When I read “Megatrends” in the 1980s, I found John Naisbitt a very astute observer of current events and the major themes that tied them together, so when I saw his new book “Mind Set!” in the local library recently, I quickly borrowed it. I was eager for an update on Mr. Naisbitt’s views on the key trends of our time.

The book exceeded my expectations. Mr. Naisbitt devotes much of the book to explaining the methods he uses to put news into the proper perspective for understanding the most significant trends and divining clues to what the future will hold. The sharing of this knowledge makes “Mind Set!” a meal for a lifetime.

One of Mr. Naisbitt’s methods that Specs should immediately grasp is “Focus on the score of the game”. Pay more attention to verifiable facts than to what people say or to sensational cases. For example, Mr. Naisbitt asks when the reader last saw a news item or major motion picture about killer coconuts. Yet a University of Florida study found that falling coconuts kill 15 times as many people per year as shark attacks.

Mr. Naisbitt’s identification of five key current trends, my original motivation for reading the book, did not disappoint. One trend is the continuing growth of China, which Mr. Naisbitt points out is quite decentralized: “Beijing pretends to rule, and the provinces pretend to be ruled”.

While some fear that American culture is obliterating local cultures, Mr. Naisbitt asserts that the world is changing America more than America is changing the world, as more than 1 million legal immigrants per year enter the United States. “For the most part, they are talented, ambitious, smart people who want to realize their dreams in a place where they have the freedom to do so. One million a year added to America’s talent pool. Because brains and talent are randomly distributed, think what the domestic birth rate would have to be to get the same result”.

In an intriguing tidbit, Mr. Naisbitt quotes Alan Greenspan as expecting private currencies to return by the end of the 21st century. “Mind Set!” is a meal for a lifetime, and I highly recommend it.


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