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Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes Hardcover – 5 Sep 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 425 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; First Edition First Printing edition (5 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446580961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446580960
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,658,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Bursting with essential information … produces a picture of the world that confounds preconceptions (Tim Lott Sunday Telegraph)

Delivers jolt after jolt (Sunday Telegraph)

Fascinating … fun (Independent)

An intriguing mix (Telegraph Daily)

Unrelentingly fascinating (The New York Times)

So original … the range of examples is giddying (Financial Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Why the smallest groups have the biggest impact
In Microtrends, Mark Penn, one of the most respected and sought-after analysts in the world, articulates a new way of understanding how we live. He reveals the real trends wielding large influence on society today and tomorrow. In every case these are small patterns of behaviour involving as little as one percent of the population, yet they can transform a business, tip an election, or spark a movement. These are the microtrends.

Relying on some of the best data available, Penn identifies more than 70 microtrends in religion, leisure, politics, and family life that are changing our lives. Among them are how people are retiring by continuing to work, why the most influential millionaires are the most shy, how the new geeks are the most sociable people around, and how even some of the most basic trends are being overlooked - like how women are driving technology and how Dads are older than ever and spending more time with the kids than in the past.

People have never been more sophisticated, more individualistic, or more knowledgeable about the choices they make in their daily lives, yet little is done to find the logical patterns that underlie their choices. Mark Penn believes that you have to look at and interpret the data to know what is going on, and that conventional wisdom is almost always wrong. In Microtrends he shows how we can all become better trendspotters.

A groundbreaking book, Microtrends is an invaluable tool in the quest to better understand our world and a remarkable portrait of the 21st century, where the most important trends are the smallest ones. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine used to tell me that what most attracted him to a nonfiction book was the opportunity to learn something that would make for good dinner table conversation. My friend would rate Microtrends at five stars for sure. I don't recall a book with so many factoids that highlight minor trends in society. Here are a few examples:

1. There are more Christian Zionists than Jewish ones.

2. One percent of young Californians want to grow up to be military snipers.

3. As a result of the crime crackdown, one of the fastest growing population segments is newly released ex-convicts.

4. Knitting is making a revival among young people.

5. Those who love technology are more outgoing than those who hate technology.

The book also has some international examples. One of my favorites is that 82 percent of men aged 18-30 in Italy live at home with their parents. I felt like calling my sons to congratulate them on having moved out.

Mark J. Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne argue that you can build political conclusions from looking at such small trends. It's a lot easier to switch an independent voter than to attract a first-time voter . . . or to switch a voter who is loyal to the other party. Be spot-on with an issue that creates excitement for a small group of swing voters, and you may carry an election. The book is filled with references to the 1996 role that Soccer Moms played in Bill Clinton's re-election.

Beyond that, this is a book of trivia. There's not much analysis of products or positions that such groups might like. There's also no attempt to tie these small trends back to these people being independent voters.

Mark J. Penn and E.
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Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine used to tell me that what most attracted him to a nonfiction book was the opportunity to learn something that would make for good dinner table conversation. My friend would rate Microtrends at five stars for sure. I don't recall a book with so many factoids that highlight minor trends in society. Here are a few examples:

1. There are more Christian Zionists than Jewish ones.

2. One percent of young Californians want to grow up to be military snipers.

3. As a result of the crime crackdown, one of the fastest growing population segments is newly released ex-convicts.

4. Knitting is making a revival among young people.

5. Those who love technology are more outgoing than those who hate technology.

The book also has some international examples. One of my favorites is that 82 percent of men aged 18-30 in Italy live at home with their parents. I felt like calling my sons to congratulate them on having moved out.

Mark J. Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne argue that you can build political conclusions from looking at such small trends. It's a lot easier to switch an independent voter than to attract a first-time voter . . . or to switch a voter who is loyal to the other party. Be spot-on with an issue that creates excitement for a small group of swing voters, and you may carry an election. The book is filled with references to the 1996 role that Soccer Moms played in Bill Clinton's re-election.

Beyond that, this is a book of trivia. There's not much analysis of products or positions that such groups might like. There's also no attempt to tie these small trends back to these people being independent voters.

Mark J. Penn and E.
Read more ›
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This book is relatively lightweight but nonetheless an intriguing read. The bulk of the book consists of 75 small chapters most of them four to five pages long each of which describes and speculates about social trends suggested by opinion poll results. The author's American English grated on me at times but the small chapters made it easily digestible. Trends discussed include:

* older first-time fathers,
* teenage entrepreneurs,
* race differences in obesity rates,
* the rise of knitting as a pastime,
* the growth of the non-profit sector

and many others.

Hard social research it isn't and few solid conclusions can be drawn, except perhaps with regard to what pollsters ask about. Numbers and percentages are tossed here and there with abandon and I suspect that the book would have many professional statisticians rolling on the floor laughing.

On the other hand this is, as another reviewer has said, a highly thought-provoking book and that alone stands much in its favour. Also, in providing a snapshot of poll results in the first decade of the 21st century, the book may well turn out to be a useful historical document a hundred years on. If the authors produced a revised edition every ten years, they might provide future historians with much to ponder.

I toyed with giving a 3-star rating. On the whole, though, it's worth 4 for being so facinating.
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Format: Hardcover
Microtrends is a collection of essays, grouped in categories ranging from technology,to politics, lifestyle, teens and many others. A microtrend is in essence a synonym for a niche, a losely defined group of individuals that exhibit a number of common characteristics in the concept of statistical/sociological studies. What the book does for the reader, is basically provide a study of numerous such groups in an engaging and often humorous way.

It is interesting to see that some of the "microtrends" discussed in the book can initially be incospicuous but yet powerful. Also entertaining is the fact that there is a really good chance you will identify with at least one of the described groups (for example i'm a caffeine crazy social geek) and also find interesting suggestions when it comes to marketing to such specific audiences.

There are only two issues I had with this book. The first one is that I would like to see some deeper delving into the numbers supporting the theories here. But given that I do have a mathematical bent, it can also be argued that this makes this book accessible to the non-statistician/ numerically-minded parties. The second thing to note is that the book may at times appear to have a liberal bias. Given Mark Penn's track record of working under the Clinton administration this isn't something unforeseen, and to tell the truth, these days almost every other piece of published work sets some political tone or another, and at least the author does not make any false claims of objectivity.

Overall it is a very pleasant and engaging read, wich given its structure of separation in small essays can be a good reading supplement for any moment. I higly recommend taking a look, if only to identify some of the microtrends you may belong to.
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