NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: The Future: A Very Short Introduction, by Jennifer M. Gidley




A shining utopia or our worst fears realised – what does the future have in store for us?


From the beginning of time, humans have been driven by both a fear of the unknown and a curiosity to know. We have always yearned to know what lies ahead, whether threat or safety, scarcity or abundance. Throughout human history, our forebears tried to create certainty in the unknown, by seeking to influence outcomes with sacrifices to gods, preparing for the unexpected with advice from oracles, and by reading the stars through astrology. As scientific methods improve and computer technology develops we become ever more confident of our capacity to predict and quantify the future by accumulating and interpreting patterns form the past, yet the truth is there is still no certainty to be had.


In this Very Short Introduction Jennifer Gidley considers some of our most burning questions: What is "the future "? Is the future a time yet to come, or is it a utopian place? Does the future have a history? Is there only one future or are there many possible futures? She asks if the future can ever be truly predicted or if we create our own futures - both hoped for and feared - by our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and concludes by analysing how we can learn to study the future.


Jennifer Gidley has extensive experience in the futures studies field, combining scholarly research, academic teaching, and leadership of the World Futures Studies Federation (UNESCO Partner). She was re-elected as President in 2013 for a second four-year term to lead 300 expert futures researchers, teachers and professional practitioners from over 60 countries. Jennifer has held academic positions in Australia at Southern Cross (1995-2001); Swinburne (2003-2006); and RMIT (2008-2012); and holds visiting academic posts in Europe.


Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


Publication Date: 23rd March 2017 | 9780198735281 | Paperback | £7.99



For more information about this title please contact Katie Stileman

(E:, T: 01865 353344) 


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Author Biography

Jennifer M. Gidley, Oxford

Jennifer M Gidley PhD

Author, Futurist, Researcher, Postformal Psychologist

"Gidley is one of the very rare scholars who can write intelligently and accessibly about the past, present and future in education." 

- Brian J. Caldwell, Educational Transformations, former Dean of Education, University of Melbourne & Deputy Chair, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)


Jennifer Gidley is President of the World Futures Studies Federation, a UNESCO partner and the global peak body for futures studies, representing 300 of the world’s leading futures academics from over 60 countries. See WFSF for details.

Jennifer is a leading international thinker committed to global change through her diverse roles. See Affiliations and Advisory for more details.

As an author and futures scholar, Jennifer builds on her long career as a registered psychologist and innovative educator. Her professional experience, spanning three decades, includes working as a school and community psychologist, a founding school principal and a consultant at all educational levels. She has positively influenced the lives of many hundreds of women, children and young people through her innovations in education.

In innovative course development Jennifer’s achievements include creating community education courses for women returning to study (1978-1980); researching and writing a Rudolf Steiner-inspired school curriculum focused on innovation, imagination and creativity supported by a teacher-training program for an accredited independent school in rural Australia (1983-1994); pioneering the online cohort of the Masters Degree in Strategic Foresight, Swinburne University, Melbourne (2003-2006); and developing an Introduction for Futures Studies for a think tank in Tehran, Iran (2014-2015).

Jennifer’s 2008 PhD dissertation on the evolution of consciousness was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. It explored how human thinking has evolved from survival thinking, when we lived as hunters and gatherers, to mythic then formal thinking, and how it is further evolving today. 
A leading researcher on “futures of thinking” she is uniquely placed as a global thought leader on postformal education and psychology. See Research for more details.

A sought-after international speaker, advisor and consultant, Jennifer serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals. Her research, speaking and consulting invitations have taken her beyond Australia to Europe (Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain, Sweden), the USA, Egypt and Asia (Malaysia, Shanghai, Taiwan). See Speaking for more details.

An internationally recognised futures researcher, Jennifer’s forthcoming books include: Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures (Springer, 2016) and The Future: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2017). She co- edited two books: The University in Transformation (2000), and Youth Futures (2002) and special issues of the international journal Futures including: “Educational Futures” (2013) and “Global Mindset Change” (2010). She has published over 50 academic papers. See Publications for more details and links to many of Jennifer’s papers.



How to Cite

Gidley, J. M. (2017). NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: The Future: A Very Short Introduction, by Jennifer M. Gidley. Future Studies Research Journal: Trends and Strategies, 9(2).