- Hardcover: 425 pages
- Publisher: Twelve; First Edition edition (September 5, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446580961
- ISBN-13: 978-0446580960
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 100 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,442,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
From "Soccer Moms," the legendary swing voters of the mid-1990s, to "Late-Breaking Gays" such as former Gov. Games McGreevey (out at age 47), Burson-Marsteller CEO (and campaign adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton) Penn delves into the ever-splintering societal subsets with which Americans are increasingly identifying, and what they mean. For instance, because of "Extreme Commuters," people who travel more than 90 minutes each way to work, carmakers must come up with ever more luxury seat features, and "fast food restaurants are coming out with whole meals that fit in cup holders." In a chapter titled "Archery Moms?", Penn reports on the "Niching of Sports": much to the consternation of Major League Baseball, "we don't like sports less, we just like little sports more." The net result of all this "niching" is "greater individual satisfaction"; as Penn notes, "not one of the fastest-growing sports in America... depends substantially on teamwork." Penn draws similar lessons in areas of business, culture, technology, diet, politics and education (among other areas), reporting on 70 groups ("Impressionable Elites," "Caffeine Crazies," "Neglected Dads," "Unisexuals," "America's Home-Schooled") while remaining energetic and entertaining throughout. Culture buffs, retailers and especially businesspeople for whom "small is the new big" will value this exercise in nano-sociology.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"A striking window into 'Hillary's Brain'." -- Politico
"Culture buffs, retailers and especially businesspeople for whom "small is the new big" will value this exercise in nano-sociology." -- Publishers Weekly
"Delightful and fast-paced....A breezy, entertaining consideration of niche groups within America." -- Business Week
"If small is still the new big, then the biggest book of the moment is Microtrends...Penn sifts the sociological sands to come up with a fine-grained view of where we're headed." -- Information Week
"Read it for its dozens of social insights that could well be turned to profit." -- The Economist
"Riveting....imaginative....Penn's thesis is that change in today's world is driven by small trends that are started below the radar ... . " -- Financial Times
"Sound and cleverly written....will undoubtedly appeal to marketing analysts and armchair sociologists, as well as fans of Megatrends and Malcolm Gladwell." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Stuffed with smart, offbeat tidbits....Penn and his co-author, E. Kinney Zalesne, deserve credit for leavening their facts and figures with humor and pop-culture asides." -- Bloomberg
"The strength of the book lies in Penn's analysis of the implications and opportunities of each microtrend." -- USA Today
"Unrelentingly fascinating....Microtrends is a diligently researched tome chock-full of counterintuitive facts and findings." -- The New York Times
Top customer reviews
1. Sex-Ratio Singles. Because the percentage of single women is increasing and historians have documented that a society with too many unattached men leads to war, will a society with too many unattached women lead to peace?
2. Number Junkies. Americans love numbers, but not arithmetic. Despite the popularity of TV shows like 'CSI' and 'Numb3rs' and movies like 'Good Will Hunting', 'A Beautiful Mind' and 'The Da Vinci Code', Harvard last year only had 77 math majors out of 6700 undergraduates.
3. Eurostars. Since European couples are having less kids and since only and oldest children tend to be highly motivated, perfectionists and inclined to leadership, Europe's youth will be an especially talented group. The author notes that every US astronaut was an oldest child.
4. Aspiring Snipers. In a small poll of CA youths, 1% looked to be snipers in ten years. Sure, this could be troublesome, but since snipers, besides being so talented, are more needed in urban situations in war and is a more moral way to kill than bombing, since bombing kills so many innocent victims. Previously, one would have expected more youths to aspire to be military pilots. Perhaps video games caused the change. There is much to think about, here.
5. Protestant Hispanics. Which country sends the most Protestants to the US? Mexico. Interesting!
The author focuses on Microtrends on almost every aspects of our society including:
1)Love, Sex, and Relationship
3)Race and Religion
4)Health and Wellness
8)Food, Drink Diet
10)Money and Class
11)Looks and Fashion
13)Leisure and Entertainment
If you are, however, trying to find useful tidbits of information, then you need to do lot of your own thinking because the book provides hardly any suggestions on how one can capitalize on the microtrends.
After reading this book, you will have a far better understading of the current microtrends affecting America. But wonder how the information you have absorbed could be put to a good use except on Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy.
I recommend the book for a light and enjoyable reading.
That all sounds good, so why only three stars? Two reasons: First off, this type of information is usually gathered on a targeted basis by consultants who have the needs of a specific product or political campaign in mind as they do their work. As a result, the conclusions they reach are relevant to the target audience. In the case of the book, however, Penn necessarily takes a shotgun approach and while it is fun to read, there isn't much that you could actually act on or use without hiring someone like Penn to do a lot more work for you - that might be a good thing for everyone, but it takes away from the experience of reading the book.
Second, Penn has worked for Bill Clinton in the past and clearly has liberal leanings. His political ideology is what it is, but for a guy who claims to be, and is attempting to be an unbiased reader of the statistical tea leaves, he throws a lot of his personal bias into his interpretation of the data. Anyone who has taken an entry-level course in statistics knows that you have to let the numbers do the talking and not go fishing for the results you hope to find. Also, a correlation between data doesn't imply causality either, Penn assumes causality on a regular basis in his interpretations. If he has more data to back up his points, he doesn't mention it. Curiously, all his interpretations lean in the same direction which really detracts from a book that should emphasize the unbiased power of math.
This is an interesting book to read, but you won't be missing any earth-shaking insights if you skip it and you won't be missing the analysis of an incisive, unbiased mind either.
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