Excerpt from Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Radical Evolution

The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human

by Joel Garreau

Radical Evolution
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  • First Published:
    May 2005, 400 pages
    May 2006, 400 pages

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Print Excerpt

If my interest in that third scenario–Prevail–marks me as an optimist, so be it. Heaven and Hell each might make a good summer blockbuster movie, featuring amazing special effects. But they tend toward the same story line: We are in for revolutionary change; there's not much we can do about it; hang on tight; the end. The Prevail Scenario, if nothing else, has better literary qualities. It is a story of struggle and action and decision. In that way, it is also more faithful to history, which can be read as a remarkably effective paean to the power of humans to muddle through extraordinary circumstances.

Scenario work shows that the future is usually a combination of all the stories you can construct to anticipate it. So I have done my best to present entertaining but accurate depictions of people who hold wildly different views. These are important thinkers and pioneers who deserve to be taken seriously. Most of them. Some are in there because I just couldn't resist telling their tales.

I hope this book serves as a road map and a guide to what we'll all be living through, pointing out significant landmarks along the way, as well as the turns and forks we can expect in the road. At the very least, however, I hope Radical Evolution ends up saying something about the present. George Orwell's most renowned work was entitled 1984 because he was really writing about 1948. Scenarios are always about the present, really. The fact that they exist today teaches us something about who we are, how we got that way, what makes us tick and, most of all, where we're headed.

There's one thing that I've already learned writing this book.

If you have a choice between starting your story with a telekinetic monkey or an attractive teenager in a wheelchair whose life might be changed by the technology the monkey represents, you have to lead with the bright young woman every time. For that's what people care about. And that's why the focus of this book is not on engineering–it is on the future of human nature.

Excerpted from Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau Copyright © 2005 by Joel Garreau. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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