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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Toffler's great book was the first one 'Future Shock'. What came after did not have the newness, and the freshness- and it did not shock.
This work too is a replay of Tofflers' often repeated notion of human development in three great phases, an Agricultural , Industrial and now Information Age. There is truth in this picture but it is far too simplistic and one- dimensional to encompass the realities of our world. Take for instance the Energy question which the Tofflers seemed to feel would have a relatively easy solution when they wrote this book in the early nineties. Here we are well into the first decade of the twenty- first century and the non- renewable fossil fuel resource is causing havoc with Civilization as a whole.
Morever even when there are developments which reenforce the Toffler picture of our living in an 'Information Age' they come in surprising unpredictable ways which raise serious questions on many fronts. The development of the Internet would seem to strengthen Toffler's main idea of our moving into an Information Age Economy, one in which customization, and de- massification are central. Consider the multiplication of Media and of human expression which the Internet has allowed. This would seem to be a kind of consummate proof of the Toffler thesis. Yet look also at the possible 'dumbing down' of the population, at the undermining in certain areas of the integrity of the 'knowledge industry' in the Academy. Consider such political phenomena as the rise of Radical Islam and the way their terrorists make use of 'information age' technology to threaten and attack others.
The Tofflers' view of the Future is too one- sidedly optimistic. And it too in my opinion , 'arrogant' in its assumption that their idea or ideas understand it all.
Their book has some interesting suggestions about what the human future will look like, but they certainly do not 'see it all'- not even the half of it.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2011
When I was in my early 20s I read a book called 'The Third Wave' by Alvin Toffler. It completely changed my life. It made clear the things I felt happening in the world and explained them in a way I still carry with me today. I became a Toffler devotee and read everyone of his 1000+ page books. Then in 1995 he wrote a small 200 word book with Newt Gingrich about the future of politics. It was the worse piece of crap I had ever read. It made no sense. It's ideas were vapid and muddled. Someone recently said that Newt is "a stupid guys idea of what a smart person sounds like." I completely agree. Knowledge without ethics, empathy or vision does not make you smart. It makes you dangerous.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
...then this might be an option, because it's just a rework and condensation of its predecessor. It also sports an intro written by Newt Gingrich; I have no idea why unless he was selected to provide an unintentional but effective example of outdated Second Wave power politics.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Toffler is a big thinker. His premise in this book as well as in his other books is that just as the agricultural first wave has given way to the second wave industrial age, that it in turn has yielded to the third knowledge revolution. He outlines the differences and prescribes the need for change.
In that men have difficulty adjusting to change (see "Who Moved My Cheese"), Toffler outlines how these clashes will be resolved. Just as companies in growth industries altenate between spurts of growth and plateaus of consolidation, societies experience the same disruptions. The Austrian school of economics would call it "creative destruction".
This book's core principles emanate from the mind of a visionary thinker. If you want a top-down view of the last couple of centuries it's worth the few hours of reading and thinking you'll have to invest.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 1998
Authors' Alvin and Heidi Toffler would have readers believe that the world is being carried along by an inevitable tidal force of events known as the 'Third Wave' which, in turn, will effect the creation of a new civilization. While the arrival of a 'knowledge culture' will no doubt affect and change life as we know it, the 'information age' is in and of itself no guarantor of an emerging world order. The prediction "that we are the final generation of an old civilization and the first generation of a new one" is based on the authors' unswerving belief in inevitable progress. Inevitable progress is the belief that the forward movement of history is certain to happen. They assert that the technological, economical, political and cultural upheavals that are now taking place are not random or chaotic occurrences but rather, "nothing less than a global revolution, a quantum leap". The basis of this analysis is the conviction that a "clearly discernible pattern" exists and thus warrants such a claim. How can the authors' be so certain that a revolutionary 'Third Wave' civilization is destined to arrive on planet earth? The Tofflers's use of the questionable assumption of inevitable progress to reach a conclusive view of the future is insufficient and regrettable. The book's nine chapters, of which seven are previously published, form an accessible introduction to the Toffler's views on where the world is going.
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on April 25, 2013
Read 1st in 1995, re - read this week ( April 2013), they were ahead of their time with this book, A must read to understand the dynamic shifts in politics and power, based upon an Industrial model of the world giving way to the Information Revolution and Individual brain power, knowledge worker.I was an IBM Researcher at the time I read it first.

To give 1 a sense of timing, the Internet, and the Netscape Browser was just emerging in 1995 and people just started having access to this thing called the Internet. One still had to type the entire domain name into the field in order to get to a site, hyperlinks did not exist. Business models based on using the Internet were just emerging and as we know many of the dot coms collapsed in 1999. Software, and virtual work, information flow, is global and with the introduction of Twitter and Facebook I at least can see some further evidence of what it means to be a knowledge worker and the notion of information, and sharing in new communities, micro markets, v mass marketing and target markets.

