Review: Microtrends–The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes

3 Star, Future

MicrotrendsEye-glazing trivia of limited value to seeing big changes, February 22, 2008

Mark Penn

Edit of 23 Feb 08 to reexamine conclusion of book and add context.

FOUR STARS for trivia buffs. Absolutely nothing wrong with the well-organized micro-trends, but they don’t connect to “tomorrow’s changes.”

I like books that pupport to discuss trends that reveal “tomorrow’s big changes,” but this book, while clever, has been over-sold.

Rather than provide my usual summative review, I will describe this book with just one word: disappointing.

Below are books I pulled from my shelf that I have found to be much better, along with everything ever written by Alvin and Heidi Toffler.

What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States
The Nine Nations of North America
How The World Really Works
The Clustering of America
The Clustered World : How We Live, What We Buy, and What It All Means About Who We Are
Tribes: How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy
New Rules Searching for Self Fulfillment in a World Turned up Side Down
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency

On the latter book, I have to ask myself how is it possible for the two Democratic contenders to campaign for the Presidency without once mentioning Dick Cheney and the documented high crimes and misdemeanors he is alleged to have committed? I place the last two books at the opposite extreme from this book on microtrends. The book lacks any semblance of a “so what” and it certainly does not portend, as its subtitle claims, “tomorrow’s big changes.”

Out of respect for the early negative comment, I reread the conclusion and reconfirmed that while it lays claim to predicting increased fragmentation in the future and a heavy Internet play such as Internet marriages, this is much too facile and presumptuous. My reading focuses on the collapse of complex societies, the desperate straits of the five billion at the bottom, one billion of them in extreme poverty that produces wars, crime, and disease without borders. It is in that light that I find this book to be disappointing. This is a rich boy’s tour of his own (expanded neighborhood) and has no connection to the reality that I follow on a daily basis via Earth Intelligence Network.

Definitely FOUR STARS for mega-trivia, but only three, at best, for serious students of how we might shape our future to create a prosperous world at peace.