Future Shock

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Examines the effects of rapid industrial and technological changes upon the individual, the family, and society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553277371
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1984
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 561
  • Sales rank: 239,489
  • Lexile: 1290L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Excellent insights - fascinating to compare today's reality to his 40+ year old predictions.

    The fact that Alvin Toffler wrote this book over 40 years ago is amazing, particularly how accurately he projected some of the trends existing at the time into the future, which we can now evaluate for their validity. Needless to say, he was incredibly prescient and insightful, and it's quite entertaining to see just where he hit the nail on the head, and where he was just shy of the mark, perhaps only the result of a subtle misreading of trends at the time, or perhaps entirely accurate and we just have not quite reached the point in the future where his projections have become a reality.

    The writing style is dense, but easily readable, and there is a well paced flow to the material. The content builds slowly, in layers, and it is interesting to watch the author assemble his thoughts and analysis piece by piece. If you are looking for a quick, easy read this is not the book for you, but if you like intellectual calisthenics and stretching your mind around long, complex structures it's a fun read.

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  • Posted September 8, 2012

    Nothing really ¿¿shocking¿¿ here Future Shock is not a book you

    Nothing really ‘’shocking’’ here
    Future Shock is not a book you would want to read to pass the time. It requires your full attention and lots of thinking in order to understand what Alvin Toffler is saying. Right out of the shoot the book starts with him explaining over and over again that a disease called” future shock” is among us. The repetition helps in understanding what he is saying but after 3 chapters, you get the picture and instantly start to lose focus. There were some interesting chapters about technology that I found insightful to read and could relate to, but a lot of sections were about the mindset and thought of future shock, and those just seemed bland to me. Considering that this book was written in 1970, Toffler’s educated guesses about the future didn’t convince me as well, because 42 years later, little or none of his predictions have come true. I mean, I could see some of his political and social predictions possibly happening, but probably not for the next 50 years or so. The only reason I chose this book was because the idea of predicting the future seemed fascinating to me. If I had known it was written in 1970 that definitely would have changed my mind about reading it. Toffler’s writing style was good and I could see where he was going with every chapter but I just didn’t want to go there at all. Some of his ideas like preparing the mind for future shock were a little far-fetched to me and I don’t see how that relates to his predictable future. A majority of the book was either quotation from another genius mind or research results that a university conducted. Toffler attempts to use as much outside evidence as he can to convince you of his ideas, but it would have been a lot better if he explained it himself instead of having to use examples just to make you understand. If this book was written in today’s day and age, it would have seemed a lot more interesting and most likely contained ideas that have a higher chance of happening in the near future. Some of Alvin Toffler’s other works are The Third Wave: The Classic Study of Tomorrow and Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century which both relate to the idea of the future and seem very similar to Future Shock. I give this book a 3 out of 5 and recommend only reading this book if you like ideas about a future that will probably never happen and facts beyond facts to tell you why it might.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    Toffler's a little bit psychic

    Alvin Toffler must have certainly been a little bit psychic. At least he seems so in Future Shock, where his predictions regarding future social structure, economics, and the effects fast paced innovation could have on a society, such as that which we live in 2012. Though very long and often becoming stale if one reads too much at once, the book is a plethora of knowledge and statistics, all of which cumulate into a cohesive theory: the world as we know it is experiencing to much technological change that it can handle at once, and without properly conducting any further advancement, these changes can cause a rupture in society that has never been dealt with before. Themes within the text include adhocracy vs. bureaucracy, technological advancement, individual integrity and individualism, the limits to choice, accelerated change, reality vs. idealism, and future planning, all of which are used in an imaginatively concise manner to convey Toffler’s points. One can appreciate his predictions for the future; including changes that we already see affect our society today, in manners which are subtle yet very real, though often his predictions turned out to be slightly on the extremist’s end and implied that he disliked any sort of modernization. I applaud Toffler’s use of statistics, which offer someone with a literal mind to be able to visualize the scale at which Toffler writes, as well as his focus on the theme without remaining to conceptual. The book is dense, however; it took me quite some time to read, which was all right if someone has the time to devote to reading a book like this over a course of a month or two. It would have been nice if Toffler could have incorporated more references to works of fiction that dealt with his “future shock” theme, such as what he did with Fahrenheit 451 and a couple other notable works. Doing so would have given a reader a better base point to refer to when passages in the book became too complex or “out there,” thus giving a reader a better understanding during instances when the book may have been less than understandable. This is not a book for a fifth grader, by the way. It is a piece of literature suited to a person who has a clear beforehand understanding of modern innovation and technology, as well as minor psychology, sociology, and historical knowledge, and has the patience to keep on reading when Toffler’s writing gets tough. Works of Toffler’s which are also similar to Future Shock include The Third Wave and The Adaptive Corporation, both which expand upon other themes with Future Shock while still being independent pieces of literature. Nevertheless, Toffler’s book remains a classic which is as eye-opening as it is intriguing, and I certainly give it a four star, thanks to its vast exhibition of knowledge, despite its plain and lackluster reading on occasions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2011

