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The Symbiotic Man

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The Symbiotic Man

A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and a Vision of the Future


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The environment is connected to industry, the Internet is connected to the supermarket, speed is connected to success, and the man in the middle has to pull them together, or get pulled apart.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Joël De Rosnay’s book is a gold mine of provocative ideas about the evolution of mankind, economics, politics and more. It pulls together information from organic chemistry, computer technology, chaos theory and a slew of unrelated fields to argue for a less egocentric approach to business and government. In the process, it redefines competitiveness and industry. This eloquent presentation is definitely not a light read. It is mind-boggling in scope but fractal in delivery - which means you can delve into virtually any section and get a feel for its message. Business wisdom is spotty here, but this is not a business book. Instead, it’s more of a cross between Wired magazine and an intricately researched science fiction novel. It is not for the faint of heart (or brain), but recommends it, if you’d like to stimulate your mind, shake up your old beliefs, check the inventiveness of bold technological projections, or glimpse an exciting future.


To Affect the Future, Predict the Future

The idea of predicting the future seems hokey or far-fetched. If you turn on the television after midnight, you’re likely to be bombarded with a host of charlatans peddling their predictions on infomercials. And if you take your kids to a local fair, the fortune tellers are likely to be an eccentric bunch indeed. The art of predicting the future is not worthless, however. In fact, sneaking a peek into tomorrow could give you just the edge you need to thrive today.

To predict the future, you can write scenarios based on inevitable conflicts. You can examine evolutionary trends and try to figure out where they’re going. Or, if you have technical savvy, you can create models of current situations on your computer, experiment with their parameters, and observe any changes. The most effective approach to predicting the future combines all these methods.

Ironically enough, this approach is retrospective in nature. Begin by collecting data and developing a short-term scenario of probable events. Once this is complete, look back from the scenario and test it against current trends. Ask yourself: "Will the trends of today lead ...

About the Author

Joël De Rosnay, Ph.D., who received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the Pasteur Institute, is Director of Strategy for the Science and Industry Complex in La Villete, Paris. He worked as a research associate at MIT. He also worked for the European Enterprises Development Company, a venture capital group specializing in new technological companies.

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