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Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow with Today's Most Provocative Personalities

Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow with Today's Most Provocative Personalities

by Larry King, Pat Piper

As a talk-show host for more than four decades, Larry King has encountered the most powerful and influential people in the world. Now, in Future Talk, he converses with some of today's most provocative thinkers to get their perspectives on what's in store for us in days to come.

In this book, composed of original interviews never broadcast or


As a talk-show host for more than four decades, Larry King has encountered the most powerful and influential people in the world. Now, in Future Talk, he converses with some of today's most provocative thinkers to get their perspectives on what's in store for us in days to come.

In this book, composed of original interviews never broadcast or published before, Larry King takes us on a tour of the future of politics, religion, the media, war and peace, money, work, travel, sports, and the arts—all from the point of view of highly regarded individuals at the top of their fields.

King has conversations with: Stephen Jay Gould on the unprecedented challenges mankind faces; Marian Wright Edelman on the risks confronting families; Tim Russert on the media and political coverage; Doris Kearns Goodwin on the talents a future president will need to succeed; Gen. John Shalikashvili on military developments; Bill Gates on how computers and the Internet will continue to permeate our lives; Richard C. Holbrooke on the challenges of world diplomacy; C. Everett Koop on the increasingly volatile relationship between government and health care; Lester Thurow on world economics and how the United States needs to position itself; Albert Berkeley on how Wall Street will play less of a central role in investors' lives; Bob Costas on how sports will grow and change, as well as how they will be covered; Maya Angelou and Peter Max on the meanings and relevance of art; Isaac Mizrahi on what we'll be wearing; Stephen Cannell on what we'll be watching; and Robert Thurman and Elaine Pagels on spirituality and what we'll be doing to nourish our souls.These and many other interviews offer comments that are candid and opinionated, optimistic and pessimistic. They will engender reflection and surprise and ultimately provide insight into what tomorrow will bring.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Interesting and eminently worth pondering, the comments by 48 specialists in fields ranging from education to sports to the arts will alternately hearten and disquiet readers. In this collection of original essays, King, writing with his former radio producer, Piper, asks the sort of futuristic questions that elicit information one wants to know about: for example, Bill Gates's prediction that our homes and offices will be papered with flat screens and that we will carry a lightweight screen as we do a wallet, so we will always be "connected." Esther Dyson, head of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, carries forward Gates's predictions by commenting that the Internet will spawn "lots of communities which will have governments of their own and there will be multilateral agreements between them and between various governments." With unfortunate timing, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, in discussing the "majesty" of the presidential office, goes on to note: "There are qualities in presidents that are far more important than whether... they had an affair."And poet Maya Angelou, who is not overwrought by electronic icons, turns to literary ones with her suggested reading list for the coming century; it includes the likes of James Baldwin and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) FYI: The essays are also available on two 90-minute audiocassettes from HarperAudio.
In these previously unpublished, unbroadcast interviews with 43 leading personalities in diverse fields, the popular CNN talk-show host casts a wide angle lens on the challenges and promises of the next century. Witness: Maya Angelou on art, Bill Gates on the Internet's expansion, Gen. Shalikashvilli on military developments, and Dr. David Satcher on mutating microbes. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
CNN talk show host/newspaper columnist/author King takes on the future here, asking various movers and shakers their thoughts on what the next century holds. King (Tell It to the King, 1988; When Youþre from Brooklyn, 1992; etc.) and co-author Piper divide the book up into categories that include politics, science, medicine, technology, transportation, arts and entertainment, media, and vocations. Those interviewed range from Stephen Jay Gould and General John Shalikashvili to Bill Gates, Bob Costas, and Maya Angelou, all of them offering insights of varying quality. Some fascinate, such as Dr. C. Everett Koop's suggestion of electronic home care as a way to enable the elderly to remain quasi-independent. The former US surgeon general outlines a scenario in which a TV could remind people to take their medication, with another machine perhaps delivering the pill itself. Another intriguing possibility is immunizing children prenatally. Among the more mundane forecasts is the elimination of prime-time TV schedules as advances in technology allow people to decide when they will watch certain shows; tires that can be driven for up to 50 miles with no air in them; and jumpsuits as office "uniforms.þ The predictability of some forecasts can be attributed in part to the mundanity of King's questions. For instance, the most intelligent sportscaster around, Bob Costas, is reduced to the trivial when asked if sports uniforms will get wilder. Costas's response: Teams will continue to change uniforms every few years. Themes do arise, in particular society's increasing tendency toward isolation and the inadequacy of today's educational facilities to prepare tomorrow's workforce.Quibbles aside, King fans and millennium watchers should be pleased with this look into what the 21st century has in store. A breezy prose rendering of the interview style that has made King a one-man multimedia mogul. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Radio and TV satellite tour)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.83(d)

Read an Excerpt


Our destination is based not so much on where we are going as on where we are coming from. Consequently, I decided to talk with three individuals, each with a unique ability to look inside and, maybe more important, explain in clear language what they see. All these people have passed through Harvard, though I don't think that is a prerequisite for the ability to hold a mirror to ourselves and arrive at working definitions of who we are.

