cover image Next Now: Trends for the Future

Next Now: Trends for the Future

Marian Salzman, Ira Matathia, . . Palgrave, $26.95 (307pp) ISBN 978-1-4039-7564-5

Few books, other than almanacs, have the breadth of coverage of this attempt at trend forecasting by ad exec Salzman and marketing consultant Matathia (coauthors of Next ). Here's what they have to say about homosexuality and religion: "Religious communities are being torn apart by the battle over gay rights and civil unions. A number of the world's 37 Anglican primates are refusing to take communion with the American primate Frank Griswold because he ordained a gay bishop." That's it for homosexuality; the next factoid is that the religion sector was worth $6.8 billion in 2003. Three pages later, religion is over and the topic is politics. Despite the subtitle, the book focuses on the recent past rather than the future. Most citations are from popular news sources, lobbying groups or market research surveys up to three years old. The authors also draw on movies, Web sites, television shows and commercials for examples of trends in such areas as the workplace, business and sex. Fortunately, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Out of a collection of random, dated accounts of questionable reliability, the book manages to convey the mood swings of popular culture, though it doesn't muster the depth or rigor to tell you where things are going. (Jan.)