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The Second Curve: Thoughts on Reinventing Society

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  324 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Britain's leading guru looks to the future.

Charles Handy is one of the giants of contemporary thought. His books on management – including Understanding Organizations and Gods of Management – have changed the way we view business. His work on broader issues and trends – such as Beyond Certainty – has changed the way we view society.

In The Second Curve, Handy builds on a l
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 12th 2015 by Random House Business
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Steve Petherbridge
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Why 5 out if 5? Definitely one of my books of the year. I thought that I would read it over a couple days. How wrong I was. The series of essays were so thought provoking, I kept pausing, assimilating what I had just read, sometimes rereading a paragraph and, most unusual for me, appraising my own life. I have been reading Charles Handy for 30 years. He is described as a social philosopher, but, is more an observer of the daily ritual of life as well as being a philosopher. He is an eminent mana ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that you will get lost in. You will consult it, consider it and radiate its knowledge. Here the author gives thought to the future and examines what challenges, opportunities and problems we may face.

Is the current capitalist-led system sustainable? Are we building a society that is set to implode upon itself? What might the ideal society of the future look like and do we need to change our roles to fit into this new world? All this and more is considered in a non-hysterical, resp
Hoàng N.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-reading
A dazzling book that contains 16 thought-provoking essays about innovation and reinvention in our age. Charles B. Handy, no doubt an excellent academic and of the best contemporary thinker has let us in a journey of thought experiments, of the "what if" questions to many of our society's current problems: education, capitalism, the rise of A.I and automatons, the breakdown of society and traditional relationships and marriages, politics, democracy, the workplace of the future, the free market... ...more
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an easy and worthwhile read form a wise old gentleman.
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
I started to read this book with great hopes. It seems to me that one of the great unknowns at the moment - with regards to the Three Horizons model - is what provides the momentum for change. What is it that forces us to move from our current position of H1 to the new paradigm of H3? The first couple of chapters start to deal with this question, but then the focus starts to blur away. The thread is never really taken up again, which I found disappointing.

The book consists of 16 essays and an in
Dustan Woodhouse
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Much of the book challenged my views on various things, which was stimulating for sure.

The idea of delaying home ownership until one is 50 is the sort of statement that perhaps holds little merit until one is 50 (I am 45) and reflects on the costs of ownership vs. renting. The costs of being tied down, indebted, locked into maintaining an asset, etc.

Although the counter argument seems also to be made in the essay on investments and pensions. Here the long term benefits of owning real estate for
Adrian White
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
There's a lot of good stuff in here, as you might expect from Charles Handy, but the rather slapdash throwing together of the content and the many copy editing mistakes detracted from my enjoyment.
I'm with him on so many things but I just can't bring myself to trust him because of his early employment with Shell: you can take the man out the oil company but you can't take the oil company out the man.
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
A well written set of assays on a variety of subjects relevant to todays's society. Full of insights and observations and anecdotes about politics, managements, finance, education etc. Whilst many appear reasonable I would have liked some more rigorous analysis with facts behind the author's proposals for improvements and changes needed. Still, informative book worth reading. ...more
Digby Scott
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Excellent and thought provoking. As you'd expect from Charles Handy. ...more
Jim Lavis
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warning!! The average Joe is not paying attention to this critical transformation of our world. It’s happening right now! We are converting into a jobless society because of automation and robotics. The scale of this is overwhelming. It’s estimated that within the next thirty years, depending on the scalability of quantum computing, we’ll lose 40% of the current jobs that are out there.

