Review: A Vision for 2012: Planning for Extraordinary Change

3 Star, Future
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
3.0 out of 5 stars Annoying
September 4, 2009
John L. Petersen

John Petersen’s earlier work was vastly more interesting and more structured than this little 4.5 inch by 7 inch 100 page double-spaced blowing in the ears of Gary Hart and Leon Fuerth, among others. See my reviews of his earlier work:
Out of the blue: Wild cards and other big future surprises : how to anticipate and respond to profound change
The Road to 2015: Profiles of the Future

This book lacks a strategic analytic model and fluffs around the edges of important literatures without ever striking the right note.

The author is a dedicated, intelligent practitioner, but he is neither a scholar nor an analyst in the classic sense of the word–I found this book, in the larger context in which I read and think, annoying. A form of classic comic book for busy people in Washington who will nod and confirm the author’s sagacity without ever recognizing that there is really nothing here.

There is not a word in this book about corruption, integrity, information asymmetries, data pathologies, or the out and out rape of America by the two political parties.

The author is flat out wrong when he states on page 52 that “Humans don’t deal well with discontinuites and rapid change.” That alone dropped this book to three stars, and the rest of the fluffy-face stuff kept it there, including the intelligent but recycled and truncated material from earlier books.

I no longer load images since Amazon destroyed over 350 of them just to remove 12 instances of the two-faced Bush-Obama “who am I” illustration, if you want to see the graphics that go with a world-class strategic analytic model, find Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, and click on graphics.

Here are eight other books I consider substantially more useful than this one:
High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them
The Future of Life
The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters
Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It

I confess to no longer being tolerant of those who wish to pretend that the two-party tyranny works and that if we only elect the “right” person it will all be made right. Obama is creating the Obama Youth with direct addresses to school children, something I consider an outrageous abuse of political power (mine will be absent on “the day”), while the radical right dreams of Petreaus-Palin. There is ONE solution and one solution ONLY for America staying a Republic and getting past 2012 in any sort of order: an Electoral Reform Act that mandates free and fair elections beginning in 2010; and a Smart Nation-Safe Nation Act. The average American has more common sense and more integrity than anyone cited by this author or now serving in elected or appointed office, and I therefore put this book down with a slight sense of disgust…..this is the band playing on as the Titanic sinks.

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