Microtrends : The Small Forces Behind Today's Big Changes

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Why the smallest groups have the biggest impact? In "Microtrends", Mark Penn, one of the most respected and sought-after analysts in the world, articulates a new way of understanding how we live. He reveals the real trends wielding large influence on society today and tomorrow. In every case these are small patterns of behaviour involving as little as one percent of the population, yet they can transform a business, tip an election, or spark a movement. These are the microtrends.Relying on some of the best data available, Penn identifies more than 70 microtrends in religion, leisure, politics, and family life that are changing our lives. Among them are how people are retiring by continuing to work, why the most influential millionaires are the most shy, how the new geeks are the most sociable people around, and how even some of the most basic trends are being overlooked - like how women are driving technology and how Dads are older than ever and spending more time with the kids than in the past.People have never been more sophisticated, more individualistic, or more knowledgeable about the choices they make in their daily lives, yet little is done to find the logical patterns that underlie their choices. Mark Penn believes that you have to look at and interpret the data to know what is going on, and that conventional wisdom is almost always wrong. In "Microtrends", he shows how we can all become better trendspotters. A groundbreaking book, "Microtrends" is an invaluable tool in the quest to better understand our world and a remarkable portrait of the 21st century, where the most important trends are the smallest ones.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 159 x 239 x 39mm | 820g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Illustrations, 1 map
  • 1846140420
  • 9781846140426
  • 1,232,013

About Mark J. Penn

Mark J. Penn has spent over 30 years as an adviser and polling analyst to major corporations and heads of state. He has advised companies from Microsoft to BP and heads of state from U.S. President Clinton to U.K. Prime Minister Blair to others in Asia and Latin America. He started polling after graduating Harvard and attending Columbia Law School. Time Magazine has called Penn "The Master of the Message" and The New York Times has called him "The Guru of Small Things," because of Penn's unique ability to find and motivate niche groups in society. Penn is currently CEO of Burson Marsteller and President of Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. Writing with Penn is E. Kinney Zalesne, who has served as a White House Fellow and was Counsel to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.show more

Review Text

One of America's most influential pollsters carves the present into bite-sized pieces in an attempt to reveal future trends.Penn gained fame as an advisor to Bill Clinton during his 1996 campaign by identifying blocks of constituents like "Soccer Moms" as potential voters. Here, he and co-author Zalesne expand their trend-spotting to identify 75 burgeoning patterns that they argue are both reflecting and changing our modern world. Each chapter examines a discrete subdivision with themes ranging among politics, lifestyle, religion, money, education, etc. These easily digestible nuggets of scrutiny are fairly straightforward and primarily serve as a kind of pie chart of the human race, dividing Earth's citizens (primarily Americans, although a single chapter is devoted to international issues) into the cliques and tribes to which they subscribe. Among the emerging classes, the authors find "Cougars" (women who pursue younger men), "New Luddites" (technophobes) and "Car-Buying Soccer Moms," among dozens of other sub-surface dwellers. The book's generalizations are sound and cleverly written, despite their brevity, and will undoubtedly appeal to marketing analysts and armchair sociologists, as well as fans of Megatrends and Malcolm Gladwell. Yet the book stands on an unbalanced argument. "Microtrends reflects the human drive toward individuality, while conventional wisdom often seeks to drive society towards the lowest common denominator," Penn writes in a conclusion, explaining why such movements are important. But by dividing and isolating people into popcorn-sized kernels of experience, their innate individuality is lost in many little crowds instead of one big one. Another troubling factor is that few of the book's observations feel new. How often have superficial features about stay-at-home workers, caffeine addicts or shy millionaires been recycled on the evening news, let alone the Internet and other mediums? Penn tries to spin the gravity of these ripples. "Movements get started by small groups of dedicated, intensely interested people," he says. But his observation could apply to anything from the Third Reich to MySpace. More cynical readers may feel like a number.A think piece about personal choices that unearths more round holes for square pegs. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2,028 ratings
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1 3% (65)

Our customer reviews

"In "Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Today's Big Changes", Mark Penn shows that 75 of the most important trends in the world today are the smallest ones. Exploring everything from politics to religion, food to entertainment, Penn follows the numbers to uncover what's really popular, not what we think is popular. Because while these trends are shaping the world, they're relatively unseen - they're under-the-radar forces that can involve as little as 1 percent of the population. People have never been more sophisticated, more individualistic, or more knowledgeable about the choices they make in their daily lives. Yet it takes intensive, scientific study to find the logical patterns that underlie those choices. While helping you to refine your own trend-spotting skills, Penn pierces remarkably stubborn conventional thinking to find the counterintuitive trends that represent a portrait of society in the 21st century. A groundbreaking book about the way people think and how they act, "Microtrends" explores the practical implications of these 75 trends for politics, business, and society itself. "show more
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