A time for forecasts

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It’s New Year’s time again and along with resolutions, goal setting, and bowl games, it’s time for experts to make forecasts. The bad news is that most of them will be wrong. The good news, at least for the forecasters, is that no one will ever check back to see how they did.

Nevertheless, you will see and hear many forecasts, predictions and prognostications in the coming days. I offer you a selection of quotes to help you make sense of them and find nuggets of value that will help you do better.

William Gibson

“The future is already here – it is just unevenly distributed.”

Alvin Toffler

“The future always arrives too fast…and in the wrong order.”

Norman Macrae

“An extrapolation of the trends of the 1880s would show today’s cities buried under horse manure.”

Mark Twain

“We were always going to be rich next year.”

Peter Drucker

“We only know two things about the future. It cannot be known. It will be different from what exists now and from what we now expect.”

And finally, my favorite, the only one you can count on. This one’s from Calvin Coolidge.

“Business will be either better or worse.”

Reading Suggestions

Yesterday’s Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future

Popular Mechanics’The Wonderful Future that Never Was: Flying Cars, Mail Delivery by Parachute, and Other Predictions from the Past

The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World by Peter Schwartz

WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us by Tim O’Reilly

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