Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes

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“The ideas in his book will help you see the world in a new way.” -Bill Clinton
“Mark Penn has a keen mind and a fascinating sense of what makes America tick, and you see it on every page of Microtrends.” -Bill Gates

In 1982, readers discovered Megatrends.
In 2000, The Tipping Point entered the lexicon.
Now, in Microtrends, one of the most respected and sought-after analysts in the world articulates a new way of understanding how we live.
Mark Penn, the man who identified “Soccer Moms” as a crucial constituency in President Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign, is known for his ability to detect relatively small patterns of behavior in our culture-microtrends that are wielding great influence on business, politics, and our personal lives. Only one percent of the public, or three million people, is enough to launch a business or social movement.

Relying on some of the best data available, Penn identifies more than 70 microtrends in religion, leisure, politics, and family life that are changing the way we live. Among them:

People are retiring but continuing to work. Teens are turning to knitting. Geeks are becoming the most sociable people around. Women are driving technology. Dads are older than ever and spending more time with their kids than in the past. You have to look at and interpret data to know what’s going on, and that conventional wisdom is almost always wrong and outdated. The nation is no longer a melting pot. We are a collection of communities with many individual tastes and lifestyles. Those who recognize these emerging groups will prosper.

Penn shows readers how to identify the microtrends that can transform a business enterprise, tip an election, spark a movement, or change your life. In today’s world, small groups can have the biggest impact.

A Gamut of Leaders

Click here to download and read A Gamut of Leaders.

The Narrows – Donald A. Furtado

Mac Cochran is pursuing his goal of becoming a veterinarian at a university in the small Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, an unusual change of career for a highly-decorated Navy SEAL. When historian Alexa Thorson visits the islands to continue her doctoral research on the uncertain identity of the father of Nevis-born Alexander Hamilton, one of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States of America, Mac and Alexa discover that their pasts have left them with personal scars and grave concerns about the production and sale of deadly illegal opioids. Their pleasant encounter on a beautiful beach overlooking “The Narrows”, the two-mile wide ocean channel separating St. Kitts and Nevis, becomes more complex and dangerous when the brother and family of Mac’s island friend and diving companion are threatened by an island-based opioid ring. Their efforts to identify and bring to justice the people behind the drug ring become entwined with the personal mission of a Kittian police sergeant whose only daughter recently died from an illegal opioid overdose. Exposing the opioid ring requires Alexa and Mac’s attractive fellow American veterinary student to become bait for two Russians who have become wealthy island citizens, but whose shady backgrounds have not been publicly disclosed. The search for justice also forces Mac to covertly use risky SEAL skills that he thought had been set aside when he chose to pursue his new medical career. This tale also raises issues faced by Caribbean democracies such as St. Kitts and Nevis, small islands with a bloody 400 year history as a slave-trading and rum-producing center, as they struggle to create a better life for their citizens while dealing with the pressures that limited natural resources and tourism, the primary source of income, bring to bear on the natural beauty of the islands.

Purchase The Narrows by clicking here (Amazon.com)

Bridges to Baghdad – USN (Ret.) RADM Charles R. Kubic CEC

Bridges to Baghdad tells the story of the “fighting Seabees” and their role in the Iraq War, and how they raised the bar of the legendary “Can Do!” tradition set by their World War II forefathers. The U.S. Navy Seabees are America’s premier expeditionary construction force. During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, they stormed into Iraq along side the First Marine Expeditionary Force (1 MEF). Task organized into three regimental-sized formations under division-level command of Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, the Seabees maneuvered, built, and fought their way to Baghdad. They advanced through one of the world’s harshest environments and against some of the fiercest adversaries they had encountered since Vietnam. During this intense campaign, Seabees carried out their primary missions of building bridges and roads along the attack route, and conducting Civil Military Operations in the face of a cunning, often hidden enemy. They not only built military bridges during the historic march to Baghdad but also cultural bridges during the subsequent reconstruction of a liberated Iraq.

Purchase Bridges to Baghdad by clicking here (Amazon.com)

Not From Here, Not From There – Nelson A. Diaz

Not From Here, Not From There
by Nelson A. Diaz

Raised in the squalor of a New York tenement until he was 10 years old, Nelson Díaz saw his life change when his family moved to a brand new West Harlem high-rise project in the 1950s. Throughout his life, that experience, coupled with lessons learned as the only Latino student in his class at Temple University Law School, would drive him as a lawyer and an activist in his fight for the expansion of rights for all Americans. No soy de aquí ni de allá is a mantra for Puerto Ricans, who feel accepted neither here nor there and seek a place in society. In his inspiring autobiography,

Not from Here, Not from There, Díaz tells the story of his struggles and triumphs as his perspective widened from the New York streets to law school classrooms and the halls of power in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Whether as a leader in economic development, a pioneer in court reform, or a champion of fair housing, Díaz never stopped advocating for others. He was happy to become the first Latino to “do something,” but he never wanted to be the last. This story of an outsider who worked his way to the inside offers powerful lessons on finding a place in the world by creating spaces where everyone is welcome.

About the author

After graduating from St. John’s University in 1969 and from Temple University Law School in 1972, Nelson A. Díaz became the first Puerto Rican lawyer to pass the Pennsylvania bar examination and the first Latino judge, administrative judge, and partner in a top-100 law firm in the state. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter to a White House Fellowship and by President Bill Clinton as general counsel to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, he has served as a public defender, as Philadelphia city solicitor, and as a member of several corporate boards—including Exelon Corporation, a Fortune 100 company—during his legendary career. His fight for civil and human rights and his promotion of neighborhood economic development and judicial and housing reform have paved the way for others. Díaz lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sara Manzano-Díaz.

