PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 February, 2009, 12:00am


by Mark J. Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne

Penguin, HK$102

Forget mega-trends. For a better idea of how society is changing one should keep abreast of microtrends. That is the contention of Mark Penn, whose 'surprising tales of the way we live today' show a world reacting to greater choices by fragmenting into smaller niches. Written with Kinney Zalesne, Microtrends is an entertaining dissection of mainly the US, home to an increasing number of cougars (women who date younger men), extreme commuters (who travel more than 90 minutes each way to work) and 30-winkers (the sleep-deprived). Readers will find some trends surprising, for example, more women than men buy cars and, in Italy, 82 per cent of 18- to 30-year-old men live with their parents. Also eye-opening is the pair's recognition of 'pro-Semites', who are attracted to Jews, they say, because of their perceived family values. Entrepreneurial types may be jolted into action by the book. But readers should remain sceptical about some statistics. Penn identified 'hockey mums' as an important electoral demographic for Bill Clinton, but as Hillary Clinton's chief pollster in her presidential bid, he may have been misled by the very numbers he cites in the book.




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