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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

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,877 Ratings  ·  237 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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This is an engaging book, although it seems to be overloaded with too many statistics, without a corresponding set of insights. Lots of interesting trends. This book is exactly the opposite of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. This book by Mark Penn explores what happens to trends before they reach the tipping point.

There are some very interesting microtrends that I would never have expected. For example, the trend for married couples to live apar
Oct 28, 2007 Jenne rated it did not like it
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
Feb 15, 2008 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
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
Paige Reinhard
Nov 19, 2015 Paige Reinhard rated it liked it
Borat, BlackBerries and MySpace. This is the single most 2007 book I have ever read.
Jun 29, 2009 Audrey rated it it was ok
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
Nov 09, 2007 Karen rated it liked it
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
Oct 12, 2015 Van rated it liked it
Tác giả Mark J. Penn đã kể cho chúng ta nghe câu chuyện đầy màu sắc về xã hội Mỹ đang quay cuồng trong một mớ rối tinh rối mù của những lựa chọn - những xu hướng cực nhỏ nhưng tiềm ẩn sức mạnh to lớn. Lớn đến mức, nó "có khả năng thay đổi tính chất một loại hình kinh doanh, làm thất bại một cuộc bầu cử, hay phát động cả một cuộc nổi dậy". Nhưng câu chuyện này không phải thể loại giả tưởng, mà nó được dựng lên dựa trên những số liệu thống kê chính xác và nghiêm túc, mở ra cho ta cái nhìn đầy hiện ...more
Jul 29, 2009 E rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 05, 2011 Rodrigo rated it liked it
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
Sep 26, 2009 Dan rated it it was ok
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
Jun 25, 2009 Alex rated it did not like it
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
Apr 28, 2014 dejah_thoris rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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
Some mildly interesting data about overlooked segments of society, but distorted with bizarre personal remarks and hamfisted explanations. Best skimmed.
Kartik Kukreja
Mar 10, 2016 Kartik Kukreja rated it liked it
This book has a lot of statistics but far fewer insights than could have been expected to be derived from them. The key trend is the rise of women everywhere, to form a majority of the workforce, college students, home and car buyers. There was an interesting debate on this topic "Men are finished":

One trend that particularly struck me was the rise of interracial couples, majority of which are white men-Asian women and black men-white women, with poor mar
Amy Sherman
Oct 07, 2015 Amy Sherman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book discusses 75 different "microtrends" in the contemporary world. The majority of them are pertinent to the US, but he also touches on international trends while comparing them to both their own cultural history and US society. It is a discussion on what I would call "special groups" of people who are not as small a segment of the population as many people think. The author's background is as a pollster, but he also provides discussion and supporting details about the trends he points ou ...more
Kevin Browne
Apr 24, 2015 Kevin Browne added it
Shelves: sociology
What social forces will have major impact in the next ten years? More than likely, whatever they are, there are already signs that they are at work changing our world. Since they are now small movements it is difficult to tell what effects they may have. More so since there are other small movements currently active which will come to naught. How can we distinguish the microtrends which will impact us from the ones that won't?

One option is to study previous microtrends that, in fact, have led t
Simone Collins
Sep 19, 2009 Simone Collins rated it really liked it
Shelves: coolhunting
“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
Jonathan Barry
Jul 27, 2012 Jonathan Barry rated it it was ok
Shelves: poli-sci

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

Mar 08, 2013 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 11, 2009 Aunt rated it liked it
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
Jun 27, 2008 Roger rated it liked it
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
Sridhar Reddy
Aug 06, 2009 Sridhar Reddy rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
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
May 27, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it
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
Jan 07, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
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
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
Mike Love
Nov 24, 2012 Mike Love rated it liked it
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
Feb 13, 2008 itpdx rated it really liked it
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
Apr 27, 2008 Tommy rated it it was ok
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
Jan 27, 2012 John rated it liked it
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
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