Summary of Microtrends

The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes

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Microtrends book summary
Society is shaped not by a single large trend, but by many “microtrends.” To be ready for change, watch out for them.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


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 more niche groups. The book provides just a few pages on each one. If you’re familiar with a trend or, conversely, find it too quirky (“Young Knitters”), these few pages may seem long. If you haven’t encountered some of these trends, the entries will seem tantalizingly short. No matter what your niche, Penn and Zalesne will surprise you at some point, and their explanations of the forces shaping society are detailed and often quite original. As a result, getAbstract recommends their book to all marketers, especially those seeking niche audiences, and to everyone whose business requires planning for social change.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What niche “microtrends” are reshaping society
  • What influence these trends have, especially on marketing
  • How trends generate other trends


An Explosion of Choices – and Microtrends
The combination of freedom, material comfort, and access to technology and information gives people a broad range of choices, allowing them to govern their lives and lifestyles to an unprecedented degree. As a result, identifying a few sweeping...
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About the Authors

Mark J. Penn, CEO of Burson-Marsteller, was the primary adviser on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. E. Kinney Zalesne was a White House Fellow and counsel to Janet Reno, the U.S. attorney general in the Clinton administration.

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