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The Dream Society: How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business [Paperback]

Rolf Jensen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2001 How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Will Tr

"The Dream Society . . . provides dramatic insights into how marketing will operate in the 21st century."­­Atlanta Business Chronicle

A fascinating look into the future of business, as featured in Fast Company

The future is uncertain­­the world is constantly changing. While anything can happen, some things are far more likely than others. Rolf Jensen, internationally renowned futurist, provides readers with a tangible look at what the future will be like over the next 25 years.

By identifying what lies ahead, Jensen gives people the knowledge they need to make informed decisions and strategically align themselves to capitalize on the unknown future, a future Jensen calls "the Dream Society." This dream society is characterized by the commercialization of emotions.

In this provocative exploration, Jensen says that it will no longer be enough to produce a useful product. He shows that, for a product to be successful, its primary purpose will be the ability to fulfill an emotional need.

Those who understand the workings of this dream society will be the ones who create the new products, new markets, and new businesses that dominate the world of tomorrow.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional; Reprint edition (1 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071379681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071379687
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 294,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Once upon a time planning for the future was a "staff" function. Over at Global HQ there would be a group of inky-fingered boffs beavering away at a series of "what if?" problems. What if there is a revolution in country X? What if our product turns out to be fatal to our customers? What if our new wonder-technology turns out to be an evolutionary cul-de-sac?

The future was something you could possibly see coming, but the present was where all the action was. Now that's all changed. The future comes at us so fast these days and from so many different directions that it is no longer sufficient for a company just to rely on a look-out with a telescope perched atop the corporate planning function. The whole crew needs to be armed with binoculars, constantly scanning the horizon for brave new worlds of opportunity and hidden threats that can sink an enterprise--no matter how large--in a matter of years or even months.

In short, the future is now a line issue. This and the Millennium explain the extraordinary rise of the futurist industry and the plethora of books dealing with the future.

The Dream Society is the latest and one of the wisest of these tomes. Its thesis is that human society has evolved from the hunter-gatherer era through agricultural and then industrial societies to most recently the information society; but shortly we are to enter the dream society. Its distinguishing characteristic is that in a world of material affluence in which much of current work is rendered obsolete by technology companies will compete through their myths. The product will be secondary and instead the company with the best story will win.

Written by Rolf Jensen, Director of the highly respected academic think-tank The Copenhagen Institute, the book tracks the implications of this observation on corporate and consumer behaviour in the industrialised countries. Companies will become tribes and work will become "hard fun". He writes: "The market for dreams would soon eclipse the market for information-based reality. The market for feelings would eclipse the market for tangible products".

It would be easy to dismiss this as a load of touchy-feely Scandinavian fantasy were it not for its academic rigour and honesty. "The Dream Society is a theory about the future; therefore it cannot be verified", admits Jensen. This book is not a prediction of what will be but a fascinating, thought-provoking discussion of what may be. --Alex Benady --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

How Market Leaders from Disney to Nike Successfully Target Human Emotions­­and How Other Companies Can Join Them

The Dream Society reveals the future of business after the Information Age, a future in which the story behind the product will provide the competitive edge. It provides insights into the six major markets that target our basic emotional needs, and discusses how organizations from Disney and Nike to Rolex are supplying information to help consumers satisfy those needs. Thought-provoking and timely, it details the ways in which today's dream society trades on the exciting world of human potential and dreams­­and what organizations must do to keep from being left behind.

Praise for The Dream Society:

"A riveting essay on the demands for goods and services ... Well presented and organized, this is highly recommended for academic and corporate libraries."
­­Library Journal

"The Dream Society is a fresh new way to look at the future and at how businesses need to transform themselves in order to prosper in the 21st century."
­­Arnold Brown, Noted futurist, Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.

