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Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes
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Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  1,585 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Mark Penn argues that the biggest trends in America are the Microtrends, the smaller trends that go unnoticed or ignored. One million people can create new market for a business, spark a social movement, or effect political change. In 1996, a microtrend identified by Penn ("soccer moms") was crucial in re-electing President Clinton. With years of experience as one of world ...more
Hardcover, 425 pages
Published September 5th 2007 by Twelve (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,912)
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Anne Ruthmann
This book outlines the changes that are happening in our population which are likely to affect the next decade of purchasing decisions. I probably wouldn't have picked up this book if it weren't the only non-fiction business audio that I hadn't yet read at my local library, but I'm so glad I did. It's a cross between "Blink" and "The Long Tail" the way that it derives informations based on hard numbers. What makes it better than the "The Long Tail" or "Small Is the New Big" is that it actually h ...more
Jenne
Sounded neat, but it's just a bunch of intermittently interesting statistics tied together by the guy's out-of-touch observations.

For example, in a chapter on adults who play videogames:
"The games all focus on taking over worlds, dating, or killing. But what most 33-year-old men want is to make a killing in the stock market, or if they want to knock someone off, it's their boss and his corner office. Their female counterparts have just had their first or second baby, and are dealing with child
...more
Audrey
This book started out interesting but bogged down quickly in partisan remarks, personal observations, guesses and random statistics. His thesis: microtrends change the world as the number of those who drive them reaches the "critical" 1%, is very interesting. But, as other reviewers have mentioned, he gets bogged down in reporting all sorts of less-than-1-percenters that he just finds interesting and his thesis loses steam. He goes from reporting statistically significant groups to ranting about ...more
Karen
Fascinating book by Democratic pollster Mark Penn. Famous for unearthing and coining the term "soccer moms," Penn explains how relatively small subgroups of the population can launch a social or political revolution. Penn believes George W. Bush can thank Protestant Latinos, who favored Al Gore in 2000, for his win in 2004. The book profiles the many "microtrends" he's currently watching: among them, for example, High School Moguls, Late Out of the Closet Gay Men, Marrieds who Met on the Net, So ...more
getAbstract
Study of emerging social trends

This book is useful, entertaining and, at times, a little strange. These qualities all arise from its core premise. Mark. J. Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne set out to reveal dozens of “microtrends” they say are reshaping U.S. and global society. They group these contained trends by topical clusters (work, health, etc.), and argue that Americans’ freedom of choice is allowing social fragmentation into more distinct niches. The result is snapshot after snapshot of 70 or
...more
Rodrigo
Very interesting and easy reading. But it seems that Mark Penn is doing exactly what he criticizes so much in others: ignoring some "atoms" of this world. After reading his book one comes with the feeling that, somehow, Latin America and Africa have just vanished, and that all that matters in this world is the US (which he insists in calling "America", ignoring the fact that for more than half of the world "America" is a continent, not a country: isn't that a trend?), some european countries, an ...more
Danny
The premise of this story, that tomorrow's leading trends and political forces can be predicted by taking a look at the demographics of any group that reaches the critical 1% threshold of today, is an intriguing one and merited some additional attention. Unfortunately, after some promising early chapters of the book, where Penn manages to speak authoritatively on matters of his expertise (namely, politics), it rapidly becomes clear that the scope of this topic has overwhelmed and exhausted the k ...more
Alex
I had decided in the first quarter of the book that this was not a good read, but as with most other not-so-good books I have read in the past, I had to finish it - some kind of an OCD need to come to a conclusion? Once I decided to hate the book, I was going to start taking notes in the margins of the points I disagreed with and the shoddy throwaway attempts at humor that peppered Penn's research, but I am far too lazy to do that. So then my next plan was to just dog-ear some pages and quote fr ...more
dejah_thoris
I think this tends more towards a 2.5 star review than a 3 star review based on its age. Written a couple of years before the economic collapse in 2007, half of the microtrends are still applicable but the other half have disappearanced. But if you remember the economic zeitgeist of 2007, those microtrends that have died made perfect sense during that time. Alas, the lack of fluidity in the economy has thrust them to the back burner as has the rise of other development not predicted in this book ...more
Betty
Feb 17, 2014 Betty added it
Very interesting book.

