War in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, increasingly frequent climate disasters—events we might have called "unimaginable" or "unthinkable" in the past are now reality. Today it feels more challenging than ever to feel unafraid, hopeful, and equipped to face the future with optimism. How do we map out our lives when it seems impossible to predict what the world will be like next week, let alone next year or next decade? What we need now are strategies to help us recover our confidence and creativity in facing uncertain futures.
Imaginable is an accessible, optimistic field guide to the future, and McGonigal organizes it into three parts: Unstick your mind, think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable ... For a book about the future, which these days feels quite bleak, McGonigal’s book is bizarrely upbeat and radiates hope. Her writing has the uncanny ability to make a reader optimistic about terrifying scenarios. The thesis is not that the future is rosy, but that if we imagine the unthinkable now, when it hits we will be more capable of moving past shock and denial into action.
... does offer up neuroscientific findings, some more convincing than others. Her case might’ve been helped by a deeper look at the approach’s limits ... Your opinion of Imaginable may ultimately be hard to separate from your feelings about other futurist authors or Silicon Valley’s techno-utopians. Levitating warehouses or humans genetically engineered to survive on Mars might sound preposterous, but to McGonigal, they’re not. Anything is plausible. One gets the sense that McGonigal could hold her own in a high-stakes discussion with military strategists, but overall, “Imaginable” strikes an upbeat, conversational tone. Indeed, lines like, 'What next? Don’t worry. Literally, don’t worry,' might not sit well with those of us who’ve ground our teeth down to stumps over the past two years.