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Monday, February 13, 2012

A book review on the "Microtrends" the small forces behind tomorrow's big changes- by William Penn


I choose to review the book Microtrends by William Penn. It is being said in his book that micro trends are “the small forces behind tomorrow's big changes”. To give an overview on what he is discussing, the author of this book attempts to identify smaller more subtle changes that are extremely important but may skip the naked eye as they are barely visible.

Penn gave 75 microtends that he saw in US and he grouped it again in terms of relationships, work life, religion, health, family life, politics, teens, food, lifestyle, money, fashion, technology, entertainment, education and international. 

Let us first discussed about Part one, Love, sex and relationships. He give five trends here, sex-ratio singles, cougars, office romancers, commuter couples and internet married. As we can see, this micro trends that the author is the emerging trends in US society. In sex-ratio singles, he argues that woman of today’s society, outright the number of men. Tendency is that, these women will become single or will just adopt a child. There is also an instance in which old women, prefer to date younger men but don’t plan to have a long term commitment. Increase in relationship within the office is another one. Penn argues that it is because of the policy being implemented in the office. Lastly, the very common yet looks normal to all of us, be friends with strangers and later married with them because of the used of computer.

Part two of the book talks about work life and under this are working retired, extreme commuters, stay-at-home workers, wordy women, and ardent amazons. In the US, more population of retired people still was working at their age. Implications of this are the increase in life span of American people. But then, as Penn writes in his book, the bigger trend in Senior citizen is the fact that Americans love work—and now that we’re living longer, we want to work longer. Next are the extreme workers which he discussed as the capacity of American to drive to their work with a minimum of 2 hours but a maximum of 4 just to work in the cities. While these workers spend almost all of their time in driving to work, there is also an emerging trend wherein, someone with works actually does not have to drive and spend time in the office if they can do their work at home. As Penn found out, women of today’s American society are engage more on a wordy jobs, this kind of job needs the power of the voice of the woman. This job includes teacher, lawyer and alike. But again, while e\this women are working without the need of the physical aspect, there is also works that available to woman but needs their strength, those women are considering being amazons.

On the part three of the book, the author talks about the religious trends in the U.S. in his trends, he first discussed about the increasing number of woman who becomes clergy or those who go to the divinity schools but he then emphasize that when a woman became the leader, the organization falls. Next trend is about Semites people. Penn argues that nowadays, more and more Jewish people become more accepted in U.S community that ever before. Americans look for them to be their companions, friends and even lovers. Trends like multiracial in the families are being discussed. These multiracial families actually pertains to those Mexicans who are Catholic and later became Protestant as well. It became important to American society because of their force especially in voting season. Lastly, about Muslim race wherein Penn set out that those Muslim are considered practicing peaceful life than any other existing religion in the U.S. he also point out that Muslim became terrorist in the eye of the Americans when bombing of World trade center happens but now, Muslim peaceful image are going back little by little.

By part four of Penn’s micro trends is about health and wellness of Americans. First on his list is about Americans who hate to expose themselves with sun. This is because of their fear in getting sun burn. This fear brought to American parents of proposing to schools of their children to require them to wear clothes that can protect them from sun rays. He tackle also the problem of American people of their sleep especially those who have work. It is said in the book that an average hours of sleep of Americans is no longer 8 hours like the regular time. So these workers come up to the idea of getting a nap on the mid hour of their work. Another thing that Penn discussed is unusual about Americans who are left handed. Before, left handed people are discouraged and even forced to right using their right hand. But now as Penn discussed the trends, these people are encouraged now to work on whatever hand they are compatible with. This makes them to go to school more freely than ever before. Second to the last is about the so called “DIY doctors” wherein American people are already the one to diagnose them on whatever disease they have. Then, they will also be the one to look for their medicines to cure their illness using only the internet. Lastly, there is an alarming statistics about the hard to hear among Americans. This is shown in the statistics that 1 among 10 Americans are deaf.

