This is where I talk about more personal things… and sneak preview new projects.


aftershock book

I’m excited to be a part of the new book project After Shock: The World’s Foremost Futurists Reflect on 50 Years of Future Shock. My essay is “Counterfactual Thinking is the Key to Creativity – and a Vaccine for Future Shock.” Other contributors include Ray Kurzweil, Alan Kay, and Lord Martin Rees. Releasing February 4, 2020 – available on Amazon.com


I have a new essay in Wired magazine’s 2020 World – What to expect next issue! (January 2020)

Want to save more or beat a disease? Try entering (or creating) a lottery. Lotteries work by stimulating the reward-anticipation pathways of the brain, encouraging people to adopt useful behaviors that can benefit everyone. Think of it as the simplest form of gamification for social good that is low-cost, high-impact, and highly ethical when designed correctly. Read my essay here!

lotteries wired article


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Get better at anticipating the future, by practicing this cognitive intervention that has successfully strengthened key neurological pathways of patients living with amnesia, brain injury, severe depression and autism. Read the research and learn how to use the original futures thinking tool, Four Future Feelings, that I designed for Institute for the Future.


If you’re a high school or middle school teacher, you might want to check out this lesson plan created for Facing History and Ourselves! It’s based on my research on creating empathy through gameplay.

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Essential Questions:

  • What is empathy? How can empathy help a group, such as a community or society, achieve a goal?
  • How can empathy improve communication?

Learning Objectives

  • Students will experience the value of the skill of empathy by playing a game that requires understanding the perspectives and goals of others in order to succeed.
  • Students will practice hard empathy by identifying the opposing view on an issue they read about in a newspaper article.
  • Students will be able to use empathy and their understanding of differing perspectives to strengthen their own communication.


Do you want to think about the future with more creativity and optimism? Do you want to see what’s coming faster, so you can be better prepared for disruptions and more in control of your future? Do you want to get better at changing what’s possible today – in your company, your industry, your community, and in your own life? Take “Ready, Set, Future: Introduction to Futures Thinking” with me, Jane McGonigal, your professor on Coursera. (I teach four more courses too, including Forecasting Skills, Simulation Skills, How to Game the Future, and Urgent Optimism.)

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This course will introduce you to the practice of futures thinking, as developed and applied for the past 50 years by the Institute for the Future, a Silicon-Valley-based research and learning group founded in 1968. In this course, you’ll build your understanding of what futures thinking is and what you can do with it. You’ll master essential foresight techniques. You’ll meet some professional futurists. And you’ll choose one or more future topics you want to investigate with your new foresight skills. This course is for anyone who wants to spot opportunities for innovation and invention faster. You can gain the skills and confidence to help YOU become someone who makes the future, instead of letting the future happen to you. (Watch the video trailer and start learning now!)


Here’s something most people don’t know about me… the indie rock band the Indoorfins wrote a song inspired by my book Reality is Broken, and maybe I have been known to sing it in the shower occasionally, you can watch the video here!

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I started a personal game called Cookie Rolling in 2005 to help me get through the anxiety, depression, and loneliness often associated with writing a dissertation. (If you’ve been through a PhD, you know exactly what I mean.) I originally intended to continue the project forever until I died. However, in recent years, I have’t felt the need to keep the cookie rolling. The last place I rolled a cookie was in Auckland, New Zealand in February 2009.

  1. […] at Sundance, the city of Manhattan transformed into a massive game board, and an unforgettable night at the New York Public Library. Want more? You’ll have to come back next year. Do you have a favorite alternate reality game […]

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