itpdx's Reviews > Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes

Microtrends by Mark J. Penn
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Feb 13, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Recommended for: marketing, political junkies
Read in February, 2008

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-handedness is increasing (see Southpaws Unbound) but he doesn't define left-handedness. Being a southpaw myself I have done some reading on the subject. One author attended a left-handed golf tournament in Japan. All the golfers played left handed but to a person when they sat down to dinner they picked up their chop sticks with their right hand. The author of that book found that studies were often muddied by a lack of definition. Is a left handed person one who writes or eats or swings a golf club or "mouses" left-handed? what about toothbrushing?

The other poll that stuck out for me was Impressionable Elites where Penn came to the conclusion that the American elite, the wealthiest and best educated, are more interested in candidates' personalities than their stand on issues because, in a poll, they indicated that they consider a candidate's character as more important than their stand on issues. Attention Penn: Webster's definition of character includes things like "moral constitution...moral strength; self-discipline; fortitude" and not so much about whether someone would be fun to go out for a beer with. Who knew in the 2000 election that issues of terrorism, war, torture would become so important? I would rather have an elected representative that has the moral strength to stand on the floor of Congress and say that invading Iraq is not the solution than have someone who bows to whatever way the wind happens to be blowing.
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