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Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives Hardcover – October 27, 1982

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books, Inc.; 1st edition (October 27, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446512516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446512510
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #841,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book clearly deserves more than five stars for its power and effectiveness in identifying, explaining, and projecting many important trends in American society over the last 18 years.
I first read this book when it was published in 1982, and decided to reread it recently to understand more about the methods used by testing them with 20-20 hindsight.
The book built from the principle that the "most reliable way to anticipate the future is by understanding the present." Although the book relies a lot on that method (by examining current beginnings that could turn into mighty rivers), its real power comes from the long-term perspective of how an information society will be different from the prior industrial one.
The trends identified were:
(1) Becoming an information society after having been an industrial one
(2) From technology being forced into use, to technology being pulled into use where it is appealing to people
(3) From a predominantly national economy to one in the global marketplace
(4) From short term to long term perspectives
(5) From centralization to decentralization
(6) From getting help through institutions like government to self-help
(7) From representative to participative democracy
(8) From hierarchies to networking
(9) From a northeastern bias to a southwestern one
(10) From seeing things as "either/or" to having more choices.
The detail behind each of the trends is often more rewarding than the overall trend itself. You get specific examples that excite your imagination. "On the producer side [of multiple choices], it means there can be a market for just about anything.
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Format: Hardcover
Naisbitt looks a long term futuristic trends. He helps one to see the big picture both chronologically and globally. Take for example his opening observation that "While America's new information economy is our most important megatrend, it is only part of the puzzle." He logically argues that "collectively what is going on locally is what is going on in America." The five bellwether states, which set the trends for the rest of the couutry are idenified as; California, Florida, Washington, Colorado, and Connecticut.
A strong case is made in the second chapter for "high touch" (i.e., human involvement) to remain a vital component of the high tech age.
In the third chapter, the global economy is described. The airplane and satellite communication are identified as the technologies that caused the transition from a national to a global economy.
Although an international, global economy exists, surprisingly at the same time decentralization is occurring. He explains in chapter 5 why.
In the following chapter he similarly explains how people are becoming increasinly proactive in their individual futures, and not rely on institutional help.
The proactive theme is carried a step further in chapter seven.
Chapter 8 discusses the phenomenon of networking.
Right up to the end of his book, he makes a solid case for the trends he describes. This is a well-written book, researched so that its essential theme remains accurate although a lot has changed since it originally was published.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The central point I recall in this book, which I do not see reflected in my quick scan of these reviews, is that the megatrends cited are DIALECTECAL forces, NOT trends from one direction to another. For example, AS globalization increases and intensifies, SO DOES localization. AS high tech gains ascendency, SO DOES "high touch." The author(s) did not advocate any particular outcome, to the best of my memory; he/they pointed out dynamic tendencies to become aware of and to attend to.

In that light, such "predictions" as are implicit in the megatrends cited do seem often to have played out: The attacks of 9/11 can arguably be seen as a highly localized action in response to the trend of globalization, as well as to the leading role played therein by US political, economic, and business interests and the resulting domestic and international policies. The existence of highly-effective, decentralized networks, such as Al Quaeda, enabling highly localized action in support of a major global trend and disperse organization (i.e., the global spread of fundamentalist Islam) can be seen in some ways as a synthesis of the dichotomous, simultaneous forces of globalization and localization.

Likewise, as technological development accelerates and permeates human cultures, the value of individually hand-crafted items rises. The interest in owning hand-made items, and in making things with one's own hands, increases in parallel. As one indicator of this trend playing out, consider the proliferation of magazines and in-person gatherings on these two groups of subjects.
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