- Over the past 25 years, economic forecasters have missed four of the past five recessions.
Anonymous. Business Week (September 30, 1996)
- The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British prime minister. Speech (September 1943)
- In the mid 80s, Fortune magazine carried the prediction that, by the year 2010, North America would become the world’s granary, the Pacific the world’s manufacturing base and that Europe will become a discotheque. They could still be right.
Max Comfort, British business theorist. Portfolio People (1997)
- Accountants and market researchers may be brilliant at examining and analyzing facts about the past, but they have no forward vision.
Terence Conran (b.1931) British business executive, retailer, and founder of Habitat. Quoted in The Adventure Capitalists (Jeff Grout and Lynne Curry; 1998)
- By 2020, 80% of business profits and market value will come from that part of the enterprise that is built around info-business.
Stan Davis (b.1939) U.S. business author. 2020 vision (co-written with Bill Davidson; 1991)
- There are two sorts of forecasters. Those who don’t know and those who don’t know they don’t know.
- K. Galbraith (b. 1908) U.S. economist and diplomat. Quoted in Treasury of Investment Wisdom (Bernice Cohen; 1999)
- The further ahead you forecast, the less well you do.
- W. J. Grancer (b.1934) British economist. Quoted in Fortune (January 25, 1996)
- Forecast: to observe that which has passed, and guess it will happen again.
Frank McKinney Hubbard (1868-1930) U.S. humorist. The Roycroft Dictionary (1923)
- You…have to pick horses to ride for five to ten year periods because you don’t want to be changing things.
Steve Jobs (b.1955) U.S. entrepreneur, cofounder and C.E.O. of Apple Computer Company, and C.E.O. of Pixar. Referring to spotting opportunities and trends. Quoted in “Steve’s Two Jobs,” Time (Michael Krantz; October 18, 1999)
- Oil-price forecasters make sheep seem like independent thinkers. There’s no evidence that mineral prices rise over time. Technology always overwhelms depletion.
Michael C. Lynch (b.1946) Scottish historian. Quoted in Business Week (November 3, 1997)
- The future bears a resemblance to the past, only more so.
Faith Popcorn (b.1947) U.S. trend expert and founder of Brain Reserve. The Popcorn Report (1991)
- Most economists…are reluctant to make predictions, and those who make them are seldom accurate. The economy, like the human body, is a highly complex system whose workings are not thoroughly understood.
Alice M. Rivlin (b. 1931) U.S. economist. Reviving the American Dream (1992)
- I don’t have time to get out the charts and show you how the world works.
Jim Rogers (b. 1935) U.S. banker and management consultant. Quoted in Treasury of Investment Wisdom (Bernice Cohen; 1999)
- Wall Street indexes predicted nine out of the last five recessions.
Paul Samuelson (b.1915) U.S. economist and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Economics. Newsweek (September 19, 1966)
- Economists are about as useful as astrologers in predicting the future (and, like astrologers, they never let failure on one occasion diminish certitude on the next).
Arthur Schlesinger, JR. (b.1917) U.S. historian, writer, and educator. Quoted in New York Times (April 15, 1993)
- Rehearsing the future.
Peter Schwartz, U.S. consultant and author. Referring to the use of scenarios in forecasting. The Art of the Long View (1991)
- In a crowded room, you only have to see one inch above everyone else to notice things that others will miss.
Jim Slater (b.1929) British business executive and author. Quoted in Treasury of Investment Wisdom (Bernice Cohen; 1999)