Read The Futurist by James P. Othmer Online


Yates is a Futurist.Which is a fancy way of saying he flies around the world, lecturing various conferences, confabs, and conglomerates, dispensing prepackaged bullshit in an attempt to stay just ahead of the latest trend and claim he saw it first. But now Yates has lost faith in the very future that he’s paid to sell and gives what should be a career-ending rant. Instead,Yates is a Futurist.Which is a fancy way of saying he flies around the world, lecturing various conferences, confabs, and conglomerates, dispensing prepackaged bullshit in an attempt to stay just ahead of the latest trend and claim he saw it first. But now Yates has lost faith in the very future that he’s paid to sell and gives what should be a career-ending rant. Instead, a mysterious governmental group hires him to travel the globe and discover why the world seems to hate America. From Middle Eastern war zones to Polynesian superluxe corporate retreats, James Othmer takes us on a mordantly hilarious journey through corporate double-speak and global unrest to find the truth beneath the buzz.From the Trade Paperback edition....

Title : The Futurist
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385517225
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Futurist Reviews

  • Brian
    2019-05-15 03:39

    What a depressing read this was. I was intrigued by the blurbs on the cover and was hoping for an interesting story about a complex character. I was wrong.This book felt like a bizarre hybrid of "Jerry Maguire" and those Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials with the wanna be Castro guy. It's like Jerry Maguire in that the story centers on a supposed "superstar" in a prestigious field who has a crisis of conscience and renounces what made him rich. Of course, this only serves to make him more popular, yet more human at the same time.It's like the Dos Equis commercials in that this story is almost all surface and no depth. Other than the clichéd first novel tropes of father issues and 'lost a good woman' blues, there really isn't anything interesting about the main character. Since the story is told in the first person, that's a problem.

  • Kerry
    2019-05-21 04:25

    This is not a book I would normally pick up so I'm thankful for the wonderful book group (fiction files redux here on goodreads) that I belong to that introduced me to Mr. James P. Othmer. What I liked the most about this book was the main character Yates. I have nothing in common with him and yet I related to him completely. I loved the way he dealt with wacky situations, I loved how he thought, how he felt, and how after his epiphany he called himself on the bullshit: others' and his own. This book was funny, touching, and prescient. I highly recommend.

  • Patrick
    2019-04-30 03:22

    I read this book and it is very good: the writing is very crisp and clean, but a bit distant, the main character is cynical but have a bit of a good heart to acknowledge that. After reading that, I wished that I had applied to the Futurist position so I could have been a sell out at a higher price with the best perks after college. If you want to know more about this book, check out my review at

  • David
    2019-05-05 22:38

    Writing a good novel is difficult.

  • Andy
    2019-04-29 04:39

    Amusing at times, but a little too self-aware and sarcastically hip to be a truly satisfying read.

  • Hubert
    2019-05-06 23:28

    Fascinating enough; at first was sort of annoyed at the character, but the novel is rather creative in its execution and concept.

  • Jim Green
    2019-05-08 22:39

    Liked it some what but didn't get swept away by the essence of the concept of the book.

