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Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future Hardcover – October 2, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Pendulum offers fascinating insights into the surprises and revelations of shifting social trends throughout history.  Roy H. Williams and Michael Drew answer the age-old question:  What makes us tick?”
—Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
“If you're trying to get a grip on why we do what we do, there's a way forward: It's  Pendulum. Roy Williams and Michael Drew have explored the profound shifts in society from ancient times to now and created a blueprint to civilization. To understand your clients, to understand the market, to understand your own motivations – read  Pendulum.”
—T. Harv Eker, author of #1 New York Times bestseller Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
“How do you predict what kind of society we're in?  How do you know when's the right time to make a difference? In Pendulum, Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew have combed through history's ups and downs and the cultural shifts that ripple through every generation. They've written a unique guidebook that has an interesting perspective for marketers, entrepreneurs, and anyone is thinking about how to live in the now—and in the future.”
—Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness

“In today's business environment you need to anticipate and understand consumers as never before. You need to drive change and create step-and-repeat processes. Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew nail it in Pendulum. They've looked in the mirror of history, and found a reflective pattern. And while every businessperson is running the gauntlet of business, they can use the book to become more competitive, nimble and ready to drive change and grow! Every generation thinks a bit differently than the previous one – and Pendulum tells you why. Saddle up for an insightful read, and an essential tool.”
—Jeffrey Hayzlett, Former CMO Kodak, Global Business & Marketing Authority and bestselling author of The Mirror Test and Running the Gauntlet

“If you want to better understand the world we live in, then read Pendulum. Roy H. Williams and Michael Drew have uncovered the secrets to how society shifts from generation to generation—and why that matters to all of us.”
—Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author of Happy for No Reason

“If you've ever wondered why people did what they did, why cultural change happened and even what led to some of mankind's greatest discoveries, then Pendulum has the answers. Roy H. Williams and Michael Drew take you through three millennia on an astounding roller-coaster ride of shifts in society to get at the heart of why we do what we do—and how we can understand not only where we are, but where we're going.”
—Greg S. Reid, co-author of Think and Grow Rich: Three Feet from Gold
Pendulum is a profoundly powerful read. This revelatory new book provides insight to social trends that will emerge in the years to come. Pendulum impacted how I approach business and it will change how you view the world.”
—Rich Christiansen, entrepreneur and USA Today bestselling author of The Zig Zag Principle

“If you want to know where the future is headed and prepare for what is to come, then you have to read this book. Pendulum will help you better understand society and social behavior like it has never before been explained. This book is a true gem and a must-read.”
—Randy Garn, CRO of Prosper Inc., and co-author of the New York Times bestseller Prosper: Create the Life You Really Want

"Pendulum may be the most important book you read all year. This is not a book about business but one about how culture has changed, which will dramatically alter the way you must do business. It will open your eyes to exactly what is happening in the world today and how your business must respond. "
Eric Rhoads, Publisher, Radio Ink

“We've all heard how history repeats. Now we know why. We humans swing from selfish to social every generation or so, and civilization swings with us. In their surprising, insightful and witty new book, Pendulum, Roy H. Williams and Michael Drew explain us to us. They explore the real reasons behind some of civilization's greatest advances—and retreats. They show us why we repeat ourselves—but they also give us the tools that might prevent future catastrophes.”
—Robert J. Hughes, former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of Late and Soon
"Times change, but some things remain consistent: People either think of themselves or of others. The question is, how do you know when (and what does it mean) Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew have figured that out in Pendulum, their razor-sharp look at cultural shifts over the last 3,000 years (and the next ones too). Whether you try to come up with a new dish at KFC, a special pie at Pizza Hut or a menu change at Taco Bell, you need to know your customer. Pendulum gives you that knowledge.
— Jonathan Blum, SVP and Chief Public Affairs and Global Nutrition Officer of YUM brands

About the Author

Nicknamed “the Wizard of Ads” by an early client, Roy H. Williams and his staff have often been the unseen, pivotal force in amazing come-frombehind
victories in the worlds of business, politics, and finance. A lifelong student of humanity, Roy has spent a quartercentury asking, “What makes people do the things they do?” With over forty branch offices in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Guatemala, Wizard of Ads, Inc. serves the advertising and marketing needs of business owners around the globe. Roy’s books and Monday Morning Memos are a constant source of fascination and entertainment for his students and friends. His previous books, The Wizard of Ads, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads all reached bestseller status. Roy teaches creative thinking, strategic planning, and human persuasion in a three-day Wizard Academy that, since its launch in May of 2000, has attracted a roster of students that includes many of the world’s most forward-thinking and successful CEOs, educators, journalists, inventors, and consultants.