IBM along with others were shipping manufacturing jobs to Asia and as we have seen demonstrated the rise of China and Manufacturing was based on labor, production, and cheaper overall supply chains. In 2013 were seeing a slowdown in China MFG, and for quite sometime have been arguing China needed to develop a domestic market for products. Now we have seen a return of some manufacturing but not what we had come to know as manufacturing following WW2, but 3D printing, customization, evidence once again of a decline in the mass manufacturing concept they provided while boosting their position on the value on software and intelligent systems, and the knowledge workers ability to comprehend the complexity.

As for politics they referenced early in the book the dysfunction in DC, and in 2013 it is still very evident the political systems are at extreme ends and not representing the people, while promising a return to post was Industrial greatness. They touch on Economic theory and as I read thru a segment, I could not escape what has been referenced as Helicopter Ben and the easy money Printing the Fed has continued to show and very likely will for at least 1 if not 2 more years.

So at least conceptually I have to agree with what they wrote, not as a reader in 2013, but as someone who 1st read this in 1995,who has witnessed the change, or lack of change since then. As for are we there yet, I dont think so.

Ill end with what I first thought of this book, that the time to move thru the AG and Manufacturing cycles in society they proposed was slowed by the time it took for information to flow initially. That the changes they proposed would happen in a faster time element due to how information was being shared then, in 1995, v today in 2013. With the appearance of Twitter, that info flows faster and from more sources, with micro communities of like people coalescing.

Where does it go,I have no idea, but I believe in the need to learn and be knowledgeable in subjects one has interest in. You'll never know what that will mean in the future.
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26 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2002
Since I had never read the previous three books maybe I was thrown into the deep-end on this one. I could read and comprehend everything they said, but the failure of the Tofflers to be speific of HOW this is going to happen plauged me throughout the book.
For instance, the book never delves into HOW specifically the third wave (information age for those who haven't read it) will affect families in a positive way. Instead it uses catch phrases like "empower the family" and "restore functions to the family" which mean....nothing. On top of that, numerous .../false assumptions cripple this book.
To say that "Naderites and Buchananites" are the same because they both think that NAFTA is wrong is false because Nader and Buchanan want to get rid of it for different reasons. Also when they say that NAFTA was a triumph for the 3rd wave and that the second wave (industrial age) is on a decline are also lies. The jobs for factory workers aren't simply going away - they're moving where labor is cheap and taxes are low.
Also, scare tactics and ... hurt this book for those who can see through it. The idea that American companies are being out-competed by samll businesses and foreign corporations and that is why companies are breaking up into smaller components, merging, and laying off workers are sheer lies. Keeping in mind that this book was wrote in the early to mid-ninties, and then looking at the stock market and the decline of small business, you can easily see why this was going on; Merge because two huge corperations working together can squash the copmetition, and layoff because that will bring your market value up.
Also the Toffler's idea that "it is knowledge, not cheap labor...that add value." - yeah well tell that to Nike. Their faulty logic that there isn't a majority class between upper, middle, and the lower classes are lies, as well as their idea that "You have 100 people chasing after the same bronze ring." - For me and others, while it would be nice, being a millionaire is not the only or main goal in life.
Oh and their deal about 'Socialism' is actually Communism...you think that they could decifer the two.
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on June 6, 1996
Not the kind of landmark piece as Future Shock or Third Wave were, but a good
continuation of Tofflers' third wave politics. It helps you to understand some of the major
problems western industrialized countries (say USA, Germany, UK, Finland, Sweden, etc.)
are facing. It also explains some of the structural changes going on, although it offers a
scaringly easy way for sweeping generalisations. Not all of our problems can be pointed to
the societal changes from agricultural/industrial society to information society. A good read
nevertheless and for a 7 dollar book - this is a bargain.
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on February 15, 2013
The title seems a bit grandiose, but the book lives up to its' title and has whet my appetite to read more of Alvin and Heidi Toffler's works. I currently reading "Revolutionary Wealth" and it too is changing my life in a good way and I instead of being depressed about what the future holds for me, my children and my fellow human beings, I am now excited about the future because of the GREAT writings and insights the Tofflers have into seeing the future so clearly and plainly!!!
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 1997
Speaking as a college student I may not be the best candidate to give a literary critique but I can tell you that this book should be taught to students in our high schools and universities. The predictions made in this book are not merely predictions but rather observations that have already begun in our world. Any educated person can tell that the changes Toffler expects in our world have already begun. Toffler's major principles for the 21st century include: disappearance of anything resembling a factory-based production system, empowering the home rather than society, decentralization of ideas and duties, and the ideal of congruence between the private and public sectors. Once you read this book, you begin to realize how much the world has already changed and how much farther we can progress if not for our "second world" ideals that hold our society back from ultimate progression and discoveries. I recommend that if you love politics as much as I do, buy this book and be amazed!
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