NYT Review of Imaginable

01 Apr, 2022

NYT Review of Imaginable

Dawn Chan from the New York Times reviews alum Jane McGonigal's IMAGINABLE: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything ― Even Things That Seem Impossible Today.

From the review:

In “Imaginable,” McGonigal stakes out yet another claim to fame: oracle. She leads simulations for her work. One such 2010 exercise had participants envisioning a future upended by a global respiratory pandemic, raging wildfires, and online disinformation spread by a shadowy group called “Citizen X.” As these storylines gave way to eerily similar realities, McGonigal received a flood of messages from past participants. “I’m not freaking out,” one wrote. “I already worked through the panic and anxiety when we imagined it 10 years ago.” Hoping to impart the same equanimity to her readers, McGonigal argues that mapping out imminent scenarios not only readies us for them but preps us for unforeseen curveballs too.

Maybe McGonigal remains so buoyant because she sees play everywhere. She writes about leading a quick game of “When does the future start?” That, to me, sounds like a question — an exercise at best. But maybe that’s her point: A game can be anything you approach with a sense of fun. McGonigal seems like one of the few interested in gaming’s potential to foster collective well-being, rather than filling corporate coffers. Play for play’s sake — but also for the sake of solving world problems — is an uncommon self-help angle. In “Imaginable,” there’s no tangible reward save the feeling of readiness itself. Which, right now, is certainly appealing.

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