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Author Country Language Genre(s) Publisher Publication date Media type
Alvin Toffler United States English Futurology Random House 1970 Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN 0-394-42586-3 (Original hardcover)
Future Shock is a book written by the sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. It grew out of an article "The Future as a Way of Life" in Horizon magazine, Summer 1965 issue. The book has sold over 6 million copies and has been widely translated. Future shock is also a term for a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies, introduced by Toffler in his book of the same name. Toffler's shortest definition of future shock is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time". A documentary film based on the book was released in 1972 with Orson Welles as on-screen narrator.
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1 Term 2 In popular culture 3 Reprints 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links
Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving them disconnected and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation" – future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems were symptoms of the future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he also coined the term information overload. His analysis of that phenomenon is continued in his later publications, especially The Third Wave and Powershift.
 In popular culture
This "In popular culture" section may contain too many minor or trivial references. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances, and remove trivia references. (December 2009) Curtis Mayfield's song "Future Shock" on the album "Back to the World" took its name from this book, and was in turn covered by Herbie Hancock as the title track for his 1983 recording Future
Shock. That album was considered groundbreaking for fusing jazz and funk with electronic music. Darren Hayes name checks the phrase many times in his song "Me Myself And I". At least two more releases have been named for the book, a 1981 album by Gillan and a 1988 single by Stratovarius. Other works taking their title from the book include: the Futurama episode "Future Stock"; a segment on the Daily Show starring Samantha Bee; Kevin Goldstein's recurring column on the Baseball Prospectus website; a Magic: The Gathering pre-constructed deck; and the National Wrestling Alliance's 1989 Starrcade event. UK Comic 2000 AD ran a series of short stories called Future Shocks based on this concept, some of which were written by Alan Moore. The abbreviated derogatory term Futzies was applied to citizens in 2000 AD stories (mainly in the Judge Dredd universe) who had been driven insane by Future Shock. Voiceworks #62 (Summer 2005), edited by Tom Doig, was themed Future Shock: 'The future is here. Are you ready for it? Increasing computing power and nanotechnology will usher in an era of artificial intelligence, electronic telepathy and virtual immortality within a matter of years...' Works deriving themes and elements from Future Shock include the science fiction novels The Forever War (1974) by Joe Haldeman, The Shockwave Rider (1975) by John Brunner, the RPG Transhuman Space (2002) by Steve Jackson Games, and the indie RPG Shock: Social Science Fiction (2006) by designer Joshua A.C. Newman.
The book has been reprinted several times. ISBNs include:
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ISBN 0-394-42586-3 (hardcover, Random House, 1970) ISBN 0-8488-0645-X (hardcover, Amereon Ltd, 1970) ISBN 0-553-20626-5 (mass market paperback, 1981) ISBN 0-553-27737-5 (mass market paperback, 1984) ISBN 0-553-24649-6 (paperback, 1984) ISBN 5-553-85765-1 (mass market paperback, 1991) ISBN 0-8085-0152-6 (mass market paperback in library binding, 1999) Adhocracy Culture shock Law of disruption Neo-luddism The Experience Economy
 See also
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The book written in 1970, gives startling insights into the working of organizations in the future (which is today). The book is widely regarded as a masterpiece on futurology. The author foresees that, the two strengths of an organization, permanence and hierarchy (which the author calls, bureaucracy) will be doomed and will be replaced by "Adhocracy". The author foresees the following scenarios in the future (i.e. 90's and the early 21st century): -
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There would be a fair amount of mergers and acquisitions taking place, which would continuously overhaul an organization, which the author terms as the "organizational upheaval". These phenomena would threaten its permanence. The work will mostly be done by project teams, which would be promptly discarded after the job is completed. This would make the organization highly unstable. With the exponential increase in production, the production time will be reduced; this would make the downtime very costly and will require faster flow of information for faster execution decisions. This would result in the bypassing of the hierarchy, the " hands" will take the decisions and not the managers.
The solutions to these problems, the author opines is, "Adhocracy". He says, like modularism in architecture, we have to strengthen the structure by using disposable components. We've to use highly adaptive work systems. The prediction made in the book has been more or less true and organizations that have survived have made certain changes, as foreseen by the book e.g., flat structures, faster information flows and development of task-team, etc. The important lessons about strategic management learnt from this book are that though the components of an organization may change frequently, the structure remains the same (or relatively so). This forms the basis of future decisions. The structure should be such that, the changes (which are inevitable) should affect the components and not the structure. This gives an organization a better chance to survive in an environment which changes continuously and where permanence is non-existent.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search "Toffler" redirects here. For the game show host, see Larry Toffler.
