alternative future environments. Because of the fact that creating scenarios can help them to take a view in an uncertain world of a future, or it will also guide individuals to make a better decisions in their own lives.

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