Review: The age of unreasonUlasan Editorial - Kirkus Reviews
A thoughtful, wide-ranging, and provocative pitch for more adaptive responses to the convulsive events that have overtaken the industrial West. Handy is a British consultant who accepts the Shavian credo that ""all progress depends on the unreasonable man."" Noting that socioeconomic change no longer proceeds at a stately, predictable pace but in discontinuous spurts, Handy concludes that individuals as well as business, educational, government, and allied institutions would be well advised to reexamine, or, better yet, challenge conventional wisdoms. For openers, he commends creative upside-down thinking, i.e., viewing employment, leisure, even marriage in new ways. Among a wealth of offbeat elements in Handy's unorthodox canon are fresh organizational forms--federal, shamrock, triple I (for ideas, information, and intelligence)--that, he's convinced, commercial corporations, hospitals, schools, and other hierarchies must assess if they are to remain viable. Along similar lines, the author submits that increasing numbers of people need not commit their working lives to a single enterprise or profession. Instead, he points out, they may structure varied portfolio-like careers affording a good deal more than financial rewards. Fraternity would be the tie that hinds those discomfited by liberty and equality in the brave new world Handy envisions. Underlying his loftier flights of fancy, though, are down-to-earth (if arresting) proposals that could accelerate trends already in evidence. Cases in point include encouragement of so-called byline occupations, giving all adults three years' worth of college-tuition credits that they could cash in at any time during their lives, ""informating"" rather than automating means of production, developing a national income scheme, and greater emphasis on private contracting of public works or services. A humane, imaginative, and ingratiating approach to the typically dismal art of futurism.