Book Announcement

Fatal Certainty

How a Cult of Prediction Made the Twenty-First Century an Era of Strategic Shock – and How Rigorous Imagination Could Bring Us Back

For over 40 years, the Futures Strategy Group and its predecessor organizations have provided clients with a way to deal with future uncertainty, a method that gives them the best possible chance to anticipate significant future eventualities and think deeply about their ramifications.

Yet, during that same time, far too many nations, corporations, governmental agencies, and other major societal institutions have seemingly failed even to try anticipation, because of what author and longtime Futures Strategy Group principal Patrick Marren calls “the cult of prediction.”

As a result, the twenty-first century has been a series of strategic jolts. These shocks were certainly unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be anticipated. Leaders’ failure to use their imaginations, and their assumption that they could know what will be, has contributed to a historic decline in public faith, not just in those leaders, but worse, in our most critical institutions.

Fatal Certainty lays out the epic story of how an increasing fixation on prediction – specifically, attempts to predict things that are inherently unpredictable – has thrown the United States and the developed world into crisis. While we may mock the credulity of ancient leaders who consulted oracles or seers, we never think to hold modern leaders accountable for employing equally flawed approaches to equally unpredictable issues. Perhaps we should.

Fatal Certainty does not simply point out a problem; it also shows a way forward. We can anticipate and think through the full range of plausible futures. But this approach requires abandoning probabilistic prediction of the truly unpredictable, in favor of rigorous imagination of the imaginable.

Fatal Certainty is the result of decades of experience helping major corporations, governmental agencies, and other institutions to imagine strategies for themselves, regardless of how the future unfolds. Details for when the book will be available can be found here, and at

Fatal Certainty will prove to be a worthy addition to the canon of bestsellers on uncertainty, probability, risk, decision science, and the future, and should be required reading for all those concerned about the continued vitality of our national, governmental, business, and societal institutions.

“A necessary book.” – Kevin McDermott, author of Paragraph 3: Conversations About Prepared Leadership in the Age of Perpetual Uncertainty – From the C-Suite to the Battlefield