Alvin Toffler (2007) Born Residence Nationality October 3, 1928(1928-10-03) Los Angeles, California
Ethnicity Education Alma mater Occupation
Jewish Multiple honorary doctorates New York University Futurist, Journalist, Writer Future Shock, The Third Wave International Institute for Strategic Studies Heidi Toffler Tom Johnson McKinsey Foundation Book Award for
Board member of
Contributions to Management Literature, Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres Website http://www.alvintoffler.net
Alvin Toffler (born October 3, 1928) is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity. A former associate editor of Fortune magazine, his early work focused on technology and its impact (through effects like information overload). Then he moved to examining the reaction of and changes in society. His later focus has been on the increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and technology proliferation, and capitalism. He is married to Heidi Toffler, also a writer and futurist. They live in Los Angeles. They wrote the books credited to "Alvin Toffler" together.
Accenture, the management consultancy firm, has dubbed him the third most influential voice among business leaders, after Bill Gates and Peter Drucker. He has also been described in the Financial Times as the "world's most famous futurologist". People's Daily classes him among the 50 foreigners that shaped modern China.
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1 His ideas 2 Bibliography 3 See also 4 References 5 External links
 His ideas
Toffler explains, "Society needs people who take care of the elderly and who know how to be compassionate and honest. Society needs people who work in hospitals. Society needs all kinds of skills that are not just cognitive; they're emotional, they're affectional. You can't run the society on data and computers alone." Toffler also states, in Rethinking the Future, that "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." In his book The Third Wave Toffler describes three types of societies, based on the concept of 'waves' - each wave pushes the older societies and cultures aside.
First Wave is the society after agrarian revolution and replaced the first hunter-gatherer cultures. Second Wave is the society during the Industrial Revolution (ca. late 1600s through the mid-1900s). The main components of the Second Wave society are nuclear family, factory-type education system and the corporation. Toffler writes: "The Second Wave Society is industrial and based on mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, mass entertainment, and weapons of mass destruction. You combine those things with standardization, centralization, concentration, and synchronization, and you wind up with a style of organization we call bureaucracy." Third Wave is the post-industrial society. Toffler would also add that since late 1950s most countries are moving away from a Second Wave Society into what he would call a Third Wave Society. He coined lots of words to describe it and mentions names invented by him (super-industrial society) and other people (like the Information Age, Space Age, Electronic Era, Global Village, technetronic age, scientific-technological revolution), which to various degrees predicted demassification, diversity, knowledge-based production, and the acceleration of change (one of Toffler’s key maxims is "change is non-linear and can go backwards, forwards and sideways").
In this post-industrial society, there is a lot of diversity in lifestyles ("subcultures"). Adhocracies (fluid organizations) adapt quickly to changes. Information can substitute most of the material resources (see ersatz) and becomes the main material for workers (cognitarians instead of
proletarians), who are loosely affiliated. Mass customization offers the possibility of cheap, personalized, production catering to small niches (see just-in-time production). In his book The Third Wave Toffler says "...For this wisdom above all, we thank Mr.Jefferson, who helped create the system that served us so well for so long and that now must, in its turn, die and be replaced." Some understand these words as going against the Declaration of Independence and its principle that people have inalienable rights to govern themselves, and basic freedoms and liberties given by God. From this prospective, Toffler's effort is directed to the enslavement of the People of America and full suppression of their sovereignty. The gap between producer and consumer is bridged by technology using a so called configuration system. "Prosumers" can fill their own needs (see open source, assembly kit, freelance work). This was the notion that new technologies are enabling the radical fusion of the producer and consumer into the prosumer. In some cases prosuming entails a “third job” where the corporation “outsources” its labor not to other countries, but to the unpaid consumer, such as when we do our own banking through an ATM instead of a teller that the bank must employ, or trace our own postal packages on the internet instead of relying on a paid clerk. Aging societies will be using new (medical) technologies from self-diagnosis to instant toilet urinalysis to self-administered therapies delivered by nanotechnology to do for themselves what doctors used to do. This will change the way the whole health industry works. Since the 1960s, people have been trying to make sense out of the impact of new technologies and social change. Toffler's writings have been influential beyond the confines of scientific, economic and public policy discussions. Techno music pioneer Juan Atkins cites Toffler's phrase "techno rebels" in Future Shock as inspiring him to use the word "techno" to describe the musical style he helped to create. Toffler's works and ideas have been subject to various criticisms, usually with the same argumentation used against futurology: that foreseeing the future is nigh impossible. In the 1990s, his ideas were publicly lauded by Newt Gingrich. In 1996 Alvin and Heidi Toffler founded Toffler Associates, an executive advisory firm committed to helping commercial firms and government agencies adjust to the changes described in the Tofflers' works. The development Toffler believes may go down as this era's greatest turning point is the creation of wealth in outer space. Wealth today, he argues, is created everywhere (globalisation), nowhere (cyberspace), and out there (outer space). Global positioning satellites are key to synchronising precision time and data streams for everything from cellphone calls to ATM withdrawals. They allow just-in-time (JIT) productivity because of precise tracking. GPS is also becoming central to air-traffic control. And satellites increase agricultural productivity through tracking weather, enabling more accurate forecasts. Two major predictions of Toffler's - the paperless office and human cloning - have yet to be realized, not due to technological barriers but to sociological and politico-religious conditions. Also influenced Timothy Leary (see Info-Psychology; New Falcon Press, 2004) Alvin Toffler is mentioned in the Dance Exponents' 1983 hit "Victoria".
