Endorsements for Pragmatic Imagination

This book offers a fresh and immensely insightful look at the mystery of imagination. Full of history and practical advice, it will change the way you think about imagination, and quite possibly, the world around us. It is the most fun I have had reading about imagination since first reading Bronowski’s lecture collection The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination so very long ago!


Paul Saffo, Chair, Future Studies and Forecasting, Singularity University



In a bold synthesis of thinking about thinking that ranges from the Surrealists and the Situationists to Sherlock Holmes, from Antonio Damasio to Antoni Gaudi, Pragmatic Imagination is a manifesto for a new understanding of how humans process and reshape the world around us. This short, but jam-packed, book sets the stage for what promises to be a rich toolkit we might use to imagine, design, and build a better world. Pragmatic Imagination is a collaboration between two fearless and unbounded thinkers -- Ann Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely Brown -- working together across disciplinary and professional boundaries to address core questions about how the human mind works. This book will leave your head swimming, which, it turns out, is a pretty good starting point for gaining new insights about a rapidly changing reality and for confronting its wickedly complex problems.


Henry Jenkins, Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Art and Education, University of Southern California.



How do you change the world in the mega-connected 21st century?  In this prelude to their masterwork Design Unbound, architect / design visionary Ann Pendleton-Jullian and innovation guru John Seely Brown dive to the source, the human imagination, and explore imagination from its functions in perception and reasoning to what we expect of the imagination in free play. They explain how to unblock imagination and how to deeply exploit it; how to view its impact on the entire spectrum of human capability.  Their narrative is a powerful reminder that, if we want to be relevant in the 21st century and beyond, we need to train ourselves to imagine differently.


David L Morse, Chief Technology Officer, and Executive Vice President, Corning Inc.



Unleashing our imaginations and putting them to purpose is the key theme of Pragmatic Imagination, a single chapter that sets the stage for Design Unbound, a larger work which provides principles and tools for using the pragmatic imagination to make the world a better place. In Design Unbound, Ann Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely combine their considerable and distinctive sources of expertise to offer a path through our complex and whitewater world.  They intertwine social science, philosophy, literature, neuroscience, architecture and the most advanced technological approaches to produce principles for redesigning our societies and bringing about the organizational change and innovation so needed by our schools, our governments, our corporations, and every one of us as we manage our lives.  It is a book all social scientists should read; it challenges us to provide the supporting knowledge and thinking required to affect those principles. Its preview Pragmatic Imagination is the beginning of the journey.


Margaret Levi, Director, Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University



Imagination is everywhere and nowhere today. It is the crucial ingredient that drives innovation, creativity and invention. But it is poorly understood and rarely discussed. Given this, Pragmatic Imagination is a path-breaking and timely book. It not only provides an intelligent and thought-provoking analysis of how imagination operates - and why it is different from mere creativity - but it also offers ideas about how to spark the process of imagination and, most crucially, apply it to real-life by combining imaginative processes with pragmatism. As such, it should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand how to unleash more innovation - or simply lead a richer life.


Gillian Tett, US Managing Editor, Financial Times and author, the Silo Effect