Yes, this new world will create new jobs, but not to the extent that will support our current population let al
Jonathan DB
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At a work xmas party I mentioned this book and a colleague said 'I quit my job because of this book', her boss then mentioned he had read it too. We were all in agreement it was brilliant. Only a man in his 80s could write a book like this. CH has had so many careers. You have to invest in the next thing before the current thing is out of steam. The chapters are all laid out to be read in the time it takes to commute to work. It covers a wide range of subjects, not always so prescriptive but con ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
A reasonably interesting set of fairly compact essays exploring a range of issues surrounding life and work. Handy was much stronger when talking about his specialist subject – business – than elsewhere. Although there was a general theme of his concept of the Second Curve, in general, the essays felt a bit aimless; Handy jumped from one idea to the next, never quite adequately developing any of them. Nonetheless a fairly enjoyable, accessible, and thought-provoking read.
Kym Hamer
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I saw Charles Handy speak a few years ago when this book was first released and I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it. The Second Curve contains 16 essays full of provocative thinking and musings about the world live in and where it all might end up. It's written well and accessibly and I was enthralled from beginning to end. Right up my street. 5 stars. ...more
Deepak Imandi
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the first one from Charles Handy that I have ever read.
Exceptional is still an understatement.
The kind of topics chosen and the rationale provided is thought-provoking.
His concept of the Second curve seems risky, yet totally justifiable.
Recommended & definitely deserves 2-3 reads.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
One of the worst books I have ever read. Simply gives ramblings with no evidence or substance behind them. Everything he says is obvious, e.g. the internet offers opportunities but also has threats. I learned nothing new.
Joseph Busa
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The musings of an author/philosopher, husband and grandfather - whose life has been spent in business and the study of organisational behaviour.

The book makes for a thought provoking, interesting read - especially the essay on education.
Catalin Munteanu
Absolutely amaizing book! If before I read books that had only described what other people did, in order to follow them as an example, here the author shows his own, objective ideas. Can’t wait to read it again and again.
Tom Calvard
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A short accessible collection of essays from an ageing, mellow, philosophical management guru. Feels clichéd and underwhelming in places, but also has a kind humanistic attitude toward ideas of building a better future society with and for future generations.
Andrea Misura Zuvela
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I ever read. Inspirational, soothing, exciting, tedious, exquisite.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How society should be changes

Thought provoking idea about how the society should be, and particularly how the individual should be to find their “true self”.
Nacho Bassino
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn't find it incredibly revealing. It has good thorough thoughts of current trends and their impacts. But at the end I couldn't gather the strength to finish it ...more
Gloria Wu
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I want more on each topic!
Ovidiu Hancila
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read!!!
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting critique of how recognising the 'second curve' in life is a vital part to change and progress as an individual and as an organisation. I really enjoyed particular chapters that focused on personal and career growth (The DIY Society and workplace) and found Handy's personal reflections of the future and how society will change not only incredibly insightful but also as someone in their mid-20s, in fact spot on in how our economy is becoming more and more contract-based jobs, pursui ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many moons ago, while I was still working as a librarian, Charles Handy was one of the most frequently requested business authors.

Handy's new book, The Second Curve, Handy sets out a vision of how society, governments, business and economies will change over the next 20 years. Handy believes that many things that work today will not continue to work into the future and argues that now is the time to embark on a ‘Second Curve’.

Handy believes that we can do better, individually and collectively i
Manoj Bhatt
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The way second curve is explained is very thoughtful. It is not just leaders or society but individual responsibility to create a second curve in order to give this world a second chance to evolve. I am not quite with the writer about the thoughts on Aristotle. Democracy and Federation are nicely interpreted by writer. There are things which we do see daily but we don't understand how and why are they and which needed to be eliminated from the society but since we don't understand we don't work ...more
David Jennings
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Handy revisits and extends some of the themes he has been dealing with since The Age of Unreason and The Empty Raincoat. If you've read those two, there's not a lot that will surprise you in this account, but it's a good refresher and Handy's ethical focus and centre of gravity are as strong as ever. ...more
Patrick Mugumya
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Charles Handy writes like the philosopher that he is. He's unrestricted and his ideas aren't predictions for the future. They are ideas happening right now across the world. I'd recommend this for anyone struggling to reinvent themselves. Those stuck in gear one and looking for inspiration to move faster into another lane on the journey for self discovery. This was written for you. ...more
Ray Lucas
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For years, Charles Handy's writings have provided us with a view of the future with the clarity of a smoke-free kind of crystal ball. The Second Curve is no different. Want a clear and clean window on the future? Read this book! ...more
Carlo Visintainer
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
i didn't manage to finish the book. that's already a statement of how much i liked its content. i found it quite boring and repetitive.. i read 100 pages and then i had enough. very ambitious purpose (what attracted me in the first place) but not achieved in my humble opinion ...more
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An Irish author/philosopher specialising in organisational behaviour and management. Among the ideas he has advanced are the "portfolio worker" and the "Shamrock Organization".

For many years he worked as a professor at London Business School.

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The last five years of world history have been nothing if not...eventful. When living in interesting times, there's nothing better for...
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