Book Review - 2011: Trendspotting for the Next Decade by Richard Laermer
If you've read any of Richard Laermer's stuff before, you know you're in for a highly irreverent look at whatever the subject at hand happens to be. In 2011: Trendspotting for the Next Decade, he takes a shot at identifying the important trends coming down the road, and more important, how to figure them out for yourself.
Part 1 - Trendspotting for the Novice: The Next Few Years are All Wondrous; Mediocrity; Gumby - The Mascot of 2011; The New Way to Say Shove It!
Part 2 - The Caboodle - Advanced Trendspotting: Dive into Trends... And Believe In Them; Fad, Faddy, and Fattening Trends; The Bolts from Blue; The Decade Is Starting Anew (and Maybe The World Is Too!); Stay Informed by Depersonalizing
Part 3 - Business Of Selling, As Opposed to Shilling: Treat Me Right, or You Won't Get My Money; The Biggest Picture - Customer Is a Hyper-Aware King; Can An Athlete Really Be Trusted To Make Money For Us?; Lying - That Your Final Answer?; We Fib; Why Smart Sellers Can Spell Fnord And Why It Really Matters; Yes - Sadly - Sprint Was Correct; Frito-Lay's Cholesterol Story; How To Major In Napping; Welcome to BAS - I'm Talking To You; Greet This - How A City Civility Campaign Ruined Friendliness; "46" - The Middle Ages; The New Low In Business Etiquette - Stealing Without Aplomb; Victoria's Secret's Mentality - How Cities Got Overtaken By Lingerie; Fred Trump & That Other Guy; Machiavellian Skin; The 1-Word Chapter - What's The Mission Of Every Company?; Sex, and Snakes & Couch Jumping - How To Be Sure You're Not Selling To People Who Don't Buy During This Era of Attention-To-Noise Surplus Ratio, Otherwise Known As "What's This? A Laermer Blog Post?"; What Happens On TV (Stays On TV) - Building A Brand From Personal Experience
Part 4 - Techno Centric: What's DAT Exactly? Another Fabulous Analogy About Unnecessary Technology; Bacn & The Art of Communicating Later; Ah My Identity - Take It At Your Own Risk; Give Me Some Couch Love, Babe, Yeah, Give It To Me; Battery Management Corp - One Further Step In Our Quest For Power; Computer Is Gone - Is Life?; Heads In Air - The New toy Won't Replace Our First Love; And Finally, EID, Email Is Death (Long Live New Mass Communication); Sport Mail; Hi-Tech - The New New & Improved; Blog Anonymously & Lose Your Self - errr, Your Cell; The End Of The Beta - You Just Got To Stop This Affair
Part 5 - Entertain Your Diversions: Just Being Nominated Is Enough - Ah, Award Show Overload; The Game of Famous - A Case Study That Is Far From Hollywood; And They All Lived Hollywood Ever After; Serial Lifer; Jennifer Lopez's Antics - The J Down Lo
Part 6 - Make Media Your Friend (Then Make Bank): Watch and Learn; The Black Eye of Memory - Media and Big Stories; The Media Next Decade
Part 7 - The Language of Life: One Potato, Two Potatoes Later; Where Are Phrases To Catch Us? Revival of "Fun Speak"; Taking Responsibility For Your Words Is Not Just Good Psychology; Living with Ed
Part 8 - Society with a Small s: New Rule - You're Not Freaking Cool Just Because You Say So; How To Keep Nascent Trends From Dying On The Vine; Say You're Gay and Induce A Yawn (or "Gay for Play" Has Its Day); Faith, Politics, and the Death of a President; 609.72 Minnesota Statues 2006 - The Oddest of Current Laws; Demeaning The Presidency Has Brought Us Down; Planned Layovers In America - An Article That Did Good; Savvy Muscular Old People; Teens Shall Remain Narcissistic (This Surprises You?); Generation Zero - NCD35 (Part One); Gap of Mentoring (Part Two, Generation Zero); Truth About "Kidlessness" and the Future of Pals With A Kid Between Them; Ah, To Be Nice, Perchance To Dream
Part 9 - Epilogue And Other Chapters I Couldn't Fit Anywhere Else So Stuck Them Here: Terms I Made Up + Newfangled Future Speak; Self Something Or Other; Good Morning, Today Is January 21, 2011; To p7 Mistakes Small Businesses Make - A Guide To Saying "WTF"; The Epilogue - Last Words, First Words, Wordiness...
As you might be able to tell, Laermer has his own style... :) Each of the chapters are only two to five pages long, and each starts out with a particular trend. For instance, the chapter The Media Next Decade has the trend of "The press will stop being meaningful because, well, we know more than they." When you look at the current wave of blogging, personal reporting, etc., you see that it's not far off where bloggers and journalists become in many cases one and the same (and some would rightfully argue that it's already here). Another "f'instance" is Serial Lifer, in which he sees even more serialization or "chapter-ization" of books, TV, and every other form of entertainment out there. We don't sit still long enough to take things in one sitting, so we're tending to move towards smaller bits of info fed to us over time.
Rather than give you an academic argument for what exactly will happen by what date, Laermer tends to go more towards feelings and observations, giving trends that he sees happening, while also giving you room to interpret his views with your own slant or spin. Even if you don't necessarily agree with his trend or observation, you will have to admit you had a good time reading about it. And you *will* be forced to think things through to their logical conclusion based on current events and prevalent trends. That's why I think this is different than most "futurist" books. He's got his own ideas as to where things will go, but he's also willing to listen to other views and ideas as to how things will play out.
It'll be fun to go back in 2011 and see exactly where things ended up at, and to see what transpired and what didn't...