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The Second Curve: Thoughts on Reinventing Society

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  186 Ratings  ·  30 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 li
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
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
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.
Digby Scott
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Excellent and thought provoking. As you'd expect from Charles Handy.
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
Faisal Al-Harbi
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
المنحنى البديل أو الثاني هو منحنى يجري صعوداً ونزولاً بجوار المنحنى الأساسي غير أنه طريق بديل مبنى على ابتكارات وإبداعات.. فأنت عندما تتبع نمط معيّن في أي شئ كان من دون ابتكار فمآل طريقك إلى نهاية مسدودة.. أما وجود طريق بديل دائماً فيعني استدامة سيرك واتخاذك طريقاً بديلاً عند كل نهاية طريق.

الكتاب يشرح هذه الفكرة بشكل جميل ويضرب في ذلك الأمثلة ويتجاوز إلى بعض المواضيع الجانبية التي لها علاقة بالفكرة الأساسية مثل النمو بجوانبه والعلاقات الإنسانية.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
Joel Klein
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Currently on a no-reading-spree, (tougher than I thought, obviously), but is a worthwhile read, and favor it over many of the business books out there.
Octavio Diaz
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good thoughts on a new era for society and reinvention for individuals
Apr 13, 2015 marked it as to-read
C recommended this
Oleksandr Karpenko
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Good book, but nothing groundbreaking that I was not aware off. No "wow" moment, more of "duh, knew that"
Of the good things-sense of humour and easy to read
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some very interesting ideas. Some chapters may need re-reading, something I have never done with previous books.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
interesting short essays
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and thought provoking. How wonderful that a man in his 80s can be at the cutting edge of thinking in these fast moving, internet-driven days.
Nick Bachusky
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible, thought provoking book. many of the arguments can be put into reality if we are willing to do so. a must read
Vania Furtado
rated it really liked it
Nov 22, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2015
Joe Taylor
rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2015
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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.
“Anything that takes us out of our comfort zones for a while can act as a reminder that the past we are used to may not be our best future.” 3 likes
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