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Hardcover Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes Book

ISBN: 0446580961

ISBN13: 9780446580960

Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

"The ideas in his book will help you see the world in a new way." -- Bill Clinton "Mark Penn has a keen mind and a fascinating sense of what makes America tick, and you see it on every page of... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent analysis of contemporary society

This is a really fun and fascinating book. Penn's theory is "the Devil is in the details." Don't look for overarching trends that end up being vapid and inaccurate. Look instead for the hundreds of small trends under the radar screen that in combination radically changes society. To enjoy this book read the introduction and the conclusion first. Then, cherry pick the trends you are most interested in. In the introduction, Penn outline his theory of the 1% threshold. By the time 1% of Americans do something this represents a huge cluster of 3 million people that is worth paying attention to. Within the conclusion, Penn makes sense of all those disparate trends. That's where he explains how our society is becoming increasingly fragmented because of the growth of choice in lifestyle, values, and religions. Thus, many trends are contradictory. We live in an increasingly secular world with a rise in religions. Both trends (secularism and religion) thrive simultaneously. Each trend he analyses is a stand alone short paper on a specific subject. At some point, you may run out of trends you are interested in. You don't have to read all 73 trends to enjoy the book. Within each trend analysis, Penn first observes the data and how that trend emerged and came to be. Next he outlines what are the trend's implications. The people representing that trend often make up a niche associated with the creation of new markets, voting block or cultural influence. Sometimes, you may think several trends converge. In other words, the emergence of single women must correlate to the surge in Cougars (women with younger boyfriends) and Wordy Women (successful career women in law, journalism, PR, and advertising). These women may be all the same ones: single-successful-liberated. Another potential convergence is the Long Attention Spanners, DIY Doctors, Swing Voter, and Sun Haters. Here you have a mature educated crowd that likes to think for themselves especially when pertaining to their health and politics. Many of his trends refer to entire books. His `Educated Terrorists' trend relies on Alan Krueger's What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism (Lionel Robbins Lectures). Similarly, his `Shy Millionaire' liens on The Millionaire Next Door. On the other hand, other trends are truly original. I had never heard of the Do-It-Yourself Doctors. These people research their symptoms, render their own diagnostics and administer their own cure. They have changed the patient-doctor relationship to one of retailer-customer. The doctor is just there to facilitate procurement of prescription drugs, tests, and surgical intervention when necessary. Just as the overall population, they distrust the medical establishment. Trust in the latter has decreased from 77% in 1966 to only 33% currently. His depiction of the `Impressionable Elites' is also counterintuitive. It is the higher income and better educated that care more about

A Micro Atomic Theory of Consumer and Potential Voting Behavior

I enjoy demographic and trend books, like "Lattitudes and Attitudes," and was slightly enchanted by Claritas urban/rural clusters, like "Shotguns and Pickups." But this book is far better at discovering behavioral groups and driving home, with humor and data, the trends as well as the policy or business options to complement the highlighted behaviors. Three decades ago, Penn sat in a Harvard library and read a book by Valdimer Orlando Key, Jr., in which he wrote that `voters are not fools.' Key was known for promoting realism and rationality in the analysis of politics and election returns. Voters and consumers should be seen as being rational. As Penn writes, it is not about a male candidate's necktie color, but real issues. If one takes the time to understand the trends, one can find the roots of behaviors and desires, and potentially the future consuming and voting patterns. To that end, Penn, a pollster for over 30 years (actually he first administered a poll on his teachers at the age of 13), Clinton's lead pollster/strategist, and the person credited with defining "soccer moms" (busy suburban mothers with families and careers and political policy goals who were swing voters in the last decade) has explored and highlighted 75 out of hundreds of microtrends - these small, under the radar forces that involve as little as 1% of America's population and registered prime voters - which may affect America's future. In the book, Penn is quick to point out that a microtrend is not merely a development, like the increased use of debit cards or wives changing their surnames upon marriage, but a growing interest group with needs and desires which are unmet by the corporate or political environment. The authors have made it easy to digest, have used a lot of humor to reinforce the points, and have closed each microtrend discussion with specific business or policy products or ideas that can meet the needs of the group. For some microtrends, they include a section on international comparisons to the American trend. Some of the most interesting microtrends are: The growth of households comprised of single women (In 1980, 17% of Americans lived in solo households, now this figure is closer to one in four Americans). These women will need to plan for their retirements alone, so all those television commercials with couples on beaches are not speaking to them. Another growing trend is "cougars," or women, like "Mrs. Robinson," who date or marry men a decade younger than they are. They may require a new type of pre-nup or detective service. The trend for retired workers to continue working may necessitate tax law changes or a redirection of benefits from maternity leaves to `winter-off" options. Extreme Commuters have more time on their hands to read or listen (if they use mass transit); and the growth of Stay at Home workers may generate a need for changed zoning laws or more secure home offices in residential design. Protestant Hispanics (H

Liked it! ... just ingnore the pro-Clinton sneak punches.

The author sneaks in a couple of pro-Clinton stuff.... nevertheless, I learn to ingnore these things and allow myself to be enlightened. It is a great book! I liked the Power Shift, the Third Wave, Megatrends, etc.

Don't just cherry pick this one

I started reading Microtrends on a Sunday afternoon, having finished the Times and assuming I would read the book in a similar fashion as the newspaper - cherry-picking the headlines, subjects and data that were most relevant to my personal, family, and professional interests. Instead, I read it almost straight through, as each of the seventy-five microtrends provided a perspective that was not only informational, but rather analytical and provocative: A new workforce that is increasingly choosing the non-profit sector, empty-nesters who dote on pets in their grown children's stead, a France that is turning its back on alcohol and smoking (if not necessarily joining the Pro-Semites on the other side of the Atlantic). Gender roles quietly turned on their head by men who are Dads later in life and women who assume greater leadership in print, in the prosecutor's office, and at the pulpit. The younger generation is undergoing a transformation as teenagers increasingly take to knitting in their leisure time and entrepreneurship becomes the latest lunchroom fad. While some had suggested that the new millennium would herald a sort of mundane, global uniformity, Penn and Zalesne discern a different trend entirely, one "in which choice, driven by individual tastes, becomes the dominant factor, and in which these choices are reinforced by the ability to connect and communicate with communities of even the smallest niches." I shared the book with my wife, who told me her book club chose it (over fiction) for their next read.

low-key writing, upbeat insights

A large dose of insights into "small" economic and cultural trends, made delightfully digestible by clear, uncluttered writing.
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