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The Visionary's Handbook: Ten Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business
Watts Wacker, Howard B. Means & Jim Taylor

Retail Price: $15.99
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Format: Paperback, 272pp.
ISBN: 9780066619880
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Pub. Date: Reprint edition July 31, 2001

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Building upon the Age of Possibility first espoused in their provocative and acclaimed The 500 Year Delta, Watts Wacker and Jim Taylor now welcome readers to the Age of Uncertainty, where, because life has never been easier, it has never been more difficult.

In this unprecedented new book, Wacker and Taylor present a vision of the present and future that goes beyond all the chaos and complexity of our times. With a clear and firm grasp of their material, they proceed to chart a method for readers to create a personal course for the future.

This navigational route is premised upon the authors' profound understanding of nine mind-boggling paradoxes that capture the imponderables of modern life, and define the business and social climates of the world as we move forward into the new millennium:

  • The Paradox of the Visionary The closer your vision gets to a provable truth, the more you are simply describing the present. In the same way, the more certain you are of a future outcome, the more likely you will be wrong.
  • The Paradox of Value The value of any product becomes inseparable from a buyer's perception of worth. Instead of intrinsic value, we have relative value only--the products that a business makes bear diminished relations to the physical content of the offering.
  • The Paradox of Size The bigger you are, the smaller you need to be.
  • The Paradox of Time To succeed in the short term, you need to think in the long term. Yet the greater your vision and the longer the time interval over which you predict results, the greater the risk that you will be unable to take the necessary steps in the short term to achieve the long-term goals. The tension between short- and long-term planning has never been more tormented.
  • The Paradox of Competition Your biggest competitor is your own view of your future; competition comes from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
  • The Paradox of Action You've got to go for what you can't expect to get; nothing will turn out exactly as it's supposed to. You must act intuitively and be equally ready to take resolute counter-intuitive action.
  • The Paradox of Leadership To lead from the front, you have to stay inside the story. In an inherently inconsistent world, consistency is not the virtue it once was in our leaders.
  • The Paradox of Leisure Play is hard work; play and work are blending and becoming indistinguishable.
  • The Paradox of Reality Every person on planet Earth today has the potential to be connected to every other person, and every single one of us inhabits a world of our own and is a marketing segment of absolutely one. As our links become stronger, our individuation becomes starker.

A bold, incisive book, The Visionary's Handbook captures the interlocking web o paradoxes that abound in everyday business life, and provides an essential map to help make the future work for every individual and every company in the challenging and uncertain times ahead.


This book will challenge your most fundamental beliefs about competition, value, time, action, and leadership. Get ready for enlightenment!
—Philip Kotler, Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Just the idea of looking at the creation of your future as a serial experience, as is done in The Visionary's Handbook, is a breakthrough for business planning and especially for one's own life. A must read.
—Christopher Forbes, vice chairman, Forbes Inc.

The authors combine an intellectual thrust with old-fashioned, down home logic. There is a consistent theme within this book that urges you to become part of your own story; the style ensures that you become part of their story.
—David S. Ford, chief executive, Gardner Merchant Food and Management Services

Watts Wacker's newest book, The Visionary's Handbook, contains the thoughts of an undeniably great thinker.
—Edward C. Emma, president and COO, Jockey International, Inc.

Leaders of all kinds of organizations can use this astonishingly insightful conceptual toolbox to create their desired futures while increasing effectiveness in today's multidimensional, multiparadoxical world.
—Gloria Feldt, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Highly original, full of insights, and lots of fun to read.
—Sally Helcesen, author of The Web of lnclusion and The Female Advantage


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About the Authors

Watts Wacker of FirstMatter LLC, a company bringing the future to corporations, is the futurist at one of the nation's foremost think tanks.

Table of Contents

The Paradox of Value
The Brand Promise
The Paradox of Size
What Color Is Your Disaster?
The Paradox of Time
The Paradox of Competition
Global Metaphors and Global Brands
The Paradox of Action
The Paradox of Leadership
Governance, Patriotism, and Loyalty
The Paradox of Leisure

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