Review of Future Shock

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Future Shock book summary


9 Overall

8 Applicability

10 Innovation

8 Style


The late Alvin Toffler (1928-2016) was the best-selling, ground-breaking author of The Third Wave, Powershift and The Adaptive Corporation. A social thinker, visiting professor at Cornell University and futurist, Toffler burst into the world’s consciousness in 1970 with this predictive tome. Toffler’s ability to take current trends, mix them with science, season them with research, and then produce social, financial and medical prognostication brought him fame, fortune and an audience in 50 nations. His writing is simple and easy to read, but it hits like a hammer. His convincing arguments changed how people thought about the future and elevated the level of discussion of trends and their impacts. Toffler introduced the idea that the average reader could easily comprehend upcoming megatrends that would shape the world. He showed audiences how large – and largely ignored – forces combine to make the future. He also introduced a new level of paranoia about people being unable to control the shape of the coming world.

About the Author

Alvin Toffler also wrote Powershift, The Third Wave, Previews and Premises, and The Adaptive Corporation. In all his books, works and speeches, he collaborated closely with his wife and colleague Heidi Toffler.


Too Much Too Soon

“Future Shock” is Toffler’s name for the trauma resulting from having too much change of too great a scope thrust upon you in too short a time frame. Toffler explores how you might adapt most sanely to a coming world. As you read, bear in mind that Future Shock first appeared in 1970, when most people didn’t know that many familiar forms of commerce, discourse and technology would soon vanish.

Toffler establishes a new aspirational social norm: Preparing for and embracing change. He couches his most accurate and startling predictions (like the advent of the World Wide Web) in terms that, at the time of publication, society couldn’t yet embrace. Yet his abstract examples turn out to be quite accurate descriptions of some of the cataclysmic changes the Internet made possible.

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