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The Art Of The Long View: Planning For The Future In An Uncertain World

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  521 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Presenting a revolutionary approach to developing strategic vision in business and in life, a guide for managers, entrepreneurs, and investors explains how to apply creative and intuitive skills to corporate practices. Reprint.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 15th 1996 by Crown Business (first published 1991)
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Michael Burnam-Fink
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic, innovation, 2012
I've been calling myself a futurist for the past five years, and for five years, I've been lying. But no longer, because I've read this book, which is every bit as a thought-provoking as Science Fiction for Prototyping proved disappointing. Peter Schwartz is one of the founders of the Global Business Network consulting firm, and honed his skills designing scenarios for Shell Oil in the 1980s. In The Art of the Long View, he makes a strong case for the utility of scenario planning, explains how t ...more
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's easy for a book published in 1991 to feel dated, especially when the second last chapter of the book is titled "The World in 2005: Three Scenarios" and when the book references Mikhail Gorbachev. But Chapter 9 aside, The Art of the Long View is still a very relevant read for anyone looking at the medium to long term and wondering how they can position themselves and their organisations to meet future challenges. More so in these volatile times when it seems that we're not just confronted by ...more
Jonathan Jeckell
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had major reservations about this book at first. I've been deeply steeped in books like "Thinking Fast and Slow" and "Think Twice" that warn about the dangers of our intuition and our penchant for developing a coherent narrative. As I continued, the author emphasized the need to develop multiple scenarios and avoid latching on to one of them as your official or favorite prediction. He gave pretty solid guidance o ...more
Nate Huston
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it
A bit like "Good Strategy Bad Strategy" in that it is fairly straightforward and discusses standard corporate planning and strategy fare. Again, nothing too earth-shattering, though to someone not familiar with this sort of scenario-based planning, it is a great introduction. For the more advanced reader or practitioner, it still has value insofar as it simplifies and codifies what good scenario-based planning is all about - better decision-making.

The most valuable insight in Schwartz's book is
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shows its age, but well worth reading, sold on scenario-building.

I'm reviewing the 1996 edition.

What the book does well.
It’s a great sales pitch for the concept of scenario-building. I'm sold on the idea.
It's very approachable and easy reading. There are a lot of anecdotes, asides about history, culture, and social observations. I appreciated Peter Schwartz's keen powers of observation.
That said, the writing style is mostly in the form of anecdotes, most of which will be confusing to readers wh
Jun 17, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
I hate not finishing a book. I’ve only “not finished” three or four books in my life, this book really tested me to the end. It’s on the Navy recommended reading list so I pulled it down and took it for a spin. Let me sum it up for you: think of all possibilities and what you would do should those possibilities come to light. Honestly, that’s it. Don’t waste you time, move on. There is a great deal of attempting to back up the art of looking forward and thinking of all possibilities with data bu ...more
Mohamed Yehia
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book is one of the classics in the strageic scenario planning technique as a more effective way of strategic planing than the traditional fixed way of seeing only one future state & work towards it.

It talks about the origin of the subject & the first projects that had successfully used this planing tool.

The books lays the foundations of this field of knowledge in a really good way, with an easy to understand language away from any embegouty.

The process he describes is a bit old aft
J  Brown
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cfp
This book is a must for anyone who needs the understanding of what the long hard hours are leading to at the end of the day. Once you have dedicated yourself to your craft you can appreciate the ideas the Peter Schwatrz presents in The Art of the Long View. His explanation of deliberate practice is a keen insight on how to focus and make the most of the fruits of a punishing workload. For those who are disciplined and/or fortunate enough not to have gone through the labor of deliberate practice ...more
Ryan Coons
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Somewhat dated, but usable.
Nick Lofthouse
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A must read for anyone involved in strategy, projections, or forecasting.
Scott Ford
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
A bit too redundant and being nearly 27 years old also made it a challenging read. This could have been a 20 page white paper or a great HBR article with the same data. The guy loves what he does and writes like it - in a long-winded fashion. I would think someone with a career in business would be more succinct.
Neeraj Bali
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
An interesting primer to strategic thinking by the 'Scenario Method'. I enjoyed its simplicity, but wished it had not beend so simplistic. As I read, I hungrily looked for a complete example of decision making that would open a new window for me. For example, the author builds three futuristic scenarios for the world (for the year 2005) but, at the end of it, does not mention - leave alone explain - what decisions are influenced by such an exercise.

I also tried relating it to strategic decision
Matt Mayevsky
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Art of the Long View is one of the best books I've read about foresight. The publication contains many valuable examples of business use of foresight with particular emphasis on the scenario method. What can you learn from a book? First of all, the publication opens your eyes to the possibilities offered by foresight in every area of life. Second, the author puts emphasis on business applications convincing about the need and possibilities of foresight for both corporations and small busines ...more
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Foundational text on scenario planning

Peter Schwartz evidences charming honesty and humility about his experiences building scenarios. He learned from his failures, so he includes them, as well as his rather impressive successes. Schwartz emphasizes that scenario planning is not the same thing as predicting the future and that complete accuracy is not the goal. Yet, it is still striking how accurately his 1991 scenarios played out. He may have missed a few specific events and trends but, if you’
Wens Tan
Apr 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Peter Schwartz is an experienced futurist who had done scenario planning for companies such as Shell. He is the co-founder of Global Business Network, a consultancy for stategic scenario planning.

