A business book aimed at readers who want to predict the next big thing.
Bhargava (Likeonomics, 2012, etc.) got his start as a brand and marketing strategist by identifying the ways that society is changing and flowing, including how social media affects one’s identity and how companies work to deepen their social responsibility. He’s the creator of the Non-Obvious Trend Report, “one of the most widely read collections of future insights in the world,” which he’s put out annually for the last decade. This book’s first part focuses on “non-obvious thinking,” or noticing patterns where others see only random occurrences. He goes through his own noticing process and how he winnows down many different ideas, seeks validating research, and chooses the best possible trends for a given year. In the book’s second section, his focus shifts to 10 overarching trends, called “megatrends.” Each gets its own chapter, with subsections that clearly explain what the megatrend is, how it connects to research or societal examples, and ways to leverage this trend in one’s own life; he also provides a flowchart that depicts how elements of other trends, from past years, contributed to it. For instance, the megatrend “Amplified Identity” is summed up as follows: “As individualism rises globally, people are carefully cultivating how they are perceived both online and offline, chasing stardom, and making themselves vulnerable to criticism in the process”; it’s connected to the trends “Everyday Stardom” and “Selfie Confidence” from 2015. Finally, the third part offers quick evaluations of the accuracy and longevity of past years’ trend reports, offering a refreshingly candid look at how predictions can be inaccurate. The conclusion is a short, irreverent reminder that no single trend persists forever and that outlandish ones often die out quickly. A recommended reading section offers intriguing books on each of the megatrend topics. Throughout, Bhargava offers clear and straightforward prose, and his engaging, well-spaced graphic elements make the text more interactive.
A consistently engrossing guide to trend forecasting.