  • Todd Sattersten
    2019-04-23 23:36

    I loved this excerpt from The Futurist (page 188-190):There was a time when he believed. And not just because he wanted to believe, but because he really did believe. There was a time when he truly thought that things were always getting better, that the world was a remarkable place where fascinating things happened, every second. He believed that science had a heart, that progress had a conscience, and that true art happened in the last synapse before epiphany, in the unstoppable momentum of an original idea. And for awhile others believed it too, because of him. It wasn't that he was in denial about the horrors of everyday life--the wars, the greed, the natural disasters, the backward thinking morality of the masses. He just chose to seek out and revel in the progressive, the enlightened, the smallest things that could spark a flame under the ass of change. Then there was a time when, although he still believed, he began to acknowledge the difficulties. He began to recognize that such grand dreams were not so easily overcome. And he began to acknowledge this in his speeches and presentations. He began to criticize the present, and he warned of a more damaged tomorrow if we refused to change. He gave heads-ups and watch-outs, supported by facts and scientifically validated forecast and cautionary tales.When it was suggested that he might want to put a bit more of a smile back on his work, because clients were complaining, because people were asking for other speakers, his first reaction was to go shock them into epiphany. But that didn't work at all. People didn't want wisdom, he soon discovered. They wanted shortcuts to getting more. For a while his clients, other than small liberal art colleges, not-for-profits, and those who hadn't done their homework, stopped asking for him altogether. His message didn't match the extravagent, NASDAQ-giddy times. There wasn't any momentum to it, any positive inevitiabilities. It lacked anything close to a guarantee that the prosperity would never end.So he altered his approach again. He avoided the dismal truths, the warnings about doomsdays yet to come, and the tried to be encouraging. But they didn't buy that either. Clients found it patronizing, condescending. It came off more like a lecture than a speech. More like a reason to feel guilty than a reason to be excited.Finally the think tank threatened to drop him. The lecture agent stopped taking his calls. The press rarely mentioned him. So he changed again. He began telling people what they wanted to hear. He began to customize this optimism to specific industries, specific companies, specific versions of tomorrow. And this is important: he wasn't lying, at first. The main difference was that he was telling only the good parts, the truths they wanted to hear. The bad parts he left out entirely. It was easy. Appearance after appearance, everyone ate it up, and soon he was a player again. He got a new lecture agent; the think tank gave him his own subbrand. His appearance fees tripled, and he was a rock star in the arena of what-if. Everything was great, as long as he didn't think about it too much.But he did. Eventually Lauren stopped listening to what he had to say, because it was all the same, all a bit too good. His father, who had never taken his job seriously began to think that these prophecies were borderline delusional--at least, that's what his mother told him. Blevin's reaction to his latest reincarnation was to try to steer Yates back toward the material that had attracted him to Yates in the first place. But that didn't work, and for awhile, until Johannesburg, Belvin questioned Yates less and less and could hardly look him in the eye when Yates asked his opinions of his latest insights. The only people who loved what Yates was saying were the people for whom he had less and less repect, including himself.Then the stock market collapsed, the Internet frenzy cooled, and buildings and bombs started to fall, and he didn't have any new wisdom to truth or reason to believe that he could honestly tell anyone anymore. And the only way he could come up with a way to make people feel good, to tell them what they wanted to hear, was to start making things up.

  • Brian
    2019-05-05 23:49

    To use the old cliché, this book had me laughing out loud. Yates, the cynical protagonist in this fast moving book, took me on a hilarious ride around the world selling bullshit to countries that could have just used the bull and not the shit. I’m not a cynic, though I ‘m cynical (yeah, right) so I appreciated the humor in this book.I swear that I’ve met most of the characters in The Futurist, except for Magga, and frankly she scared me. I loved Jeremy, the AWOL from the Peace Corps boy and the whole dialogue between him and Yates. Brilliantly funny.Being an ‘Expat’ for over 20 years I’ve seen and heard the hate generated towards America and it’s true that while America asks, why do they hate us?; The world asks, why do they hate us? I’ve lost count how many times I’ve claimed to be Canadian and a hardcore Bryan Adams fan. Taxi drivers have spit at me, immigration counter bureaucrats have told me I don’t belong here, and strangers will talk to me like I can get on the phone, call Bush, and get him to get his ass in gear. Fat chance of that ever happening (I do have a fantasy about breaking into a mosque, getting on the loud speakers, and belting out the song “There she was just a-walkin down the street, singin’, do-wah diddy-diddy down diddy-do”)… but I digress…Though I laughed throughout the read, there was an undercurrent of truth to the whole premise of The Futurist that spiked and jabbed through the satire and made me squirm uncomfortably. I do believe that the global marketing going on today is a dirty business. War and natural disasters are businesses and they also need commercial time… right between the McDonald’s Happy Land spot and the ad for incontinence panties (I'm being cynical... ok?)Something also tells me that this line from the book hits close to the truth and maybe gave spark to what turned out to be The Futurist.“Honey”, Amanda Glowers says, “I was the CEO of the second biggest advertising agency in the world. Advertising. I had the U.S. Army for a client. Raytheon. Global pharma companies. You act like I spent the last fifty years in a fucking convent.”I'm not sure if Mr Othmer traveled to the same places as Yates, but he did an excellent job with the descriptions. The only places that Yates traveled to that I haven’t visited are Pittsburgh, Greenland, and a Bas'ar type country. Milan and Jo'burg were spot on. Adding the bit about the bats at dusk in Fiji was a nice touch. But the airport in Kuwait is actually surprisingly dingy and third worldish though when flying in and peering out the windows it does look like you're flying into an American base, which I guess it really is.I really enjoyed The Futurist. Excellent book. Thanks Mr James P. Othmer. Looking forward to more from you.

  • Mike
    2019-04-25 03:27

    Subversive take on the Davos speaker circuit... explores the human desire to predict the future despite the future ultimately being unknowable... as well as the ability for some to profit immensely by acting like a totem pole in a hurricane. Never fully takes shape as a thriller and the love story lacks depth in favor of male wish fulfillment. Good. Could have been great. Maybe.