"Stories have always been the key motivation in making a purchase, fixing a deal, and raising one's level of effectiveness in the world. In the future, leaders will have to become storytellers first and managers second. Rolf Jensen is pointing the way to the future."
­­Harriet Rubin, Author, The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The ideas for the Dream Society began one chilly autumn morning during a meeting with two of our major clients, a telecommunications firm and a leading bank. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener for the next twenty years 22 July 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Having ideas as to what the world will be like twenty years from now requires a special talent. The author has this talent and has made it his profession to sell scenarios for the future to companies. Most people will find new ideas in this book. The main theme is that affluent people will buy products with a "dream" attached to it and not so much based on value for money. This is in itself nothing new. People buy a Rolex not because they want to know the time but because Rolex tells other people something about the wearer. This is true for all branded goods. The new point is that the importance of the story will escalate very rapidly. When the Danes read about the terrible conditions in which chickens laid eggs the effect was that the market share for free-range eggs became 50% even though they cost more. An interesting finding is that around 80% of affluent persons will switch brands or supplier if they do not like the supplier's moral behaviour. Shell experienced this very dramatically when it wanted to sink the Brent Spar platform in the sea. As a consequence companies have to take "political/moral" positions, something which many companies find uncomfortable. The author also suggests that people will invest in stocks of companies with a reputation or "story" they like. This does not mean that profit-performance no longer matters. It does but it is not sufficient. Another interesting observation is that Karl Marx prediction of the capital belonging to the people is starting to become true though not in the way Marx predicted. The capital increasingly consists of knowledge and competence of the employees and not of the investment in hardware and other capital employed. He sees companies becoming tribes with shared values and fun. Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By George I think he's got it.......right! 15 April 2000
Format:Hardcover
I stumbled onto this book at work - the idea of storytelling was becoming increasingly. We had already started using scenarios to express sometimes difficult and complex concepts to a multitude of audience types and this is so much better. Rolf Jensen's original article written back in '96 - is like a blinding flash of light - no doubt then too far ahead of its time like the internet fridge was back in '94! The book may get oversentimental in its tone towards the end but I urge you very strongly to read it. Then you can see where Nordstrom and Riddestrale got their ideas.....and the rest.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Why do some people buy a watch at $ 10.000, when you can get a much more precise one at $ 10? Because time is not the essential thing - it's about dreams, lifestyles and adventure. Why is the automobile the "New Beetle" such a big success? Because it looks almost like the old one (apart from new technology). Why is the movie "Titanic" the greatest blockbuster of our time? Because it's a story about a ship, a journey into nostalgia, feelings and lifestyles of persons 87 years ago. Dreams, stories, lifestyles, feelings, adventure, nostalgia, care - you'll get all the questions and answers in this well-written and provocative book about the next 25 years in the affluent societies. It's difficult to find arguments against the many examples and facts in this amazing book. Just to mention two examples: according to the author, doctors will gradually be replaced by automation within the health care sector, but nurses will get their golden age because of the explosive need to provide for care in the coming years. And: "The story can be told with a whole range of products, the product themselves being secondary". This is the reason why people buy Marlboro, Nike, BMW, Rolex and other brands at a price many times the price for other more unknown products. There is always a story behind: adventure(Marlboro-man), lifestyle (Nike) or nostalgia (BMW-oldtimers). This well-structured book is not about utopia, it's about the changing patterns of our daily lives, and it's already happening...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 11 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Worth reading it.You will learn so much from it and see the world different.Not always easy to read but worth it.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and depressing 30 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this very disappointing and irritating.
It seems to idolise luxury brands that "tell a good story", with no apparent interest in whether the story is true. It appears to see a future of increasing vacuousness.
It contains a series of grandiose predictions for the future which don't strike me as very well grounded or interesting.
Worse, it is so badly written, teeming with trite statements such as: "There are big markets for convictions, and there are small ones"; and "In an insecure and changeable world, there is a demand for peace of mind and permanence." Not exactly a blinding insight!
Sometimes, it combines triteness with extraordinarily garbled language as in: "The battle of the twenty-first century will be fought on a microfront where the bone of contention is the individual's attention" I am not sure what that means unless it is a banal statement of the already blindlingly obvious fact that we are overwhelmed with information and ideas.
I wonder if this book has been translated into English from another language. It sometimes reads like one of those terrible instruction manuals that accompanied Japanese technology in the 60s and 70s.
This book is portentous and irritating. Save your money.
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