The Future: A Very Short introduction [#516]
The Future: A Very Short introduction [#516]


  • Explains the history of our conception of the future from the emergence of the theory of linear time in ancient Greece two and a half thousand-years ago, and looks at the way human beings have prophesied, foretold, predicted, and controlled the future
  • Introduces the exciting field of futures studies, spanning social, cultural, and environmental innovations, as well as technological advances, and dispels some of the common misconceptions about the field
  • Discusses the reality of multiple futures in a world of quantum possibility, and explores how we can become the creative agents of our desired futures

From the beginning of time, humans have been driven by both a fear of the unknown and a curiosity to know. We have always yearned to know what lies ahead, whether threat or safety, scarcity or abundance. Throughout human history, our forebears tried to create certainty in the unknown, by seeking to influence outcomes with sacrifices to gods, preparing for the unexpected with advice from oracles, and by reading the stars through astrology. As scientific methods improve and computer technology develops we become ever more confident of our capacity to predict and quantify the future by accumulating and interpreting patterns form the past, yet the truth is there is still no certainty to be had. 
In this Very Short Introduction Jennifer Gidley considers some of our most burning questions: What is "the future "?; Is the future a time yet to come?; Or is it a utopian place?; Does the future have a history?; Is there only one future or are there many possible futures? She asks if the future can ever be truly predicted or if we create our own futures - both hoped for and feared - by our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and concludes by analysing how we can learn to study the future.
The Very Short Introductions Podcast: Episode 7 The Future


1: Three Thousand Years of Futures
2: The Future Multiplied
3: The Evolving Scholarship of Futures Studies
4: Crystal Balls, Flying Cars and Robots
5: Technotopian or Human-Centred Futures?
6: Grand Global Futures Challenges
Further Reading & websites
Appendix: Global Futures Timeline


Jennifer Gidley has extensive experience in the futures studies field, combining scholarly research, academic teaching, and leadership of the World Futures Studies Federation (UNESCO Partner). She was re-elected as President in 2013 for a second four-year term to lead 300 expert futures researchers, teachers and professional practitioners from over 60 countries. Jennifer has held academic positions in Australia at Southern Cross (1995-2001); Swinburne (2003-2006); and RMIT (2008-2012); and holds visiting academic posts in Europe.

"This pocket-size book ... gives the interested reader an amazing overview on the topic of future and the research field of futures studies ... The rich knowledge and the packed information of ideas, dates, and names is especially helpful for anyone working in the terrain of futures studies as well as students in the field to connect the dots of the many international strains, which often seem so disconnected." - Stefanie Ollenburg, beFORE

"[Gidley] deserves congratulations for helping a lay audience better understand [the future]." - Charles Brass, Compass

"We all should give Jennifer Gidley a standing ovation. This is an absolutely wonderful source, as a basic textbook about the field, and as a very good short introduction about the futureS for everyone." - Jim Dator, World Futures Review

"This is a remarkable book, a useful guide to the future, a revision guide to the future and a reminder of what future studies are all about ... a must read for everyone whether you are a trainee aspiring futurist or a fully qualified one with a PhD." - Ian Seymour Yeoman, Journal of Tourism Futures

"The book is a must read for erudites desiring to broaden their knowledge on the subject. For those considering applying futures thinking in their academic or corporate research, the book serves as a guide for further reading based on Jennifer Gidleys deep and thorough understanding of futures studies as a discipline." - Scenario Magazine

"Brilliant and concise This book not only raises the issues in a highly readable manner, but also raises awareness, and as such I can recommend it unreservedly." - David Lorimer, Network Review

"A wonderfully concise and brilliantly written book" - Jade Taylor-Salazar, E&T Magazine

"A thoroughly researched and beautifully expressed invitation to look deeper at this fascinating field of enquiry" - Richard Slaughter, Foresight International


ISBN : 9780198735281

Jennifer M. Gidley
184 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





The Future: A Very Short introduction [#516]

The Future: A Very Short introduction [#516]

The Future: A Very Short introduction [#516]