Our ability to think about the future is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. In The Invention of Tomorrow, cognitive scientists Thomas Suddendorf, Jonathan Redshaw, and Adam Bulley argue that its emergence transformed humans from unremarkable primates to creatures that hold the destiny of the planet in their hands.  

Drawing on their own cutting-edge research, the authors break down the science of foresight, showing us where it comes from, how it works, and how it made our world. Journeying through biology, psychology, history, and culture, they show that thinking ahead is at the heart of human nature—even if we often get it terribly wrong. Incisive and expansive, The Invention of Tomorrow offers a fresh perspective on the human tale that shows how our species clawed its way to control the future.

More details on the Basic Books website here. Visit the book website at UQ here.

Praise and reviews

A Nature Book Reviews ‘Best Science Pick’

“The authors of this exciting book argue vividly and convincingly that our ability to immerse ourselves mentally in past and future worlds is what makes us such a philosophizing, technologizing, and cogitating species. It’s a hot topic in cognitive neuroscience and a stroke of insight about what makes humans human.” —Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Rationality

“[A] thoughtful, far-ranging study of foresight” —Nature

“A fascinating perspective on what it means to be human, told with a clear voice and an expansive canvas… Sprinkled throughout the book are well-placed moments of deadpan humor to leaven the authoritative research.” —Kirkus

“Why is our ability to think ahead enormously greater than it is in other species? The Invention of Tomorrow provides a fascinating and authoritative look at one of humanity’s most important and least explored powers.”—Richard Wrangham, Ruth Moore Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University, and author of Catching Fire

“”The Invention of Tomorrow” explores the transformative human power to envision the future and its evolutionary impact.” —Undark Magazine

“A fascinating exploration of the power and potential of the human mind – and the importance of future thinking for the success of our species.” —Tali Sharot, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London and MIT, and author of The Influential Mind

“Stimulating […] sure to captivate popular science readers.” —Publishers Weekly

“Meticulously researched, thought-provoking, and engrossing… The book is jam-packed with stories–some historical, some scientific–that are easy to follow. The authors punctuate the narrative with just the right amount of humor and incisive commentary.” —Karolina Lempert, Psychology Today

“Ambitiously stretching from ancient Greece to the present day, this history of foresight…dives into the myriad ways humans have attempted to predict the future.” —The Globe and Mail

“The Invention of Tomorrow is a phenomenal book… an elegant combination of all my favorite science topics, brilliantly written, and providing a fresh perspective on cognition.” —Nicole Barbaro, Bookmarked Reads

“Beautifully written. I often re-read sections, not because I didn’t understand what [they] wrote, but simply for the pleasure of reading [their] prose.” —David Bjorklund, Professor of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, and author of How Children Invented Humanity

“A fascinating and thoughtful new book on the extraordinary human capacity for mental time travel – and why we need it to help navigate our turbulent futures.” —Roman Krznaric, public philosopher, and author of The Good Ancestor

Coverage and links

The Invention of Tomorrow is a Nature Book Reviews “Best science pick” – How we imagine tomorrow

Story in BBC FutureForesight: The mental talent that shaped the world

Op-ed in the Globe and Mail: Why the ability to imagine the future is at the heart of human nature­­ – even if we often get it terribly wrong

Review in Miller’s Book Review: How to Predict the Future Better than a Dolphin

The book was a Next Big Idea Club September 2022 Nominee

Review in Undark: The Power of Pondering the Future

Review in Kirkus : Why the ability to imagine the future is a cornerstone of human survival and development.

Review in Psychology Today: The Greatest Human Invention?

Review by Nicole Barbaro, Bookmarked Reads: How foresight evolved

An interview in Psychology Today: Harnessing Foresight

Coverage in Discover Magazine: How Humans Have a Time Machine in Our Heads

Article in Campaign for the American Reader, the Page 99 test

The Globe and Mail Fall 2022 books preview

Article in la Republica (Italian): Pensare al futuro è il segreto del successo, i consigli dello psicologo

Excerpt in Literary Hub: Instinct vs. Insight: How Much Foresight Do Animals Have?

Covered in Richard Fisher’s ‘The Long View: A Field Guide’: The ‘Promethean’ power we inherited from our ancestors

Interview in The Psychologist: The human mind is a virtual time machine

Article in Psychologie Heute (German): Fünf Nebenwirkungen unserer Fähigkeit zu mentalen Zeitreisen

Article in BBC News Brasil (Portuguese translation of BBC Future story): A habilidade mental que mudou a história da humanidade

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