Jennifer James is a cultural anthropologist, lecturer, writer, and commentator. James is the author of several books and has written more than fifty academic articles and wrote a newspaper column for the Seattle Times for eighteen years.
Thinking in the Future Tenseby Jennifer James
“Much is said these days about building bridges to the 21st century, and savvy businesspeople are constantly on the lookout for ways to make this colorful metaphor into reality. Thinking in the Future Tense: Leadership Skills for a New Age, by author and business lecturer Jennifer James, clearly establishes the framework for a real-world transition” (Amazon.com).
American business, economics, and society are changing at a phenomenal rate. The pressure is on, and managers need to learn faster, think smarter, and free themselves from confining assumptions and old mindsets. In this important book, James—"the Margaret Mead of modern business"—reveals the business survival skills managers need to know to operate in this new fashion.
- Free Press
- Publication date:
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- SIMON & SCHUSTER
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 2 MB
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¿Thinking in the future tense¿ by Jennifer James is a simple and straightforward to read book that inspires its audience to view change as promising and beneficial. James, an anthropologist and a motivational speaker, wants her audience to see the valuable possibilities that change in our future can bring. Many people are scared or weary of change and what changes in our future can lead too. James tells her audience that we must accept change and adapt to survive. Those who do not embrace change will not be successful and/or will suffer the consequences. Throughout the book, James reiterates the importance of embracing change and moving forward in the future. One of my personal favorites quotes is in the introduction of the book, when she says, ¿we cannot go backward we cannot stand still. This is a personal journey and we must will the direction.¿ Furthermore, James discusses and describes eight skills that are needed in order to understand and adapt to the future better. These eight skills are: 1. Perspective 2. Pattern Recognition 3. Cultural Knowledge 4. Flexibility 5. Vision 6. Energy 7. Intelligence 8. G lobal Values James explains each skill in-depth, giving examples, and insightful advice that she has personally learned throughout her life. These eight skills are survival skills that will enable us to understand our future and the changes that will happen. Likewise, these skills will provide us with the tools that are necessary to grow, develop, and expand our minds. In short, in order to `think in the future tense¿ we need to develop and utilize these eight skills. Not only are these eight skills important but we must learn to break away from the past in order to face the future with full force. Those who are able to break free from old mindsets and appreciate change will have a competitive advantage over those who do not. Overall, ¿Thinking in the future tense¿ by Jennifer James, is a well-organized, knowledgeable, and encouraging book that makes its readers enthusiastic for the future and the changes that the future will invite, rather than fear change. I personally enjoyed this book because I can be fearful of change, so it made me look at change in a different light. I highly recommend this book because not only is it well-written and resourceful but it also gives its audience the tools to welcome what lies ahead.
Thinking in the Future Tense is a self-improvement book for individuals and organizations. James summarizes her goal best in the epilogue: ¿Thinking skills that create visionaries.¿ As an apparent frequent motivational speaker, she has selected eight skills (¿Workouts for the Mind,¿ her subtitle) we must cultivate to survive and prosper in our time of rapid change and globalization. I found her list to be plausible: 1. Perspective: Seeing with new eyes. 2. Pattern recognition: Recognizing the future 3. Harnessing the power of myths and symbols 4. Flexibility: Speeding up your response time 5. Vision: Understanding the past to know the future 6. Energy: Doing more with less 7. Mastering new forms of intelligence 8. Global values: Profiting from diversity Organizational communication scholars will debate several issues including whether and how we can generalize from individual traits to corporate traits and whether the eight skills hold up after behavioral measures and factor analyses. As an individual working in corporate America I find the guidance welcome both from a personal and organizational perspective. I recognized the themes and can see where we and I could have profited from James¿ advice. In other skill areas we appear to be doing fine. As an example, the importance of negotiation skills in efficient, modern businesses was recently reemphasized to me. It¿s not what you can justify, but rather what you can negotiate. The request for funding form and the director say ¿do this and write that¿ but they fail to point out what turns out to be critical consultation steps according the principles of James¿ interpersonal intelligence. Other reviewers have down-played the book as light reading or not containing much that is new. I would counter in my optimistic view, that sure, its obvious after you have read the book. Good ideas often are. It is clear to me that corporations would be willing to spend a few dollars to have James¿ speak to them. The mixture of personal and corporate guidance tends to reduce the cynicism that might surround a purely corporate focus. Who can argue against a periodic review of the gospel of forward thinking? I read the book for what it could tell me about the process of long range communication planning -- a 30 year horizon. I found it useful in several respects in particular systems thinking, harnessing he power of (as well as dissecting!) myths (we have several positive ones in Hawaii), and vision with interpersonal trust-building. James¿ skills for future need to be built into the forecast ¿ the scenario you bet on. It¿s not the technology, stupid, it¿s the socio-technical system with the emphasis on socio.