Alvin Toffler co-wrote his books with his wife Heidi. A few of their well-known works are:
Future Shock (1970) Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-27737-5
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The Eco-Spasm Report (1975) Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-14474-X The Third Wave (1980) Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-24698-4 Previews & Premises (1983) The Adaptive Corporation (1985) McGraw-Hill Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century (1990) Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-29215-3 War and Anti-War (1995) Warner Books ISBN 0-446-60259-0 Revolutionary Wealth (2006) Knopf ISBN 0-375-40174-1
 See also
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Daniel Bell Norman Swan Human nature
1. ^ http://www.alvintoffler.net/?fa=biospartnership 2. ^ http://www.alvintoffler.net/?fa=biosaffiliations 3. ^ 50 foreigners shaping China's modern development, 30 August 2006. Coverage at the Tofflers' site 4. ^ Alvin Toffler interviewed by Norman Swann, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National, "Life Matters", 5 March 1998.
 External links
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Alvin Toffler
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Official Website Toffler Associates, the executive advisory firm formed by Alvin and Heidi Toffler. After Words: Alvin Toffler interviewed by Newt Gingrich (Real Audio format) Alvin Toffler interview on The Gregory Mantell Show BookTalk.org: discuss Alvin Toffler's Future Shock with other readers
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Toffler" Categories: American non-fiction writers | American science fiction writers | American technology writers | Futurologists | Transhumanists | American Jews | People from Ridgefield, Connecticut | 1928 births | Living people Hidden categories: Articles with hCards | All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from October 2008 | Articles with unsourced statements from February 2007
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Non-fiction Book Review
Future Shock, The Third Wave, Powershift
A Trilogy by Alvin Toffler When Alvin Toffler first published Future Shock in 1970, he established himself as one of the best thinkers to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century. With publication of The Third Wave in 1980, he enhanced his reputation even more. By the time Powershift, the third book of his trilogy, hit the bookstores in 1990, there could be no doubt in anyone's mind. Toffler possesses a keen intellect and a knack for making sense out of apparent chaos. Is Alvin Toffler a modern-day Nostradamus? No doubt, there are those who would squelch that notion on the premise that it's too early to tell. Personally, I think it's already been told. It's up to you to decide for yourself. If you haven't already read Mr. Toffler's trilogy, I urge you to do so, if for no other reason than to keep yourself from being blindsided by forces you don't yet understand. If "forewarned is forearmed" has any meaning, it certainly applies here. Although each book in the trilogy stands on its own merits and can be read independently of the others, the entire works offer a greater depth of information and, therefore, understanding. Here, then, are brief descriptions of each book's contents, to help you decide if the information contained therein is something you need. Future Shock focuses on the accelerating changes in social, economic and political relationships brought about by a collision between present and future. The process of change careens out of anyone's control and, because the changes occur with amazing rapidity, many people find themselves bewildered and unable to cope. In effect, they suffer from future shock. Future Shock takes a probing look at the processes involved in change and reveals how changes affect people and their cherished institutions. The Third Wave documents the three great transforming changes that have occurred throughout human history, and puts each of these changes in historical perspective. It also gives some insights into the high-tech industries that make up the backbone of our new economy. Powershift explores the nature and sources of wealth and power and examines social, economic and political changes. It also introduces a new paradigm for personal, social, economic and political power (out with the old, in with the new). You can't afford to ignore this one. Of the three books, this one, I think, ranks above the others in terms of importance Meticulously researched, Alvin Toffler's trilogy synthesizes information from a huge list of bibliographic resources. It identifies, distills, categorizes and defines the global social,
economic and political changes now taking place and, through interpretation of past events and analysis of present trends, arrives at various projections and predictions for future changes. Toffler is at least ten years ahead of the next-best thinkers and light years ahead of the rest of us. You ignore his message at your own peril. What you don't know can, and probably will, hurt you. The changes now transforming society have only just begun, but there's still time. Use the knowledge Alvin Toffler thoughtfully provides to better position yourself to weather the storm of transformations now in progress.
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