In Other Words

The Early Read: On the Future

FP's new section, The Early Read, will highlight upcoming new books with big ideas. In this inaugural edition, we examine a few picks from the reliable crop of books about the future that appears every new year. These take a slightly longer view, with bold forecasts for the next century: which brewing conflicts will erupt into wars, which states will dominate, and what it will mean to live in a completely digitized world.

7 Deadly Scenarios: A Military Futurist Explores War in the 21st Century

By Andrew Krepinevich (January 27, Bantam)

As president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and consultant to the likes of the CIA and the Homeland Security Council, Krepinevich has studied everything from China’s ambitions to Internet warfare to the puzzle of Pakistan. Now, he answers the question: What’s the worst that could happen? Whether it’s the detonation of black-market nuclear weapons in major cities or a global pandemic, his scenarios are deeply unsettling.

A Brief History of the Future

By Jacques Attali (March 11, Arcade)

For another harrowing forecast, one of France’s top intellectuals (and an FP contributing editor) argues that history shapes the future with intrinsic, predictable patterns — and then uses them to foreshadow the period on deck. So what does Attali see? A massive reshaping of the global landscape, with democracy ultimately prevailing but at great expense in lives and money.

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

By George Friedman (January 27, Doubleday)

Friedman, founder of the geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor, spins his day-job assessments into a map for the future. If he’s right, we’ll see a war between the United States and Russia, a new space race, an internal crisis in China, and the rise of Mexico as a major player.

The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity

By Matt Miller (January 6, Times Books)

Fortune columnist and Center for American Progress fellow Matt Miller predicts that America will only remain competitive by adopting a new approach to the future. The United States must, Miller argues, adopt a new set of "destined ideas": Only business can save liberalism, only government can save business, and there’s no longer room to fear great policy ideas from abroad.

Carbon Shift: How the Twin Crises of Oil Depletion and Climate Change Will Define the Future

By Thomas Homer-Dixon (April 14, Random House Canada)

With the help of six of Canada’s leading experts, Thomas Homer-Dixon argues that the dual crises of the future — climate change and peak oil — are really just one addressable problem with one simple answer: clean, low-carbon energy.

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