Book Sips #38 — ‘The Art of the Long View’ by Peter Schwartz

Josh Morales
Nov 6 · 2 min read
Image for post
Image for post
The Art of the Long View book cover

The future is unpredictable. Nobody can tell what’s going to happen tomorrow, for sure. This, as true as it is, doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t try to imagine possible outcomes given past experiences and current trends and signals. That’s where scenario planning is probably the best framework to provide the foundations of evidence-based potential situations that can help us make decisions when any (or a mix) of those outcomes become real at any point.

A well-known and seasoned futurist such as Peter Schwartz in his book ‘The Art Of The Long View: Planning For The Future In An Uncertain World’ explains, through examples and ready-to-use techniques, how to create scenarios, how to develop such a mindset and, most importantly, how to be very sharp to examine the unspoken beliefs of the future.

From my point of view, the most interesting is that scenarios are possible when we take input from technological, economic, cultural, political factors and psychology, grounding them in evidence. It takes a lot of reading and discussing ideas (in ‘strategic conversations’, as he calls them)
A sip:

‘Informal, explicit, relevant and fun. A strategic conversation is a carefully thought-out but loosely facilitated series of in-depth conversations for the key decision-makers throughout an organization. Strategic conversations don’t exist in addition to existing planning efforts; they are effective ways of framing the planning efforts that already take place, to further illuminate the decisions that are already being made.’

Image for post
Image for post
Book on a shaped piece of fabric

The future of scenarios is just scenarios about the future.

The Art of the Long View
by Peter Schwartz

Why read?

Far from an attempt to predict the future with a crystal ball, this book equips the reader with a framework to articulate potential outcomes taking into account the current data points available and perspectives. As a researcher, it’s been a delightful read.

288 pages, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, Div of Random House, 1996

on Amazon!

PM Library

Books and topics around tech, business and design that help you build better products.

Josh Morales

Written by

User-obsessed, readaholic and a sociologist after all — Senior User Researcher @N26, Editor of @thepmlibrary and Educator.

PM Library

With the PM Library, we help you explore new books and topics around tech, business and design because we believe reading is essential to building better products and growing in our careers. We are a team of dedicated product people based in Barcelona, London and Munich.

Josh Morales

Written by

User-obsessed, readaholic and a sociologist after all — Senior User Researcher @N26, Editor of @thepmlibrary and Educator.

PM Library

With the PM Library, we help you explore new books and topics around tech, business and design because we believe reading is essential to building better products and growing in our careers. We are a team of dedicated product people based in Barcelona, London and Munich.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface.

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox.

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store