"Numerically Speaking, when the music stops in heterosexual America, there are a lot of girls left standing."

Mark then gos on to say that at birth there are more boys than girls but after puberty, due to car accidents, homicides, suicides and drownings, there are a little fewer boys than girls. (he doesn't even mention wars) The ratio is something like 51 to 49. Then the Gay Factor has to be added in. 5% of Americans (give or take) are gay. But there are two gay men for ev
...more
Hadrian
Some mildly interesting data about overlooked segments of society, but distorted with bizarre personal remarks and hamfisted explanations. Best skimmed.
Simone Collins
“Microtrends is based on the idea that the most powerful forces in our society are the emerging, counterintuitive trends that are shaping tomorrow right before us.” Penn argues, furthermore, that America is not so much a melting pot as it is an intricate patchwork of independent people creating their own small movements. Even if 1% of a population engages in one of these microtrends, potential impact (and opportunity) is significant.

I’m definitely behind the concept. Now more than ever, I feel t
...more
Jon

When I picked up this book, my endorphins spiked. Mark Penn, star Democratic pollster, wrote a book about microtargeting, the cutting edge of political campaigns; how much better could it get? The more of the cover I judged, the more excited I got. Bills Clinton and Gates, Tony Blair, and the Washington Post all recommended Mark Penn. This book is going to be fantastic, I thought. It was all downhill from there. What I failed to notice is that they were all recommending Penn the person, not Penn

...more
Anna
These is a lot that is of interest in this book, for example the perceptions of parental strictness, with some reservations. Firstly, it is written by a pollster. He puts great stress on the importance of data, but at a fairly superficial level. For instance, there is no mention of the fact that correlation doesn't imply causation, nor that self-reporting risks systematic bias. No actual statistical analysis is included, just graphs, and most of sources mentioned at the end are newspaper article ...more
Aunt
Finished reading Microtrends on my trip home from Portland with Collin reading over my shoulder (well, more like my arm in the plane...) for parts of it. I had to struggle to finish this one, despite the fact that the book is divided into easily digestible sections of 10 pages or fewer. The premise is that we tend to look at the big trends (Anyone remember MEGATRENDS?) shaping the country and the world but we are increasingly a society of smaller groups whose influence has "shaping" power as wel ...more
Roger
Microtrends is an eclectic collection of statistically significant bits and pieces. They are broken down into categories of family, work, health, money and more. The book has one overarching theme: that there is great change coming, and that 1% of a population only needs to buy into an idea to give it mass. Thus, all these statistically significant bits and pieces are things which exhibit a buy-in of at least 1% of the population.

When you put a hundred of them together, it's not quite 100% (as t
...more
Sridhar Reddy
Mark Penn, former campaign manager of Hillary Clinton and controversial PR maven, is a man of numbers. He is the czar of polling and more so the analysis of polling statistics. His focus on numbers and statistics leads to a reversal of popular thought: where the world is accepting the notion of the global village and the world being flat, Penn asserts that it rather is the differences that show common behavioral trends. He calls these small statistical deviations "microtrends" and uses them to p ...more
Kathryn
This is not really the kind of book one reads cover-to-cover. It's built for skipping around and reading what interests you.

I picked up this book out of curiosity, and because, as a therapist-in-training, I'm ever curious about some of the small, up-and-coming groups that may show up for therapy someday, or may benefit from psychological study, say in the form of a PhD thesis.

Thus far, I've found reading this book to be a strange experience. Some of it is kind of exciting. It's great to read a
...more
Tony
The author has been a political pollster. He was instrumental in getting Bill Clinton a second term in office.

The main thesis of this title is that big trends are easy to spot. Smaller trends, however, frequently converge, resulting in something which no one saw coming. So, by being aware of the smaller trends, and spotting potential convergences between these smaller trends, you're less likely to be surprised.

One of his discoveries for Bill Clinton was that, quite often, men and women within th
...more
Kater Cheek
This book reminds me of two different books I have read: BLINK, and THE CLUSTERING OF AMERICA. Like BLINK, it touches on many different subjects, from pet ownership to art in China. Like The Clustering of America, it's more a loosely bound collection of factoids than an in-depth analysis.

