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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

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  2,311 ratings  ·  262 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 October 3rd 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
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
The author of this book in the conclusion speaks of looking at trends but advises against merely spouting conventional wisdom which is ironic. The author is a Clinton pollster and corporate trendspotter is a product of corporate-friendly centrist Democrats of the 1990s. Everything to the authors is about lifestyle choices and swing voters. He totally missed the story of inequality and polarization. He is a product of focus groups politics and that frivolous consumer driven ethic is no longer val ...more
Oct 28, 2007 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
Jun 29, 2009 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
Feb 15, 2008 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 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Borat, BlackBerries and MySpace. This is the single most 2007 book I have ever read.
Sep 09, 2009 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
I occasionally chose to read a book that purports to tell the future, or gather together trends that will be continuing or growing. And sometimes, I read one of these books with some age on it. As I read this, “Microtrends” is over a decade old. In this book, the author recognizes and documents a few dozen trends, and on review, he has a pretty good track record. Many, if not most of the trends discussed include one small but noticeable microtrend, but also its polar opposite. Sort of like if yo ...more
Oct 25, 2007 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
Alejandro Rentería
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author introduces a very extraordinary idea, of how the power that underlies in 1% of a population is significant enough to create new trends in our day to day lives. Such concept reshapes our current understanding of trends and economics, but it really puts into perspective, how the current disruptions that we are now living with have happened. These micro trends are illustrated under several examples that Mark has identified through his career in politics. Such examples, that were exposed ...more
May 17, 2009 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
Aug 06, 2011 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
Dec 16, 2011 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
Jul 29, 2009 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
Oct 04, 2015 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
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Even though this book is now over 10 years old, it was still interesting to read. Almost all of the microtrends outlined in the book are well known today, and I am so interested to know how fringe (or not) they were when the book was written.
It is also interesting to see how many new trends emerge as almost an opposition to others. With the expansion of the internet, there are more people wanting dedicated time away from it. With the decline in people having children, there is an explosion of p
Lee Adams
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I figured as much reading a book from 2007 about trends that come and go in the blink of an eye, that this book would be outdated. I wanted to read Microtrends 2.0 which came out this spring and wanted to have the background first. Kind of interesting listening to these trends surrounding My Space, SIMS, and the TV show House which all seem like so long ago but are written like they're the greatest rage that's here to stay. Also, great to hear the fascinating piece on left-handedness and all the ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading this almost a decade after publication, I found the book both fascinating and a bit prophetic. By the end of the book I was losing a bit of steam and skimmed through the subjects, which were in line with personal and academic observations from my MBA marketing and corporate governance courses. Good read for those wanting to understand the power of minority or small groups. Highly recommended for business and/or marketing students and pros.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating 👌🏼

In this book Pollster Mark Pen claims that the future is not shaped by society’s broad forces but by the quiet changes within narrow slices of the population. This book was so much fun to read for the geek inside me & for anyone interested in opinion polls. I am fascinated by the analysis of these counterintuitive poll opinions & their impact on economy and sociology.
Taylor Sumners
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Found this refreshing and helpful in looking at ways to see how behavioral patterns shift markets and the ways we access them. I have the 2007 version, reading it now 12 years later, some of the assumptions are spot on. Great read!
Sherreka Burton
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some of the trends were interesting, and I see how powerful they really are now. (This book was released in 2007.) Others were odd, but overall, I get what the author’s message is: don’t count the outliers out, as they can seriously change the trajectory of things.
Jessica Weleski
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Reading this well after the publication date was extremely interesting because we could see the trends in hindsight. Penn was accurate in so many of his predictions. My husband and I spent hours upon hours in conversation sparked by this book.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
No longer relevant as it is out of date.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great explanation of the impact of the little ripples that become something huge.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little dated, but interesting hypotheses.
Ted Sweeney
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
Way too many statistics.
Bún Ốc
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Đọc và thấy VN giờ như Mỹ 10 năm trước, với những microtrend tiêu biểu như: giới trẻ ngại kết hôn, ngại sinh con, thú cưng trở thành con cái được chăm chút, xã hội cởi mở hơn với giới tính thứ ba...
Vinayak Malik
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Guess I read it 10 years to late. Then again a classic example of how some tends don't stick
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stats-packed book on sociology. I liked it but prepare to be bombarded with lots of data. Had a heap of takeaways after reading this one
I was hoping for a Blink or Freakonomics-esque study on the "small forces behind tomorrow's changes". I found a list of tiny niches of society, with a page or so of commentary. If there was any kind of narrative, it would probably have been very interesting. As it was, I gave up very quickly. ...more
Melissa Cavanaugh
rated it it was ok
Jul 30, 2007
marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2007
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Aug 28, 2007
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Sep 06, 2007
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Sep 07, 2007
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Sep 10, 2007
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Sep 11, 2007
Kathy Pham
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Sep 12, 2007
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is the perfect book if you don't have time to read a lot in one sitting and like numbers, marketing or sociology. He presents the results from mostly national, but some international, polls and discusses how these "microtrends" play a big role socially, politically, economically and culturally. Some of the microtrends have obvious implications (the rise in terrorist groups, the rise in extreme religions), and some are more whimsical (the increased number of Italian boys who live with their ...more
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Sep 16, 2007
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Sep 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Fascinating study of 70-odd trends that could make or break a marketplace or change the face of certain segments of society. It was written by the Clinton campaign guy who figured out the importance of "Soccer Moms" to that election. These small segments can have huge reach... Soccer Moms being one case in point. Al-Qaeda, sadly, another.
Esther Clark
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Sep 18, 2007
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Jen Chau
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Sep 19, 2007
Elizabeth Pabunag
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Sonya Noble
Sep 23, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NOBODY
I was very disappointed in this book. I had hoped this book would be similar to books like; The Tipping Point, Freakonomics or Myths, Lies and Legends, but this was nothing like the aforementioned. This read more like a narrative of the census report rather than an analytical perspective of modern day issues. There were a couple of interesting observations, but not enough to warrant the hefty $25 price that I paid.
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Sep 24, 2007
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