Imagining the future

In Your Future Self, Hal Hershfield explores who to help people make better choices in the present by helping them to think forward into the future. Hal Hershfield has spent much of his life working on the problem of how to get people to appreciate the importance of future benefits versus present costs both in the realm of savings and finance and more broadly.

In this book, he explores issues around how we perceive ourselves and how that changes over time, how much we believe that our “future” selves are connected with our “present” selves, and the mistakes we make in thinking about the present versus the future and what it means for us. I particularly enjoyed his vampire analogy of the future and what it means for parenthood.

The closing chapters of the book discuss ways in which we can make the future seem closer to our current selves and easier to appreciate. Many of the world’s most serious challenges depend on us building a better appreciation of the future impact of current behaviours, and this book is an important guide to understanding the challenges of forward thinking and some of the tools that might help us to make the leap.

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