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.
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
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.