  • Boris Trucco
    2019-05-16 23:47

    It feels as a socio-political essay in the form of a novel, or as a novel in the form of a socio-political essay. Yates, the conferencist who has made a successful business of anticipating the future which is essentially tailor-made for the establishment, finds himself suffering from self-disappointment. In his quest for redemption, Yates will try to be true to himself only to find out that he cannot escape his tragic mission, to be at the service of the dark side of corporate America. Yates' oddysey is that of the American spirit, traveling around the world to find out why people hate America when all he had to do, as a character in the story puts it, "... is look at yourself, because you're it, dude... A formerly admirable, socially conscientious, forward-thinking intellectual. Beacon of hope to the disenfranchised, supporter of the underdog, an enemy of injustice, ignorance and intolerance who has been corrupted by his own power, who has twisted his own cultural mojo and betrayed his once well-intentioned and considerable charms and used them as a cold business tool." It is a good story.

  • Alicia
    2019-05-10 03:46

    The Futurist is, oddly enough, about a man who makes his living as a futurist. In other words, someone who analyzes trends and predicts the future. After giving what should be a career ending speech exposing himself as a fraud, he is recruited by a secret government agency to find out what the rest of the world thinks about Americans. Of course, things spiral out of control and he finds himself pursued by Johnson and Johnson (agency men), Nostradamus and assorted other strange characters who have taken exception to something he has said, done or thought.This is another of those clever books that takes a great idea and turns it in to an entertaining story. There were several other books on this year's list that had the same feel to it but I enjoyed this one more. There are a few places that the pace was a little slow but overall a solid satire of our quest to know the future.

  • Bill
    2019-05-20 05:44

    This novel is all about a globetrotting "futurist" named Yates, who journeys from conference to conference dispensing whatever prognostications his corporate sponsors require to stimulate their local economies and. He tries to sabotage his career by, for once, telling the truth, and, of course, this sends his "career" in a whole new direction that provides the framework for the book.Snappy, contemporary writing...most of it worked for me, though too much of the story was over the top and some of the details rather trite (the globetrotting pundit who's first stop is always the hotel mini-bar? C'mon...)James Othmer is a talented writer and I'll probably look up future writings.

  • Brian
    2019-04-24 03:30

    At first glance, this was a book that should have been right up my alley. A guy gets sick of the BS he gets paid to feed corporate gatherings, and turns on them. As a result, he seems to be more popular than ever. He's a geek, always encouraging companies to take the next step forward in propelling the bleeding edge. But frankly, the guy just wasn't likeable. He comes off as a smartass who spouts off one-liners and bull like it was nothing, but has no redeeming qualities that make you want to root for him. While much of the book was entertaining enough to keep me reading it, I wasn't satisfied with the plot (and the inevitably predictable "twist" revelation of the mysterious Nostradamus' identity) enough to really recommend it. It's right at 2.5 stars.

  • Nick
    2019-04-24 00:31

    The Futurist was an enjoyable action thriller that weaves in technology, globalization, and the pithy philosophies of the 21st century. This 2 day read reminded me of the DaVinci Code in that its an action adventure that has stops along the way where, through dialogue, the characters seem to almost lecture the reader on a topic of interest. Except in this book the topic is global tech philosophy instead of Christian arcana. And this book is actually good. The authors bio very much mirrors the main character, and my one complaint is the plot line involving his blossoming love affair with a extremely attractive woman half his age. Give me a break you narcissist, get back to the interesting parts.

  • Emily
    2019-05-01 02:26

    This book was kind of disappointing, ultimately, but I definitely did enjoy the first 2/3 of it. The main character is a speaker who travels the world talking about all the great things that are just about to happen for the companies that are his clients. But he has lost faith in his work and feels aimless and confused. He gets a strange offer from a mysterious consortium that wants him to work for them, but he's not sure he's interested.There's a lot of amusing satire about modern marketing and analysis. And I was mightily amused by the dot-com millionaire who moved to Iceland simply to watch the glaciers calve off icebergs.

  • Len
    2019-05-08 23:30

    This is one of the funniest novels I've read in a long, long time. It's difficult to believe this was Othmer's first novel, and I can't wait for his next one.The Futurist is loaded with fabulous pop culture references and humorous digs at politics, advertising and pop culture itself. At times you forget it's fiction because the plot is so realistic given today's cultural climate. The novel is especially fun given that Othmer is a refuge from the advertising agency world and I'm in a similar field -- there are some great industry inside jokes.Anyway, I absolutely loved this novel and I highly recommend it.

