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Uncharted: How to Map the Future by [Margaret Heffernan]
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Uncharted: How to Map the Future Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 167 ratings

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"An original and beautifully written look into how the events that have the most profound effect on humanity cannot be predicted. . . . From beginning to end, this is a wonderful and timely book that eloquently describes the challenges we face in our time and the skills we need to develop to thrive in the future." --QRCA Views

"As an entrepreneur and CEO turned thought leader and TED speaker, Margaret has a gift for both shaping and anticipating trends. In this powerful book, she challenges the common assumption that history repeats itself and teaches us how we can prepare for--and adapt to--the unexpected." --Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals

"The cumulative result of Heffernan's smartly assembled case studies and insights is a thought-provoking look at how readers can face down a sometimes frightening future with courage and grace." --Publishers Weekly

"By the turn of the century, innovations such as computing and the internet were turbocharging the forecasting business to an extraordinary degree, as Margaret Heffernan notes in her excellent (and very timely) new book Uncharted. . . . As Heffernan stresses, while the forecasting business has made its 'experts' very rich, it is also based on a fallacy: the idea that the future can be neatly extrapolated from the past. Moreover, the apparent success of some pundits in predicting events (such as the 2008 crash) makes them so overconfident that they get locked into particularly rigid models." --Gillian Tett, Financial Times

"Heffernan is admired for books that question the received wisdom of how management works; she is a business guru who brings the stern discipline of good sense to the business book genre. In this book she turns her attention to a topic that absorbs most business leaders--and the rest of us too: how to think about what the future holds. . . . Wise and appealingly human." --Tim Harford, Financial Times


"A polemic against the dangers of docility and 'groupthink' in every walk of life." --Financial Times, Books of the Year

"Writing in clear, flowing prose, Heffernan draws on psychological and neurological studies and interviews with executives, whistleblowers and white-collar criminals." --The New York Times

"Entertaining and compellingly argued." --Sunday Times

"An engaging read, packed with cautionary tales . . . Heffernan shows why we close our eyes to facts that threaten our families, our livelihood, and our self-image--and, even better, she points the way out of the darkness." --Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and When

"A tour de force of brilliant insights." --Philip Zimbardo, author of The Time Paradox --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Book Description

How can we think about the future? What do we need to do – and who do we need to be? --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07SXSTB3B
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster UK (20 February 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1327 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 362 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 167 ratings

About the author

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MARGARET HEFFERNAN is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive and author. She was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University. She worked in BBC Radio for five years where she wrote, directed, produced and commissioned dozens of documentaries and dramas. As a television producer, she made documentary films for Timewatch, Arena, and Newsnight. She was one of the producers of Out of the Doll's House, the prize-winning documentary series about the history of women in the twentieth century. She designed and executive produced a thirteen part series on The French Revolution for the BBC and A&E. The series featured, among others, Alan Rickman, Alfred Molina, Janet Suzman, Simon Callow and Jim Broadbent and introduced both historian Simon Schama and playwright Peter Barnes to British television. She also produced music videos with Virgin Records and the London Chamber Orchestra to raise attention and funds for Unicef's Lebanese fund.

Leaving the BBC, she ran the trade association IPPA, which represented the interests of independent film and television producers and was once described by the Financial Times as "the most formidable lobbying organization in England."

In 1994, she returned to the United States where she worked on public affair campaigns in Massachusetts and with software companies trying to break into multimedia. She developed interactive multimedia products with Peter Lynch, Tom Peters, Standard & Poors and The Learning Company. She then joined CMGI where she ran, bought and sold leading Internet businesses, serving as Chief Executive Officer for InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and iCAST Corporation. She was named one of the Internet’s Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999, one of the Top 25 by Streaming Media magazine and one of the Top 100 Media Executives by The Hollywood Reporter. Her "Tear Down the Wall" campaign against AOL won the 2001 Silver SABRE award for public relations.

In 2004, Margaret published THE NAKED TRUTH: A Working Woman's Manifesto about Business and What Really Matters (Jossey-Bass) and in 2007 she brought out WOMEN ON TOP: How Female Entrepreneurs are Changing the Rules for Business Success. She is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Simmons College in Boston and Executive in Residence at Babson College. She sits on the Council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the UK as well as one the boards of several private companies. Margaret blogs for the Huffington Post and BNET and writes for magazines around the world. She was recently featured on television in The Secret Millionaire and on radio in Changing the Rules. She has written three plays for the BBC and is just starting her fourth. She is married with two children.


As the banks were melting down, I kept wondering: Why did no one see this coming? I could see it, many people around me could see it. That the world was running on debt was plain to many people. So why were we so surprised? And then I thought: this feeling is familiar. That sensation of knowing something and not knowing something. Skeletons in cupboards. Emperors new clothes. The elephant in the room. The idea that you're safe as long as you don't recognize the one thing that truly threatens you. I'd seen it in people who smoked and knew they shouldn't, others who never opened their credit card bills, in marriages where you knew one of them was having an affair. And I suddenly realized: that's what it is. In some walk of life, we are all wilfully blind. And I started to wonder: How exactly does that work....?

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5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely timely, highly recommended reading.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 April 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Beating down a straw man
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 September 2020
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4 people found this helpful
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Sarah Wallington
5.0 out of 5 stars An optimistic book - highly recommended.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 August 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 June 2020
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Gavin Deadman
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking read which makes you feel comfortable with uncertainty
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 April 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking read which makes you feel comfortable with uncertainty
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 April 2021
A thought-provoking read which explains the impossibility of predicting a certain future, but using experiments, working together and staying open-minded results in a more probable future.

Remarkably this book was written just before the Covid-19 pandemic!

Even though futures are impossible to predict, by having shared, passionate guiding principles or an inspiring vision can increase the chances of reaching our goals even with extreme uncertainty, where we only need to look at how art and cathedrals are created as evidence of this.

The book touches on how traditional management is addicted to masterplans and want safety and certainty, not creativity and risk that come with experimentation, which as a result constrains their chance to map a safer future. This section reminded me of Waterfall vs. Lean/Agile.

More automation is a common prediction of the future, but Margaret explains that this comes with a risk of falling into a trap: more need for certainty, more dependency on technology; less skill, more need. The more we depend on machines to think for us the less good we become of thinking for ourselves.

"Making the future is a collective activity...the capacity to see multiple futures depends critically on the widest possible range of contributors and collaborators."
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