Book review: ‘Unchartered: How to map the future together’ by Margaret Heffernan, published by Simon & Schuster

The Weekend FT is strong on book reviews, generally well-written, some good, rarely bad, and never indifferent. Mercifully, they cover a lot more than fiction because, as my friend the Supreme Court judge says: ‘’when you have to read a lot for your work, fiction becomes less and less satisfying’’ – as is also my case.

Last weekend Tim Harford, economist, FT columnist, and content provider for the BBC reviewed a book; I rate him highly. When the book he’d chosen had as its title ‘Uncharted’ – well, guess who’s expecting a good read? Now, before you get too excited, it’s not about technical analysis. It’s a business management-style book but ‘’not a business book to skim in the business class lounge’, says the reviewer.

What struck me was how the underlying concepts Ms Heffernan covers traverse time, topics and trends. As Mr Harford says: the ‘book is less a smack-down of failed forecasts than an engaging ramble across our attempts to predict, control, explore or embrace an uncertain future’. This is exactly what we, technical analysts, are doing all the time. Gazing into the future, trying to make sense of situations, weighing up probabilities, working sometimes with alacrity and at others with fear. She agrees that forecasting is unnerving – and hard work.
Interestingly she adds that ‘’what matters most isn’t the predictions themselves but how we respond to them, and whether we respond to them at all. The forecast that stupefies isn’t helpful, but the one that provokes fresh thinking can be’’. She suggests that a better path might be that, when things go right or wrong and we don’t know why, we ‘’keep our eyes open. Stay engaged. Listen to others. Don’t be afraid to change course’’.

I round off with a phrase of hers which is especially appropriate this week: ‘’Don’t exchange business cards in a crisis’’.

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The views and opinions expressed on the STA’s blog do not necessarily represent those of the Society of Technical Analysts (the “STA”), or of any officer, director or member of the STA.

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About Nicole Elliott

Nicole Elliott

A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science (BSc Social Psychology) Nicole Elliott has worked in banks in the City of London for the last 30 years. Whether in sales, trading or forecasting technical analysis has always been the bedrock of her thinking. Key expertise lies within all areas of treasury: foreign exchange, money markets, fixed income and commodities.

She has also added to the body of knowledge of the industry writing the first western book on Ichimoku Cloud Charts. Strong media links and a cult following are due to her prescient calls on the markets and often entertaining format.

Nicole can be contacted at

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