Part five of the book talks about micro trend in the family life. First to discuss amongst it is the growing number of daddies in America whose age are in their late forties. This is actually starts with celebrity like Mick Jagger and now, it still increasing. Then, trends also like household pets are in. in Penn’s study, more and more house in America nowadays have pet to take care with especially by parents as substitute for their children. In connection with this, American parents based on Penn study are become stricter to their child in disciplining them. Next is another unusual topic is about gays. As what we have see on our today’s society, more and more gays are coming out on their closet, Penn is focus more on their needs to be addressed. Last micro trend about the family life is about the increasing number of male care giver in America. As what Penn found out, this starts in Asian people. He argues that more and more male caregivers are taking care of old people in America.

On Penn book he argues that there is also a growing and increasing trend in teenage life. One example of this is the increasing number of Americans teen who are facing disabilities. This is not self-inflicted so parents think that it can overcome. In American society, more and more black youth are become successful in their chosen fields as well as black Americans became achievers. Even they are in school, American teens are successful in their business outside the schools. And lastly, in America, sniping becomes a business trends.

Part eight of the book talks about four growing trends in food, drinks and diet where American are engaged to. First is the increasing number child who is vegetarian. Penn discussed that this is because of the influence of their parents who is also a vegetarian. Another factor is that many alternatives in the markets offer meatless. We all know that Americans are known for the so called “American size” in everything they have. Penn discussed that obesity in Americans as compared last two decades ago become doubled in size. Well, this is quite alarming for them especially with black American women. Penn called it “globesity”. In connection with food, more and more Americans cut their calories consumption near to starvation. This is in connection with the growing number of obesity cases in the country. And last is about the increase consumption of Americans of drinking bottled water and in the same time, caffeine related consumption also increase.

In connection to the global crisis experience by the majority of the countries, part ten of the book discussed about money and classes. First in the line is about the second home buyer which pertains to Americans who buy houses that are second hand. Another trend is about increasing number of nannies who are college graduate. Assumingly, this will become the basis for this work, to be in college graduate. Penn set out that more and more billionaires American are those who are quite and loves to help unfortunate people, do the charity works and extend their help with poor in their community.

Part eleven of the book talks about the look and fashion that are trending in America. First to discuss among the fashion is the increasing number of Americans who find tattooing a status quo. Based on Penn’s study, even those people belongs to the high class have tattoo in their body. Another trend is about Americans who love mess where neatness in the community they belong to is important. Another trend is negative and it concerns for those teen Americans. Penn argues that many teens prefer to have surgery to look good. They do it to have a self confidence they don’t have before the surgery.

Part twelve of the books talk about technology in American society. First in the line are those “geek” who are before considered as study addicts. But now, based on Penn study, this “geek” turned to be “social geek” meaning, they are the most sociable person in America today. These social geeks use sites such as facebook, mySpace and so forth in socializing with people. Next trend is about the Luddites who are actually hates using the technologies because they think that instead of making their works easier, it made them busier and more stressed. In the contrary to what the previous trend being discussed, in American society they have this woman fatales which pertains to women who loves using technology. And based on Penn’s study they are one of the most sociable people in America. Last on this trend is the increasing number of soccer moms who are actually the prominent buyers of car in America. Penn have been predicted that later on, single woman will do the same.

Part fourteen of the book talks about the growing trends in education in America. The most important trend is about the increasing number of children/adult who is using home schooling. These become possible with the help of the internet. Another concern of the author is about the increasing and growing numbers of student’s drop-out, leaving and dismissed in the school. The only possible way that Penn’s see as the solution for this problem is the home schooling using the World Wide Web.

For my insight, some trends in America that are being discussed by the author are actually evident in our own society. Most of the emerging trends being discussed mostly are about women and it only means that women in our society now become powerful. And although we are now living in the computer age, the author of the books keep on discovering new trends that still exist in our society. Reading this book is funny, but most of all are enlightening in a sense that readers could also make their own conclusion in every situation presented here. Most of the micro trends here, if you are the reader and you don’t know what it is, you will feel lose.

When authors said that these trends are the forces behinds tomorrow’s big change, I didn’t argue anymore. As we come to look at those “micro trends”, we are able to see our past, our present and out future society.


By Adeluisa Montemayor

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