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Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind…

Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes

by Mark Penn

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You'd think a book about all the many little trends in the country would be interesting, and this book is interesting... at least for the first few pages. Then it gets repetitive and you wonder why anybody would care about these so-called "trends." So what if there's a small group of people who have long attention spans and another with short attention spans and another with really long commutes and another with really short commutes. I got bored fairly quickly with this book. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
Fascinating book with several small blurbs about various "microtrends" that could shape future of the world. The book was easy to read since it was divided into smaller sections. The trends are widely diverse and include things from the age of people who purchase video games to voting trends of various ethnic and religious groups to international trends. Very interesting book.
  walterqchocobo | Apr 8, 2013 |
Sounded neat, but it's just a bunch of intermittently interesting statistics tied together by the guy's out-of-touch observations.

For example, in a chapter on adults who play videogames:
"The games all focus on taking over worlds, dating, or killing. But what most 33-year-old men want is to make a killing in the stock market, or if they want to knock someone off, it's their boss and his corner office. Their female counterparts have just had their first or second baby, and are dealing with child development or sibling rivalry."

Really? What, is this 1953? Fuck off, dude. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
Some mildly interesting data about overlooked segments of society, but distorted with bizarre personal remarks and hamfisted explanations. Best skimmed. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
A good effort by Clinton's Karl Rove: A book categorizing approximately 75 trends the author sees in the modern world (American-focused).
Written so that the ideas presented can be processed in everything from bite-sized individual morsels to sectional chunks (e.g. Love, Sex, and Relationships).

-Sometimes staid writing
-Use of book to plug commercial contacts
(Microsoft's Zune, Mark, as leading some kind of social music revolution? the Zune? C'mon!)
-tendency to generalize anecdotes or a handful of data points he has seen into opinions he thinks are held by significant amounts of people
-highly timely, and will not age well

Microtrends is intriguing; for any watcher of society, Penn's book will likely tell you about social changes you already knew, will likely crystallize broader happenings you have-been-seeing-but-have-not-yet-realized or put a name to, and will likely introduce you to entirely new trends (and it is in these startling moments that the book becomes particularly worth the read).

Mark should be applauded for showing the value of numbers, and of data, in modern society. My only qualm with his idea-sourcing is how he never looks to the numbers to disprove a trend. Instead, he looks at them to justify what he already suspects. This is one of humanity's cognitive biases: the need to confirm what we think is true (rather than taking the alternate, harder, and ultimately more rewarding route of trying to disprove whether something is true, as real science does). While Penn is often right in his trends, that does not mean he will always be right, or that his methodology, as it stands, is not flawed.

Still, Penn effectively yanks the reader's attention in such a way that we can't help but notice new things about our daily world. Armed, often, with convincing data and the power of demographics, he makes predictions that seem sensible (and though perhaps originally startling, also seem quickly convincing in their effect).

Microtrends grabbed me, personally, in the way that I like: rather than telling me stuff, it made me think about things on my own, it made me puzzle and question and conjecture and ultimately conclude things about this crazy world of ours.

I liked Microtrends; I think you will too.
  lonepalm | Dec 8, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446580961, Hardcover)

"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 Microtrends."

-Bill Gates

In 1982, readers discovered Megatrends.

In 2000, The Tipping Point entered the lexicon.

Now, in Microtrends, one of the most respected and sought-after analysts in the world articulates a new way of understanding how we live.

Mark Penn, the man who identified "Soccer Moms" as a crucial constituency in President Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign, is known for his ability to detect relatively small patterns of behavior in our culture-microtrends that are wielding great influence on business, politics, and our personal lives. Only one percent of the public, or three million people, is enough to launch a business or social movement.

Relying on some of the best data available, Penn identifies more than 70 microtrends in religion, leisure, politics, and family life that are changing the way we live. Among them:

People are retiring but continuing to work.
Teens are turning to knitting.
Geeks are becoming the most sociable people around.
Women are driving technology.
Dads are older than ever and spending more time with their kids than in the past. You have to look at and interpret data to know what's going on, and that conventional wisdom is almost always wrong and outdated. The nation is no longer a melting pot. We are a collection of communities with many individual tastes and lifestyles. Those who recognize these emerging groups will prosper.

Penn shows readers how to identify the microtrends that can transform a business enterprise, tip an election, spark a movement, or change your life. In today's world, small groups can have the biggest impact.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:55 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Pollster Mark Penn argues that the biggest trends in America are microtrends, the smaller trends that go unnoticed or ignored. One million people can create new market for a business, spark a social movement, or effect political change. In 1996, a microtrend identified by Penn ("soccer moms") helped re-elect Clinton. Now, Penn identifies the new microtrends sweeping the world, from Extreme Commuters and Working Retired to Old New Dads, from Bourgeois And Bankrupt to Uptown Tattooed. Highlighting everything from religion to politics, from leisure pursuits to relationships, this book will take the reader deep into the worlds of polling, targeting, and psychographic analysis.--From publisher description.… (more)

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