Non-Obvious 2017 Edition

Non-Obvious 2017 Edition: How To Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict The Future, by Rohit Bhargava (Ideapress Publishing; 2017)

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Rohit Bhargava is a professor at Georgetown University who studies trends. As the title suggests, he tends to ignore the obvious ones in favor of those that are a little more unusual. Each year, he releases his list of “non-obvious” trends as a way of predicting the future. He also lays out his methodology for predicting the future and grades himself on his past efforts.

The book begins with an overview of his aims, which are mostly to predict the future without being too obvious, and not to look too far ahead – that is, after all, the realm of science fiction and even the greatest minds can’t tell what’s likely to happen. He also breaks down his methods for naming trends, something to which he seems to give undue importance. He appears reluctant to simply name things, but rather brands his ideas in unusual or witty ways.

After that, he lists fifteen new trends, explaining what he means through examples, and then outlining why it is important and how it can be utilized. For example, one of the trends this year is “moonshot entrepreneurship,” which means that modern businesses are more interested in saving the world than making a profit – or perhaps they view one as a means to doing the other. In another chapter, he talks about “fierce feminism” (which I wouldn’t have called “non-obvious”) and details how having more women in your business is beneficial. Again, that seems a bit obvious to me.

I really thought his explanation of some trends was fascinating and actually inspired me somewhat in my own life. For one example, his description of “loveable imperfections” made me think about how this could be applied to my own business. I liked that he was very open about his methodology and willing to critique his own past predictions. That sort of openness is refreshing.

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