I’ve been a bit behind on my reading over the last few weeks, but this book fell into my pile as a ‘prize’ at a recent event and quick flick through had me immediately hooked.
Non Obvious 2018 is the latest instalment in an annual report of ‘trends’ that are researched and curated by Bhargava. What originally started out as an online-only report, has made the leap to a book and comes wrapped in some interesting extra chapters.
The book opens with a good explanation of what trends are, and how the author goes about researching, gathering and then curating the ideas for each year. It might seem counter-intuitive to provide a guide to writing your trend book, but the examples and process look fun and anyone can collate their opinions into a book. As someone who struggles to label ideas and projects, I especially liked the methodology that is used to name the trends, and the haystack method of collating information is easily transferrable to other fields of information.
The body of the book is the 2018 report, where Bhargava brings together 15 trends, each with supporting evidence. The 2018 report contains some excellent concepts, from ‘Truthing’ – the idea that people will search out truth based on personal connection through to ‘Manipulated Outrage’ – a perpetual stream of noise that is designed to incite rage.
Each of the trends is well described, with a short and the detailed summary and some good examples. At the end of the trend, there is a ‘why this matters’ section and some ways that you can use this trend to your advantage in business or in your product.
The book is backed up with some online resources, which can help find the articles cited in the examples and some exercises that can help with brainstorming your trends.
At the end of the book, there is a Trend Action Guide, a set of ‘go-do’ actions that can help you continue your thinking about the trends, as well as a comprehensive analysis of the trends identified in the previous books, which I thought was a transparent way of assessing accuracy.
Overall, I really enjoyed Non Obvious, the trends identified were both interesting and provocative. I found myself translating some of these trends into my day job and thinking whether there were opportunities for me leverage some of the thinking into the Customer Experience work I am doing.
The book is written in a very readable style, almost like a magazine or blog with short, snappy chapters containing sensible, relatable examples. I found it a great book for the commute where I might have to stop and start, and it was easy to plough through it at a good pace.
I’d highly recommend Non Obvious to anyone who likes to think about the big picture of the trends that are affecting all of us on a daily basis. The ideas and provocations included feel both accurate and interesting.