Since the age of nineteen, Michael R. Drew has become a leading book marketer in the publishing industry, propelling nearly 75 books onto national
bestseller lists, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times, and garnering over 1,000 #1 rankings for books on Amazon.com through his Promote A Book services. Michael heads a marketing agency that strives to build strong and real relationships with his clients and their audiences, increasing sales in a natural manner, and maximizing the depth and longevityof that relationship through its Persona Architecture and Platform Building programs. Michael has presented the Pendulum theory on stage with and for the Dali Lama, Sir Richard Branson, and Steven R. Covey, and privately for the Executive Committee at Franklin Covey. Michael lives in Austin, Texas.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vanguard Press (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593157061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593157067
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There is a compelling amount of evidence presented in this book that Western society swings from an individualistic "Me" culture to a civic-minded "We" and back over 80 years. According to this fascinating book, we are swinging up into a "We" society, a society that will look more like WW II America than the America that elected a movie star for President.

If you choose to read it, you are going to begin to see signs of shifts in the headlines of your daily newspaper or in the feed reader of your Smartphone. We are starting to see in the headlines an America that is gathering around causes. We are also seeing a low tolerance for those who don't fit. The polarization in Washington is one big sign. Even the politicians are "taking sides" and there is little tolerance for moderate positions outside the party lines.

Stories and movies about going green, ending Madison Avenue style advertising, and eliminating processed foods are prolific. These were once hippy sentiments in our individualistic days, but these causes have gone mainstream as our civic society has begun to form groups and work together.

If the book is to be believed, we will soon start to see intolerance and even suppression of outliers. Will the parents of obese children be ostracized at PTA meetings? Will our homes be egged if we don't have solar panels on our roofs? We will find out by the time our Pendulum reaches the top of another swing in 2023.

For anyone in advertising or marketing, this book is a must. It will tell you why our communications have stopped working and what to do about it.

As with any good book, this one raises many questions as it delivers its insights. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
Impactful. The authors do a heroic job of putting a timeline of critical historical events and showing the ebb and flow of trends. The tides shift each generation, about every 40 years, according to the authors. Understanding these crucial (previous) milestones in relation to our own current timeline help predict what is yet to come. In so doing, we can better address and penetrate the needs of our customers.

As for writing style, the majority of the book is factoid after factoid. It's written in an "almanac" sort of way, which is somewhat annoying. The authors don't really engage the reader and draw them in. It's not until the last two chapters of the book (if you can make it that far) that the authors finally get it together and tell the reader how all these factoids impact the reader.

Topic Relevance: I give it 4 stars.
Writing Style and engagement: 2.5 stars.

It would have been immensely helpful if the authors would have had one chart with the entire 80 year timeline instead of constantly writing about "upswings, fulcrums, and zeniths". A picture is worth a thousand words.

Linda Gross, The Men's Advocate.
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Format: Hardcover
First, full disclosure: I'm a business partner with Roy Williams and a friend of Mike Drew's. If you want to take my review with a grain of salt because of this, I understand. But I think the intriguing and compelling ideas presented in this book are able to speak for themselves, quite apart from whatever my personal endorsement might bring to the table.

Here's what I mean by that: just every 80 years we have a massive big time civic crises (usually involving wars). So you can think of the revolutionary war, civil war, and WWII. All pretty much 80 years apart, give or take a few years. In between you have spiritual awakenings, which are also 80 years apart, making each "awakening" about 40 years out from a civic crises. Of course, spiritual awakenings last a bit longer than wars, but the first "Great Awakening" started in 1720 and ended in 1750, with a mid period 1735. The second Great Awakening starts in 1800 and lasts till 1840, with a midpoint at 1820. The third Great Awakening starts early, but ends about on time, going from 1850-1910 and making the midpoint at 1880. And then there's the 60's, aka "The Fourth Awakening" happening 80 years after 1880. Civic Crises and Spiritual Awakenings occur like clockwork, alternating every 40 years.

Now, if you're a critical thinker, you're probably thinking to yourself that that's an interesting pattern/theory, but there are some holes and questions, right? How do you know I'm not cherry-picking events to fit the pattern and leaving out events that don't fit? And, what if this pattern does really exist -- so what?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the fall, the grass turns brown. In the spring, the grass turns green.

As a child, when you understand the changing seasons, you'll know which clothes to have ready for chilly mornings in the fall or winter.

What if we discovered that there are `macro-seasons'? Macro-seasons could be longer stretches of time for cycles to occur. What if the cycle was about the same length as a human life? It would be hard for us to see, but once we recognize the pattern, we could better relate to people looking for products and to people finding fulfillment in giving generously to non-profits.

The Pendulum Swings

"Pendulum" by Roy Williams and Michael Drew shows that these `macro seasons' are real. "Pendulum" looks at history and uncovers a predictable swing of public opinion--largely moving from one kind of excess to moderation then to a second excess then back to moderation. With three thousand years of history, the authors show the pendulum's cycle. Better yet, you can find the way to understand what people will desire in the coming days.

I've watched Roy Williams for quite a while and he's had a habit of being right, so I expect him to keep his record intact with what he says in "Pendulum".

Here's a big hint: If you enjoyed success in the 80s, your natural instincts may lead you away from success today--just like pulling out the swimsuit in fall.

Get prepared for the coming change of seasons by reading "Pendulum".
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