This book is about his experience in and views of using scenarios to help companies prepare strategically for an uncertain future. The idea is to use easily grasped "stories" to help companies decide whether their decisions can make sense in different possible futures, and to even consider alternative
Chris Lund
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, futurism
I'm not really sure what the purpose of this book is. It seems to basically boil down to "you should consider a few different possible futures before making decisions and you should be prepared for futures that are different from what you expect". While this sort of thinking is certainly useful, the book doesn't really add a whole lot more than that. It covers some basic strategies and concepts for structuring potential future "scenarios", but for the most part it reads more like a long advertis ...more
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
This book focused on scenario planning used as a tool largely in MNCs for long term strategic planning and decision making. It is a tool to predict the future based on the foreseeable trends. While some content in the book may be dated, the scenario planning methodologies and experiences shared by the author are ever-relevant although I wouldn't treat them as the only ways to gaze the future.

More importantly is to have an adaptable, flexible, and inquisitive mind. Read widely and be intently obs
Managers and planners should think of scenarios and then make plans when thinking of the long term future. Generally what if everything gets better, what if it stays the same and what if it gets so much worse. Then they should analyze what signals or events will help them recognize which scenario is happening/will happen.

Why I started this book: It's on the Navy's Professional Reading list.

Why I finished it: Force of will. This is an interesting idea but it needed an editor and an update. The o
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the books that influenced me most. An extraordinarily generative way to 'learn from the future'. It was part of the secret of why the South African transition to democracy was successful as it was used to make the parties get realistic about the possible futures facing South Africa. But it is also a dramatically useful business tool for dealing with the unforeseeable future by trying to capture the possible scenarios that might unfold and finding ways to be ready or at least awar ...more
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really did not expect to like this book as much as I did, but I feel ilke it gets me. It really discusses who I try to be...a person who is constantly trying to stay on top of everything, and understand how the future may lay that I may create stories within that future. (whether on a small or large scale) It explains my draw to book stores, and asking too many questions of people I just meet, among other things. I think it is an excellent book, and offers a lot of insight into humani ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
use scenario method to think about and plan for future possibilities
building blocks of scenario are: society, technology, economics,politics, and environment

3 types: more of same, worse , different -better with profound social changes

problem of denial - may not be able to contemplate so use scenario/stories with figures
3 broad perspectives - optimists, pessimists and status quo seekers
look at broad picture and specific areas of concern - global and local
conduct wide research - include fringe ide
Jun 22, 2008 rated it liked it
It presents a pretty interesting concept of how to plan and see things, but I found it a bit repetitive. I also didnt like that the author was very arrogant. He makes a claim that he predicted the fall of Russia and the CIA wouldnt listen to him. The last few chapters talked about a concept of the teenager of the future that I found a bit unrealistic. It is worth a read because it has interesting thoughts just dont take it for ground truth.
Mark Lacy
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read this because of Stewart Brand's "The Clock of the Long Now", and because I thought it might be helpful if I changed my career at my company to something more related to scenario planning and systems dynamics. Not a hard book to read, but it's not readily apparent how something that seems a relatively simple process could have such a huge impact in various businesses. Guess I need to see it in action sometime.
Really enjoyed this book - the concept of scenarios, story telling new ideas for yourself and seeing them as myths of the future is something which really appeals to me.

I ended up writing my own story as I read it, how I saw myself both now and in the future.

I liked the idea of how there are plots in the world, which affect your individual story. Interestingly this isn't a creative writing book, but a book about being entrepreneurial!
Nov 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Consider multiple scenarios for the future, focusing on uncertainties and what could make your assumptions fall through. Practice mental preparation for alternate futures according to their likelihood, and push to encounter new ideas. Scenario-writing is a lot like screen-writing, in devising plots and selling the ideas to those in charge. [Also entertaining for early nineties predictions about the coming generation.]
Jaime Hernandez
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
At times disorganized and random, Peter Schwartz still wrote a compelling book about the requirement to stay relevant or die. Written in the early nineties many of his 23 year old predictions never materialized, but still he foresaw the technology revolution that is still churning. This book's points come to mind often when I'm disengaged from my daily work routine, on a long jot or drive. Therefore, I liked it and will keep it on my shelf for reference in the years to come.
Feb 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting approach to thinking strategically about the future: do tons of research about trends that affect your business, and from those trends, create scenarios about possible alternative futures. then imagine how various strategic decisions would play out in these scenarios...

I would love to be part of an organization that went through the process he outlines. It would be fascinating!
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this one interesting specifically for the predictions in it that actually came true. It is somewhat disconcerting to see predictions in an old book come to reality. I found the content interesting and insightful. Hopefully I can put the recommendations into practice.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book multiple times in the mid 90s. Brilliant, forward-thinking concepts for pushing one's thinking into new roads--especially appropriate for risk management, but also opportunity identification.
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed book.Received many useful tips on forecasting and building scenarios in order to achieve great outcomes.Lots of coaching is given about predetermined elements and looking for driving forces that effect results.
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Don't waste your time 1 16 Jun 17, 2007 02:04PM  
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Peter is the author of Inevitable Surprises (2003), a provocative look at the dynamic forces at play in the world today and their implications for business and society. His first book, The Art of the Long View(1991), is considered a seminal publication on scenario planning and was recently voted the No. 1 futures book by the Association of Professional Futurists. He also co-authored The Long Boom ...more
More about Peter Schwartz...
“And there is, of course, a filter within yourself. When a book, or magazine article, or idea makes you uncomfortable, notice your exact reaction. If you're bored, move on. If you feel threatened, stay with it and see what troubles you.” 0 likes
“A few years ago writer Art Kleiner interviewed the late W. Edwards Deming, founder of the “quality movement” first in Japan and then in the United States. What was the greatest pleasure he took in his work? “Learning!” the ninety-two-year-old Deming thundered, and steered the conversation to what his interviewer could tell him.” 0 likes
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