Each chapter in this book deals with a different subject. The chapters are bound together in sections, for example "work" or "health and wellness" or "technology." Some of the facts presented, when taken on an i
...more
Mike Love
This ground breaking book gives 75 examples of small changes that make big differences in society. Mark Penn is the master of "small things" and explains here how politically, sociologically, economically and commercially small percentages of people can swing votes and sway purchasing decisions. Penn's work for Clinton, Gates and Blair shows that his arguments are sound and that he has identified a significant change in the way people think, choose and act. He characterises this as a shift from ...more
itpdx
Feb 13, 2008 itpdx rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: marketing, political junkies
Shelves: non-fiction
A very interesting book by the pollster who discovered and named the Soccer Moms. He discusses sometimes surprising groups of people that are small but possibly growing trends. Some of them were old news to me. For instance my daughter's summer camps offered vegetarian options more than a decade ago (see Vegan Children) and I have been aware of Pet Parents for longer than that. But I have never run into a Christian Zionist!

I had quibbles with some of his conclusions. He says that left-handednes
...more
Tommy
This book drastically underwhelmed me. I read it because it was by Mark Penn who was very highly regarded for his handling of Bill Clinton's campaigns and Hillary's senate campaigns (among other work). He has done a terrible job with Hillary's presidential campaign so I wanted to see what his book was about.

I was expecting a list of trends with a concise description of their (unmet) needs and how to market a campaign to them. So first of all it was not a strict political book but that wasn't bad
...more
John
Interesting perspectives from a famous pollster and political organizer. Penn highlights a range of burgeoning developments and what he terms Microtrends which signal key changes in society. He covers both American and international. The book is perceptive and well researched. A worthwhile and breezy read.
There is clearly a pro-Clinton bias that permeates a lot of the writing. He worked for Bill and was a key operative in Hilary's campaign. The book did include one major error which I attempted
...more
Brooke Veile
This book is interesting for discovering which direction the trends are moving which have an impact on how we live. I think living in Portland it's easy to spot new trends because individuality is fostered heavily in the city and people aren't afraid to try something new and different. Some of the trends I was not aware of evangelical mexicans, LAT (Live Apart Togethers), the growth of sports that you can do individually not as a team. The author devoted a chapter to teen knitters. As a hard car ...more
Lisa Drake
This book is divided into small (2-4 pages) chapters about emerging trends; Penn defines microtrends as common behaviors or characteristics among 1% of the population. I'm finding it interesting and illuminating, although some of his statistics seem to be on shaky ground. For example, he'll present data from two years (e.g., 1975 and 1995), draw a line between them, and discuss a huge increase (or decrease) in the parameter of interest. I'd like to know what the data say in the intervening years ...more
Michael Hildrum
I thought this would be a very interesting book, but it was not to me. I envisioned a book about how small groups of people can effect a large change on the world around them. Instead what I got was a cataloging of small groups that could start microtrends and thereby effect big change. The difference is real. Everyone has heard of "Soccer Moms." And you may know that Clinton's campaign targetted them as a group. This book has some 75 other groups similar to "Soccer Moms" outlined in it.

I suppo
...more
Theresa
This book was published in 2007 which made it all the more interesting since I read it in 2013. It's comprised of short 4-5 page discussions of small trends happening mostly in America and why they are important. It's fascinating to look back and compare what was happening then and consider what's happening now. Knitting is still popular, the low birth rate in the western world continues, socialization via computer booms (Facebook was dominant then maybe less so now) and pets (mostly dogs) are p ...more
Kylo
The Good: Penn has been culling poll data for 30 years and has some acute observations to make. Although he misses the mark often, he also teases out some fascinating material. And, it's dead easy to skim so just troll for what grabs you.

The Bad: Penn seems to think he's a sociologist or social theorist which is laughable. He takes some pot shots at Bowling Alone, which is sad because it's such a superior book and Penn stands on the latter's shoulders.

The Ugly: The writing style is atrocious: br
...more
Chinook
Notes for a review never written:

"The perverse and unorthodox thesis of this little book is that the voters are not fools." V.O. Key, Jr.

Korea has 1,200 plastic surgeons, the highest per capital in the world.

In so many areas now, women are the majority, but men and the system are slow to recognize it. Women are the majority of students in college and in law school. Women are the majority of voters. Joining that list, while no one seems to be recognizing it, is also that women are the majority of
...more
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