The Future: A Very Short Introduction

This ground-breaking book is immensely enjoyable and stimulating for all readers. Its breadth and scope is astonishing as it considers some of the most burning questions of our time: What is The Future?; Is it 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? 

Gidley 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 our futures.

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 from the past. 

Yet the truth is there is still no certainty to be had, because there is no one future. There are as many futures as there are people on he planet. We can all image, design, and begin to create the futures we want: futures that are healthy, equitable and sustainable.  

‘The Future’ is the first Oxford University Press book on futures thinking. It is now used in futures studies programs in Universities around the world, and is translated into Arabic, Turkish, Italian and Greek with several other translations now in progress.

“Gidley has given us a stunning description of the new field of future's studies and of how we humans can help choose, and shape, the coming future.”
- Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Wendell Bell, Yale University

"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 to futures for everyone."
- Emeritus Professor Jim Dator. Editor, World Futures Review

"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. Editor, Network Review