Bob Johansen’s Full Spectrum Thinking: How to Escape Boxes in a Post-Categorical World is an three part and eleven chapter study of a new method towards appreciating and making use of our perception in exponential ways. It is an exploration of the limits of human possibility. Full Spectrum is never just one thing. Countless appearances for nonprofits and universities as well leading workshops for corporations as diverse as Nestle and GlaxoSmithKline. Johansen lays the book out in balanced fashion; readers won’t finish the book thinking Johansen has focused more on one subject more than another.


The book lays down an early gauntlet with the title of Part One “The Past Cannot Continue”. Johansen’s writing and spirit are never too carried away with themselves and their intoxicating ideas, but there’s an appealing level of missionary zeal present in Johansen’s ideas and presentation. You never doubt his self-assurance. Johansen draws from a wide variety of experiences to compliment his own and the substantial research informing the text; these examples are delineated for readers with the voice of a storyteller and always well chosen. The mix of those aforementioned elements is well balanced and consistent throughout the course of Full Spectrum

A number tables and figures are scattered throughout. Johansen isn’t cluttering the text with these additions; they help him illustrate key points wherever he chooses to use them. He envisions dire possibilities for our species in the near future but thinks those who lead us away from those dark days will be those who are practicing full spectrum thinking. The research mentioned earlier is unique thanks to its lack of traditional academic restriction; Johansen surveys the entirety of our culture to help make his case and references the usual resources, such as scientific data and/or research, and popular culture alike. 

It is impossible to exaggerate how hyper-aware Johansen is of the world around him. Many will come away from reading Full Spectrum thinking nothing escapes his note and there’s scarcely anything he hasn’t done. Some of this is, naturally, due to the inherent confidence of Johansen’s authorial voice. Without the quantifiable system or series of steps for readers to follow so they might achieve full spectrum thinking, the book could slump into a sort of nebulous meditation on human potential. It hasn’t happened here. Johansen structuring the book the way he has gives his ideas a real shape a lesser writer would fail to impose on the material. 


He ends things on an optimistic note. It is a pervading emotion throughout the book despite its darker turns. Full Spectrum Thinking: How to Escape Boxes in a Post-Categorical World is the latest book in Johansen’s bibliography and demands the same respect, if not more, than his finest preceding work. Bob Johansen’s accomplishments as a workshop leader for global corporations, universities and nonprofits, his time as IFTF (Institute for the Future) President, and ten published books establish credentials that demand you take him seriously. Full Spectrum Thinking: How to Escape Boxes in a Post-Categorical World rewards its readers.

Garth Thomas