Buy Not From Here, Not From There on Amazon.

Marguerite Rose Jimenez – The Revolution Under Raul Castro

Contemporary Cuba Reader: The Revolution Under Raul Castro (2014)
​Cuba has undergone dramatic changes since the collapse of European communism. The loss of economic aid and preferential trade with the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries forced the Cuban government to search out new ways of organizing the domestic economy and new commercial relations in an international system dominated by market economies. The resulting economic reforms have reverberated through Cuban society and politics, recreating social inequalities unknown since the 1950s and confronting the political system with unprecedented new challenges. The resulting ferment is increasingly evident in Cuban cultural expression, and the responses to adversity and scarcity have reshaped Cuban social relations.

This completely revised and updated edition focuses on Cuba since Raúl Castro took over the country’s leadership in 2006. A Contemporary Cuba Reader brings together the best recent scholarship and writing on Cuban politics, economics, foreign relations, society, and culture in present-day Cuba. Ideally suited for students and general readers seeking to understand this still-contentious and controversial island, the book includes a substantive introduction setting the historical context, as well as part introductions and a chronology.

Purchase The Revolution Under Raul Castro on Amazon.

Marguerite Rose Jimenez – Reinventing the Revolution

Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution (2007)
Cuba has undergone dramatic changes since the collapse of European communism. The loss of economic aid and preferential trade with the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries forced the Cuban government to search out new ways of organizing the domestic economy and new commercial relations in an international system dominated by market economies. The resulting economic reforms have reverberated through Cuban society and politics, recreating social inequalities unknown since the 1950s and confronting the political system with unprecedented new challenges. The resulting ferment is increasingly evident in Cuban cultural expression, and the responses to adversity and scarcity have reshaped Cuban social relations.

This anthology brings together the best recent scholarship and writing on Cuban politics, economics, foreign relations, society, and culture in the post-Soviet era, which Cubans call the “Special Period.” Ideally suited for students and general readers seeking to understand contemporary Cuba, the book includes a substantive introduction setting the historical context, as well as part introductions and a chronology.

Purchase Reinventing the Revolution on Amazon.

Elliott Ackerman – Dark at the Crossing

From the author of the acclaimed Green on Blue, a timely new novel of stunning humanity and tension: a contemporary love story set on the Turkish border with Syria.

Haris Abadi is a man in search of a cause. An Arab American with a conflicted past, he is now in Turkey, attempting to cross into Syria and join the fight against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But he is robbed before he can make it, and is taken in by Amir, a charismatic Syrian refugee and former revolutionary, and Amir’s wife, Daphne, a sophisticated beauty haunted by grief. As it becomes clear that Daphne is also desperate to return to Syria, Haris’s choices become ever more wrenching: Whose side is he really on? Is he a true radical or simply an idealist? And will he be able to bring meaning to a life of increasing frustration and helplessness? Told with compassion and a deft hand, Dark at the Crossing is an exploration of loss, of second chances, and of why we choose to believe–a trenchantly observed novel of raw urgency and power.

Purchase Dark at the Crossing on Amazon.

Life on the Other Side of You – Barrye Price

Synopsis

Life on the Other Side by Barrye Price is excellent on many different levels. It tells a great love story (really two great love stories). It tells of the tragedy, victory, relapse, small triumphs, and finally final heartbreak of cancer. It tells of the inner circle around one who suffers; the close circle of close friends, colleagues, and church leaders; and the outer circle of supportive but confused friends, troops, and church congregants. It is an importantly simple spiritual story of how, although tragic circumstances teach us about faith, all of us have so much more to learn. It is written extremely well in an engaging, sometimes appropriately humorous style, and then later a gripping style (that even makes an old Army guy tear up!). Finally, the lessons at the end are great. They are derived from the story, but would have been distracting if they were included in the text. When I finished the book, I was ready to get the lessons at the end. I am sure that there will be some people, especially those who have lost a spouse or are helping those who lost a spouse, who will turn first to the lessons. That is okay, too, because those readers can later read the story that the lessons are based upon.

Life on the Other Side is a great read for everyone and a must read for those who are helping those suffering from the tragedy of cancer.

Michael J. Meese, PhD (BG, U.S. Army, Retired)
Chief Operating Officer, American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA)

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Against All Enemies Foreign and Domestic – Barrye L. Price

Synopsis

All who enter the rolls of military service of the United States swear to an oath to support and defend the nation. Although much has been written about the encounters between the US armed forces and foreign adversaries (both within the borders of the United States and abroad), historical scholarship is not as extensive with respect to the Army’s role against a domestic foe—with the exception of the Indian Wars and the American Civil War. This study examines the use of federal troops (active duty unites and Federalized National Guardsmen) in quelling racial violence throughout US history—with the lion’s share of its focus on race riots during the twentieth century.  Special attention has been directed towards two symbolic events which illustrates the continued importance of the military’s role in internal security:” events in Washington, DC after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968; and the ensuing riot in Los Angeles, California after the Rodney King beating trial verdict on April 29, 1992.  Although attention is given to the military’s involvement in quelling civil disturbances throughout America’s history, the primary focus of this study is the use of federal troops in Washington and Los Angeles.

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