Director, Global Foresight Books
Dr. Michael Marien
Michael Marien founded and edited Future Survey, a 24-page monthly guide to futures-relevant books, reports, and articles, published by the World Future Society (Bethesda MD) in the 1979-2008 period. During its successful 30-year run, more than 21,000 abstracts were published in FS. They are still available in print and electronic form (contact
But Future Survey covered only about a third of current affairs books that deserved notice, and in a less-than-timely fashion. And it ignored the massive shift to free web-based information. A thorough re-thinking was needed to do justice to some 1,000 books published every year on futures-relevant and policy-relevant matters. And thus Global Foresight Books was developed in late 2009 and early 2010, as an experimental website independent of WFS, providing multi-faceted access to a far broader range of important books, and offering an ongoing list of recommended and paradigm-breaking titles, available to all. An inventory of the wide world of English-language current affairs/public policy/foresight books has never been undertaken. GFB is a start at this much-needed mapping.
Marien earned a Ph.D. in social science and national planning studies from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and has published some 100 articles in futures-relevant journals and magazines. He lectures and consults occasionally. Home address: 5413 Webster Road, LaFayette NY 13084; phone 315.677.9278.
Some relevant recent titles (request pdf from
- Michael Marien, "Better Scanning and Beyond: Old Ideas and New Frontiers for Foresight," World Future Review: A Journal of Strategic Foresight (WFS), 2:2, April-May 2010. Describes the transition from FS to GFB.org, and three gross imbalances in today's mal-functioning "knowledge society." Presented at International Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning Symposium, Singapore, March 2010.
- Michael Marien, "Futures Thinking and Identity: Why 'Futures Studies' is not a Field, Discipline, or Discourse," Futures: The Journal of Policy, Planning, and Futures Studies, 42:3, April 2010, 190-194. Discusses 12 types of futurists, with emphasis on General Futurists, Specialized Futurists, and Futurized Specialists. The fuzzy entity of futures studies is quite unlike any field or discipline, with many of the most important futures-relevant thinkers far outside of the entity.
- Michael Marien, "Futures Thinking and Macro-Systems: Illuminating Our Era of Mal-Adaptive, Non-Adaptive, and Semi-Adaptive Systems," World Future Review, 1:2, April-May 2009, 5-13. Compares futures thinking and systems thinking, which have drifted apart in the past 40 years; both lack a core and a strong academic base, and both are highly fragmented, with a wide variety of styles. Mal-adaptation or non-adaptation are briefly considered in 14 sectors.
- William E. Halal and Michael Marien, "Global Megacrisis Survey: Four Scenarios on a Pessimism/Optimism Axis," World Future Review, 1:5, Oct-Nov 2009, 48-52. Will technology save us? This exploratory dialogue with Halal, founder of the TechCast project, estimates likelihood of four scenarios by 2020: Decline to Disaster, Muddling Down, Muddling Up, and Rise to Maturity. See ongoing response and compiled results at www.TechCast.org.
- Michael Marien, "The Future of Human Benefit Knowledge: Notes on a World Brain for the 21st Century," in Walter Truett Anderson (ed.), Knowledge Futures (Special Issue), Futures, 39:8, Oct 2007, 955-962. Integrates classic references (see below). Presented at 2005 meeting of World Academy of Art and Science in Zagreb.
Some classic references supportive of the Global Foresight Books project:
Robert S. Lynd, Knowledge for What? The Place of Social Science in American Culture. Princeton University Press, 1939. On the need for synthesis instead of more "brick-making" as usual.
H. G. Wells, World Brain. Books for Libraries Press, 1938. Various essays and lectures on needed knowledge organization.
Bertram M. Gross, "Operation BASIC: The Retrieval of Wasted Knowledge," The Journal of Communication, 12:2, June 1962, 67-83. A vision of new institutions for the organization of knowledge, involving Bibliographies, Abstracts, Surveys, Indexes, and Copies.
Manfred Kochen (ed.), Information for Action: From Knowledge to Wisdom. Academic Press, 1975. Essays on the world brain idea of H.G. Wells.
Ernest L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (Special Report). Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990. On the need for better balance among the four overlapping functions of scholarship: the traditional "scholarship of discovery," the scholarship of teaching, the scholarship of application, and the scholarship of integration (illustrated by GFB.org).
Clark Kerr, Higher Education Cannot Escape History: Issues for the Twenty-First Century. Albany: SUNY Press, 1994. Former head of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education proposes a curriculum centered on "general culture" and 21st century great issues, to help students "think horizontally as well as vertically."