Book Review - Powerful Times by Eamonn Kelly
There are so many changes and forces at work today in society, and it's hard to see where they might lead. And for everyone who paints a rosy picture about something like nanotechnology, there's someone else who thinks the very same thing foretells the doom of the human race. Eamonn Kelly does a very nice job in looking at both sides in the book Powerful Times - Rising To The Challenge Of Our Uncertain World.
Section 1 - What's Happening? - Predicting the Present: History Unleashed; Clarity and Craziness; Secular and Sacred; Power and Vulnerability; Technology Acceleration and Pushback; Intangible and Physical Economies; People and Planet
Section 2 - What If? - Changing for the Challenges Ahead: Governance; Innovation
Section 3 - What's Next? - Scenarios for the Next Decade: Three Snapshots of the Future
Section 4 - So What? - Acting in an Era of Transformation: Creating Our New Future
Endnotes; Afterword: Using This Book in Your Life and Work
This is one of those books that forces you to examine both sides of the coin... your position and the flip side. Section 1 is built on contrasts. For instance, In Secular and Sacred, Kelly looks at how the resurgence of religion and spirituality in society has caused people to examine what's really important to them. On the other hand, it's also deeply divided countries and cultures as radical fundamentalism is used to drive followers and forcibly export beliefs. Depending on which side you stand, you'll easily identify with part of the chapter. While tempting to just write off the other half as "he's wrong", the value lies in letting those alternative views moderate your stance and open up your field of vision. Same with the chapter on economies. While it's important to have a market-driven economy that generally benefits society as a whole, those gains can often come at the cost of maintaining a "low wage economy" in developing countries. As a result, the gap between the haves and have nots continues to increase, trapping ever-increasing parts of the population in a poverty cycle that is hard to break. While there are no "single right answers" any more, Kelly lays out a number of alternate outcomes that might occur given the current trends that are in place. It's impossible to tell just what outcome might win out, but it's helpful to start thinking beyond the "here and now" to see how our actions might determine our future.
An enjoyable read while also provoking thought and self-examination, both personally and as a corporate whole...