Survive the Future.
Introducing the tenth edition of Non-Obvious, the final book in a decade-long series about trends shaping our world and a guide on how to see what no one else sees, from trend curator Rohit Bhargava.
ABOUT THE TREND SERIES
My name is Rohit Bhargava and for the past ten years, I have published an annual trend report that has been read or shared by more than a million readers. This all new tenth (and final!) edition looks back at more than a hundred past predictions to spotlight the biggest megatrends that will change how we buy, sell or believe anything.
HOW TO ORDER
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ABOUT THE PROCESS
Want to see what trend curation looks like in action? This short timelapse video shows Rohit using his signature "Haystack Method," to aggregate past trend predictions into bigger ideas. The process, which is outlined in Non-Obvious Megatrends, is designed to help anyone become a "speed understander" instead of a speed reader. It debatably works better when drinking coffee from a Minions mug ... at least according to Rohit.
AN AUTHOR Q&A WITH ROHIT
Why should I buy this book?
This book will help you get smarter and more ready for the coming decade. In addition to the ten megatrends that you need to know, the method of trend curation you'll learn in Non-Obvious Megatrends will help you think differently, be more creative, and see what no one else sees. The future belongs to non-obvious thinkers, and this book will help you become one!
What's the big idea of this book?
There are two big ideas. The first is that the world needs more open-minded people who think for themselves. I want to help people see the world independently instead of getting easily manipulated by those who seek to profit from warping their world view. The second is that by understanding the behavioral "megatrends" shaping our culture today, you will be able to grow your business, propel your career and generally make a bigger impact in the world no matter what you do.
How is this book different from other books that claim to predict the future?
Too many trend predictions are based on laziness, wishful thinking or just plain obvious. This book was inspired by ten years of research and more than 100 past trend predictions. All these curated stories and real-world examples ensure that this book helps you understand the accelerating present, and what it means for you.
Why are you an authority on trends when you often share that you don't think of yourself as a futurist?
I have spent my career advising hundreds of global brands in just about every industry you can imagine, and I speak at more than 40 events a year. This diversity of industry and experience is a key factor in how these trends are focused. While I don't see myself as a futurist because I focus on the near term, I do often describe myself as a trend curator - because I believe you can predict the future through understanding the present.
In the book you share diverse stories from Hong Kong’s last birdcage maker to entrepreneurial indigo farmers from northern Tennessee. How do you find these unique examples?
I am an avid collector of stories. I tear articles out of unusual magazines and read hundreds of stories every week in order to write my weekly newsletter. I speak at 50+ global events a year and interview dozens of fascinating people. I receive hundreds of books to review every year. This all goes into the curation of the trends.
The world has changed thanks to COVID-19, so are these trends still relevant?
It would be easy to say yes, but the truth is no one really knows. Will the importance of human connection, a key element of several megatrends, dramatically change? It is hard to say. But this book isn't only about the ten megatrend predictions. It is about helping you embrace a way of thinking that will allow you to be flexible to survive in this new world. The future will belong to non-obvious thinkers. That remains true even today.
Have you ever been wrong on a trend or prediction?
Of course. While making 100+ predictions, there have been some misses. Unlike many other trend forecasts, though, I build a lot of transparency into my predictions. There’s an appendix in the book that features a recap of every past trend along with an updated analysis on how that trend fared over time. A letter grade is assigned to every trend based on its longevity.
OK, you need to share the backstory. What's with the Post-It notes?
I dress that way every weekend! 😊 No, actually it’s from a fun photo shoot that an editorial team did to accompany an article about my process. The idea was to show how I sort through all the “information noise” in order to find meaning and identify interesting ideas. If you think that was fun, you should see the time-lapse video that we posted on social media about getting all those notes to stick.
You write about using trends for “fun and profit.” What do you mean, and can you tell us more specifically about the profit part of that?
First, I believe that understanding what direction the world is moving can make you more interesting as a person, and that is the fun part. On the profit side, when you can see the shifts happening in culture and behavior, you can pivot your business or career to take advantage.
I want Rohit to deliver a virtual talk for my organization or help us stay inspired while we are working remotely. How can I organize that?
Rohit does speak frequently at corporate events and runs day long trend, innovation and disruption workshops + offsites for senior leaders both virtually and in person. In case you're interested in any of those, you can contact Rohit and his team here. All event inquiries will receive a response within 24 hours (and usually within a few hours during the working day)!
You've been doing this for ten years, but you say this is the last edition. Why are you stopping?
This is a question I get a lot. Much as Jerry Seinfeld said when asked the same question about ending his show, I want to end this project gracefully while it is at its peak. Writing this annual book has been the longest project of my career. Now I want to move on to other projects and specifically invest my time and resources to making Non-Obvious a much bigger and more powerful idea ... a journey we started this year with the announcement of our ambitious new Non-Obvious Guide Series.
Do virtual events really work?
Yes, if they are done right. The problem is, most of the time they aren't. To help share some insights on what makes a valuable virtual event, I wrote an article recently titled: 5 Reasons Virtual Events Suck (and How To Fix Them). In addition, I am pulling together insights from more than 20 amazing professionals for my upcoming Non-Obvious Guide to Virtual Meetings & Remote Work. Both are resources designed to help people be more effective when they can't be there in person.