  • Allyson
    2019-04-23 04:50

    This book was chosen for a book club and it’s not something I would have picked out. At first glance, I didn’t think I’d like it. After reading it I know I was right. Hated it! The main character was not likable. He comes off as a cynical smartass that has no redeeming qualities that make you want to root for him. Some of the book was entertaining enough to keep me reading it. I liked the interesting and bizarre people he met up with. The plot lost it’s humor and became too much – wouldn’t really recommend it.

  • Kelley
    2019-05-09 02:30

    I read Othmer's Adland, his memoir of being in the ad business. It was hilarious, so I wanted to read his fiction, hoping to find the same sense of humor gracing the pages. The Futurist was disappointing in that regard. It's a good beach read, fast-paced, and his descriptions of things like flying at the speed of sound in a airforce jet are quite excellent. Still, this story is written too much like it's preparation for a film script, which I found annoying. Indeed, it would make a much better movie than a book. I think Othmer really should be writing scripts, not novels.

  • Jason
    2019-05-12 04:25

    Pretty fair assessment (at least from my standpoint of a web developer living in San Francisco, which isn't saying much) of what it's like living on the purported forefront of technology and Western culture. If you know people like our protagonist Yates or those that move in his circles, this tale will feel familiar and--if you haven't clued in to the ridiculousness of it--damning.The ending feels kind of rushed, containing action-for-action's-sake (as compared to earlier action which drives the narrative), but really, the meat of this book is in the middle.

  • J
    2019-05-03 06:35

    A somewhat entertaining book about a once-dedicated, but now entirely phony, corporate schill having a crisis of conscience. His attempts to sabotage his career and associations with an unidentified government agency create some humorous situations. However, the potential was there for a much more insightful and enjoyable story. Instead,as is the trend these days, it ended up a commentary on Iraq and the Neocon ideology.

  • Du4
    2019-05-13 01:22

    Pretty fun book. Ruminations on the level of bullshittery currently extant in today's mediasphere. Love the ideas presented about futurism, the nature of buzz, and all the weird esoteric marketing stuff that contributes to this immense head-cloud of spin and PR. I think the narrative goes a little off the rails towards the end, but it's enjoyable and short enough to plow on through pretty quickly.

  • Keisha
    2019-05-06 02:35

    Easy read, slightly horrifying- is it a true story? My guess is it's somebody's true story. Many people's true story- everyone's true story? Wake up. A little- expected that Yates becomes infatuated with items from the past. The older the better. Think of it as a subway read, a plane trip read. Bring another book. It goes by quickly. It seems that the author wrote it thinking it would be converted to a movie.

  • Joshua Panik
    2019-04-23 01:27

    About a man who's job is to speak to groups about where the world is headed, he has a revelation about his life and realizes that being a futurist is a waste of time and a lie. After finally telling the truth during a major speech, he believes he will be cut off from the community, but instead is praised and recruited for a special assignment that gets him in trouble.

  • Marvin
    2019-05-21 22:47

    A futurist (one who predicts future trends) has a personal & career crisis after years of increasingly selling his services by telling people what they want to hear. He gets caught up in a mysterious, dangerous assignment that brings everything to a head. It's mildly amusing & otherwise OK, but nothing to get excited about.

  • Suzana Vuksanovic
    2019-05-07 22:44

    A very interesting book. If you count yourself as a true reader, you will read this. It so much counts the ineptitude, arbitrariness, and sheer popularity of fashionable ideas that if you are a free-thinker whatsoever, you would be wary of it at the very least. Wary of what? The ideas ofcourse! lol It is a good book - please read it. I have nothing more to add.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-11 23:32

    This is a very cynical book with lots of dark humor. Although clearly fictional, the author's experience in the world of advertising has left him with a very interesting perspective about how big business and government collaborate in the global marketplace. I found it very entertaining, kind of depressing, and hard to put down.

  • Michael
    2019-04-28 04:34

    A stylish action thriller and very entertaining read. A buddy likened it to the DaVinci Code but instead of focusing on arcane Christian sects, the book looks at the post 9/11 cultural and political zeitgeist. If you can in with the right expectations (ie. don't expect any serious literary awards), you will come away thoroughly entertained.

  • Jeff Raymond
    2019-05-12 04:26

    The main character is a "futurist," who speaks to various leaders and organizations and essentially tells them what they want to hear, until he cracks. Great setup, but I don't feel like it went anywhere and I have no clue what the purpose of the book was to begin with. Kind of a shame.

  • Katie
    2019-05-07 03:27

    I liked the idea of this book (a cynical futurist) better than the implementation... I would have preferred him stay cynical and funny rather than getting to the learning-a-lesson part. This book started out fairly interesting and amusing, but then kind of petered out for me.