    An Educated Guess About the Future

    I chose to read Future Shock for summer reading for my high school English class, and I, somewhat, regret doing so. For me, this book seemed like nothing more than an educated guess about the future. Obviously, Alvin Toffler knew what he was talking about and it is apparent that he put a lot of time into his research. The way that he analyzed everything that he was talking about really helped me understand what he was talking about much better. Some of the ideas in this book were interesting and made me think, which is always good. However, I felt like a lot of the ideas in this book were also very repetitive, and, after reading it for a while, I found myself getting very bored. Toffler's style of writing, at least in this book, is hard to read in a relatively short period of time; it's not very audience captivating. Even the cover of the book seemed bland to me. I don't think I would've picked this book from the list I had to choose from if I could've seen the covers of all the books. I think that reading this book now, in the future that Toffler refers to (even farther past really), also played a factor in my end views after reading it. Toffler makes highly educated guesses about what he, and others, thinks is going to happen in the future based on social and economical tendencies at the time. A lot of these guesses have actually already occurred or are in the process of occurring, but, at the same time, a large majority of them have not yet, and may not ever, occur. I suppose that his overall ideas and predictions are accurate, but his specific predictions are not. As I stated before, Future Shock really just seemed like more of an educated guess than anything else, to me. I would recommend this to people that really like to read and are interested in ideas from the past, but I don't feel like this book is really meant for a lot of people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2011

    Interesting but.... bland?

    Future shock was a bit boring it had lots of good physiological philosophies such as the paper dress, but it bored me half to death. The book is hard to pay attention to because it does not catch a person's eye. It makes me want to go to sleep and I really did not like it. It took me a month or two to read this book because of its shear monotony in theme and style.
    Toffler gave many examples of how we as a society waste a lot of resources by replacing them or making the disposable paper wedding dress idea, or how we create lots of change through technology and moving objects or structures that should be permeate.
    There was a lot of repetitive we push or cause change; we avoid change because it stresses us out and a large amount of examples of how we do that.
    Toffler also writes the book in a tone as if he doesn't like change which may be true.
    I believe that Toffler might have been able to convey his messages better than how he did in future shock. He could have also made it a little bit more fun to read.
    If someone should read this it would be best if they like an explanation behind why people don't like change and why change stresses people out.
    If I were to recommend a book I would not recommend this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006


    this book is the best i am only15 yrs old and i really like the book hope u read it to

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2004

    Has been very influential...

    I found a copy of the book sometime in the winter of 2000/2001 at a used bookstore and it was already old and ragged. After I read it, I eagerly lent it to a friend to get his opinion - but his dog got to it before he had the chance to even look at it. Even though I don't have a physical copy of the book anymore, the ideas presented in it have been very influential in my thinking about the modern world - a world that is experiencing accelerating change and has been for about the last 150 years. Toffler gets a lot wrong when he tries to make specific predictions (like disposable clothes), but he gets the big picture right. He wrote the book in 1971, from the perspective of looking back on the tumultous 60's. As he started to look at the data, he saw what seems to be an incredible trend: over the scope of human history, the amount of change one can expect to live through has been on a very slow, nearly imperceptible climb. But quite recently - since about the start of the Industrial Revolution - there has been a sharp acceleration in the amount of change we experience during the course of our lives. There is also no sign that the pace of life is slowing down or even leveling off. As Toffler argues, this amount of change is something that we are poorly equipped to deal with and leads naturally to symptoms of anxiety and depression, a desire to withdraw. What he calls 'Future Shock'. Even in Toffler's time, people were complaining about never 'having enough time', so one could argue that there is nothing new. But it is also clear that Toffler was writing in the time before cable TV, computers, satellite news, cell phones, and the Internet - technologies that have undeniably sped up the amount of information we consume and with it, the pace of our lives. That makes looking at today's world all the more interesting because it is clear that the world has continued to accelerate in the 33 years since he published the book. It's kind of mind blowing when you think about the implications. How the heck are we supposed to adapt?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2003

    A pioneering work

    Toffler succeeded in popularizing before anyone else an understanding of a central change in the human situation i.e the challenge to freedom which comes of the expansion of freedom , the new human world in which there are not too few , but too many choices to be made in regard to every aspect of our lives. In a sense all that has happened with the Internet is an extension of this principle of multiplying choices for the individual , including choices for communications with others. This book is rich in insights in many different areas of social life. And it will truly provide the reader with a tremendous amount of 'food' for thought.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    Future Shock

    I cannot believe I found this in an old crate about to be thrown away! This book is the kind of reading that will make people think, even if they are too psychologically disturbed or just plain scared to do anything as a result of inspiration from this book. Future Shock is too awesome to not think about at least once a month for the rest of one's life!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2002

    Future Shock

    Alvin Toffler writes about stuff that is just plain awesome! This stuff is important for all those people to read, you know, the people who are supposedly 'open-minded'. The detail that goes into it is just amazing, and if it were fiction (not in political terms, as was talked about amongst rival politicians in the movie MY FELLOW AMERICANS, where one person's view is seen as 'fiction') if this book were fiction, I would rate it with Michael Crichton. Both these men do a lot of research. Read future shock, and you will see that 30 years ago Alvin Toffler was never a conformist, and still is not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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