Stephen Jay Gould is the popular Harvard paleontologist who writes about the complex subjects of evolution and natural history so even I understand what he's talking about. Our interviews took place over a period of months, and the experience brought back fond memories of late nights in the radio studio as Stephen Jay Gould answered questions from callers across North America about who we are with a healthy combination of fact and wit. He never had to think about an answer then and he never paused during this series of questions either. I have come away from these sessions with Stephen knowing we are best measured by what we do off the clock rather than on the clock.

Farai Chideya is familiar as a political reporter to those who watched MTV during the 1996 presidential campaign. She was a regular on CNN's Early Edition every Monday morning. Readers know Farai from her essays in Time magazine, her writing for Vibe magazine, and her reporting in Newsweek. She was a 1996 Research Fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center, where she examined why people younger than thirty watch less television news than any other demographic. But her focus has always been on race relations, and as a result, she wrote thewell-received Don't Believe the Hype, which explored how misinformation is used by one race against another, and is finishing a second book about the racial makeup of America. Now a correspondent for ABC News, Farai Chideya is definitely a voice to be heeded both now and in the next century.

Who we are can be defined by how we treat our children and families. The twentieth century comes to an end with the phenomenon of both parents working, an activity never before seen (except during the world wars) in our society. We are still seeking ways to care for children while parents are away from the home, and the first solution has always been the public school. This is changing. The workplace is becoming more and more family-friendly, as is government. A driving force in this direction is Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, an important and--dare I say?--loud voice for children and family. Its logo contains the words, "The sea is so wide and my boat is so small," but I can tell you that with Marian around, the waves don't seem quite as threatening.

Stephen Jay Gould
paleontologist at Harvard University

I don't believe in prediction, prophecy, or punditry, but no one has ever improved on the old biblical injunction (Micah 6:8): Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

LK: Okay, since you're the expert on when we began, when does the twenty-first century begin?

Gould: I'm going to celebrate on December 31, 1999 and on December 31, 2000. Each one is legitimate.

LK: Let me understand this: There was no year 0, correct?

Gould: That's exactly why technically, if you believe all centuries need to have one hundred years, as we usually do, and because there was no year 0, every hundredth year has to go with the previous century. 1900 goes with the eighteen-hundred years and 1700 goes with the sixteen-hundred years, so by that calculation, 2000 goes with the nineteen-hundred years to form the last year of the twentieth century, and the millennium starts in the year 2001. This is why both Arthur Clarke and Stanley Kubrick named their book and film the way they did.

LK: So I should follow that idea and not do anything special on December 31, 1999?

Gould: No. It's arbitrary anyway. The system that gave rise to this dilemma didn't even begin until the seventh century, and nobody living in the year 1 knew that it was year 1. I think people feel the year 2000 looks like a better year for a celebration because of their car odometer. When it moves from "1999" to "2000," that's more interesting than when it moves from "2000" to "2001." So to justify this, we're going to have to proclaim the first century just had ninety-nine years.

This issue comes up every century, but in the past, when there really was a pop culture--high culture distinction, official century celebrations were always in '01. But in this century, pop and high culture have amalgamated and pop culture has won, so we're just going to celebrate it in the year 2000.

LK: We're not a patient people.

Gould: No, we all have car odometers.

LK: We are about to enter a time that others in these pages say will have a lot of change and a lot of speed, and it makes me wonder if this will change us as human beings somehow.

Gould: If you think of human history in geological terms we've only had civilization for 10,000 years, which can't be measured when you consider the history of life is three and one-half billion years old. It's a geological eye blink. Cultural change and cultural evolution are so rapid relative to biological evolution because it has such different properties of inheritance. We invent things and pass them on to the next generation, and we accumulate, and each generation makes improvements. Biological change doesn't work that way because anything you do in your lifetime doesn't mean a damn thing because you're only passing on the genes that you had, and which your ancestors had.

LK: Technically we can do more things than we've ever been able to do, all at the same time. Does that potential overload do anything to us biologically?
Gould: I don't know what our biologic limits are.

Meet the Author

Larry King is the host of Larry King Live on CNN. In the talk-show business for more than forty years, he has gained honors, including the Peabody Award, five Ace Awards, and the Broadcaster of the Year Award. His column appears on USA Today.

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