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Future Shock (1970)
by Alvin Toffler, Heidi Toffler
No current Talk conversations about this book.
If Alvin Toffler had authored this book in 2020, I may have dismissed this as a rant, and there are many people these days who are ranting about things like social media with all its attendant problems.
However, he wrote this book in 1970, and many of the things that he describes have come to pass.
It is scary to note that this book was so prescient. It was a book that created shock waves at the time that it was published. It is a book to read even now, for its timely warning of what can happen to us if we are not on our guard.
50 years on, it is still relevant.
Ignore the year of publication and rest assured — you’re sure to learn something of interest from Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock. Outside of a few dated terms, much of what Toffler speaks to — the social, economic, political, and technological trends of the past, present and future — are addressed through their functional and affective aspects rather than broad speculation over the physical forms and precise implementations to which they are to take. For a book written in 1970, there’s still plenty of relevant information in here to think about.
Toffler begins by giving us a broad overview of the state of contemporary society as it stood just as the USA’s golden age was coming to a close. Much of the initial chapters provide overviews of the sociological and psychosocial viewpoints of an uprooted and hyperactive tech-enabled “technosociety” (one of a few dated terms). Touching on the subjects of alienation, grounding, values and belief systems, a la carte lifestyles, political representation and knowledge, Toffler leaves no stone unturned as he exposes to us to the stark realities of the social dysfunction already well underway at the time of publication. Though it paints a rather bleak image of the future, much of what he speaks to remains entirely relevant today.
Following the bleak evaluation of the foreseeable future insofar as he sees it, Toffler then speaks to the positive benefits and revelations that change is capable of producing. His case for the essential nature of change is well put though, at best, merely levels the scale between the pros and cons of our collective future.
The final bit Toffler falls to a slightly more speculative but entirely theoretical tone in which he discusses some of his own potential solutions to mitigating the worst case social scenarios first presented and to the essential tasks he deemed necessary for our successful, albeit inevitable, march forward in time.
Written in 1970, this is an interesting overview and forecast of what was, and what was to come in the fields of information and information sharing, acceleration of the pace of life, materialism and consumption, development of alternative lifestyles. Definitely something to reread at a slower pace.
One of the first "big thinking" books I read, and read it twice as an early-2o's still-teenager.
Largely true today and written back in the stone age, what, the 1970's?
I would still recommend it to those turning to face the facebook world, alienation and over choice.
Has the (non-series) sequel
Has as a supplement
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The classic work that predicted the anxieties of a world upended by rapidly emerging technologies--and now provides a road map to solving many of our most pressing crises. "Explosive . . . brilliantly formulated." --The Wall Street Journal Future Shock is the classic that changed our view of tomorrow. Its startling insights into accelerating change led a president to ask his advisers for a special report, inspired composers to write symphonies and rock music, gave a powerful new concept to social science, and added a phrase to our language. Published in over fifty countries, Future Shock is the most important study of change and adaptation in our time. In many ways, Future Shock is about the present. It is about what is happening today to people and groups who are overwhelmed by change. Change affects our products, communities, organizations--even our patterns of friendship and love. But Future Shock also illuminates the world of tomorrow by exploding countless clichés about today. It vividly describes the emerging global civilization: the rise of new businesses, subcultures, lifestyles, and human relationships--all of them temporary. Future Shock will intrigue, provoke, frighten, encourage, and, above all, change everyone who reads it.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)303.4 — Social sciences Social Sciences Social Processes Social change
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