21Trends front-cover

Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century Reveals 21 Massive Trends That Will Profoundly Impact Our Future

by Gary Marx

Boomers hit 65 starting in 2011.  Millennials turning 30 since 2012.  Lifestyles are changing.  Collaborative leadership is in.  Quantum computers are on the horizon.  Every nation and organization is facing an historic reset.   

Many of us have been wondering when things will get back to normal.  In the meantime, author, international speaker, and futurist Gary Marx, president of the Center for Public Outreach in Vienna, VA, has been probing what the new normal will look like.  The latest book in his trends series is a virtual tour de force for all of us who are maneuvering our way through a fast-changing world.

Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century…Out of the Trenches and into the Future, published by Education Week Press/Editorial Projects in Education (EPE), lays out an array of massive trends and zeroes in on seismic shifts that will impact every person, organization, community, and country as we move into the future.

Ordering Copies of Twenty-One Trends: The book is available in print and electronic forms from the publisher at (print and electronic), Amazon at, (print and Kindle), and Barnes & Noble,, (Nook).  ISBN:  978-1-939864-04-8 (Paper)   978-1-939864-05-5 (eBook).  Order copies for all leaders, board members, educators, professional developers, planners, communicators, staff, business and government leaders, students, parents, members of the broader community, and others.  Use it as a textbook or sub-text for courses and classes at all levels.

Twenty-One Trends is an essential guide, environmental scan, and intelligence report for anyone and any organization or community that is planning for the future.  Like other books by Gary Marx, it is readable, a page-turner, and will be used as a text or required reading for courses and classes as well as professional development in everything from leadership and education to strategy development and futures studies.  For educators, it can also provide fuel for active learning, project-based education, learning through inquiry, and teaching thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills.

Focusing on the 21 trends featured in this breakthrough book, Marx emphasizes, “All of us need to look at the big picture, understand strategic perspective, and get a grip on the context in which we function.”  Processes the book recommends can help unfreeze the system, get past gridlock, and build a sense of ownership.

Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century…Out of the Trenches and Into the Future devotes a chapter each to far-reaching trends focused on:  generations; diversity; aging; technology; identity and privacy; the economy; jobs and careers; energy; environmental/planetary security; sustainability; international/global challenges; personalization; ingenuity; the depth, breadth, and purposes of education; polarization; authority; ethics; continuous improvement; poverty; scarcity vs. abundance; and a combination of personal meaning and work-life balance.  The trends are grouped into eight spheres:  demographic, technology, economic, energy and environment, international/global, education and learning, public and personal leadership, and well-being.

“These trends and the process of addressing them provide fuel for leadership and a positive, exciting way to stay ahead of the curve, in touch, and connected to the needs and demands of society.  We need to seize higher ground, where we’ll have a better chance of exploring and creating what lies beyond the horizon,” Marx says.  “We are, after all, of this world, not separate from it.”

Reviews/Testimonials for Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century.

Twenty-One Trends:  Top Five Education Books:
Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century by Gary Marx was named one of the top five education books of 2014 by Envision, “a research-based authority on experiential learning programs that help students develop the essential applied skills, behaviors, and knowledge they must have for college, career, and life success in the 21st century.” Envision’s partners include:  the American International Education Foundation, The Center of Science and Industry, George Mason University, Golden Key International Honour Society, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, The National Society of High School Scholars, Phi Delta Kappa Society, and the Stanford Law School.

Editorial Review:

Cindy Wagner, The Futurist Magazine:

“A series of forces will shape our world’s future, according to Gary Marx, futurist and president of the Center for Public Outreach: economic pressures, environmental challenges, shifting demographics, and emerging technologies, among others.  He lays these many change drivers out and forecasts the specific impacts that they will have on communities, countries, and the entire globe.”

Consumer Reviews:

Donald Beaudette, associate professor at Boston University:

“A groundbreaking compendium of the most pressing issues that we’ll be facing, organized into a highly readable and accessible book.”

Jack Jennings, founder of the Center on Education Policy:

“Gary Marx has masterfully given us a glimpse of the future in its many aspects, and has also shown us how to prepare to deal with its major challenges.”

Avis Glaze, president of Edu-quest International, Inc. in Canada:

“I have depended on Gary’s work for teacher education, leadership development, planning, and international speaking engagements.  For me, these trends represent a well-researched, reputable, and reliable source of projections and insights.”

Edward Gordon, president, Imperial Consulting Corporation, author of Future Jobs: “Gary Marx sounds an alert on the all-encompassing, inexorable pace of change that throughout the coming decades will affect everyone at all levels of society.”

Craig Perrier, History Curriculum Specialist, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA, and Adjunct Professor, History and Social Studies, Northeastern University:

“Marx is a globalization maestro able to successfully blur the lines we use to divide our world and keenly focus our attention to the issues that matter now, and in the future.”       

Kathy Leslie, President, Leslie Consulting and Associates, Beaverton, Oregon:  “Marx brings deep world experience and dogged fact-finding skills to his descriptions of today’s realities and his projections for the future.  This is a must read book for engagement strategists, researchers, community leaders and organizers, educators, planners, and anyone who thinks and wants others to know and grapple with where we have been and where we are going.  If you read only one futurist book, make it this one.”

James E. Woods, Indoor Environmental Consultant, Charlottesville, Virginia:

“Marx weaves a strong thread through his 21 trends that are nested in his eight spheres of influence:  education with lifelong learning is key.  This book is a must read for anyone who is planning to succeed in the 21st century.”

Patrick Newell, Vision Navigator, 21 Foundation, Tokyo, Japan: 

“This book provides us an opportunity to gain a better understanding of how to navigate through the one accelerating constant–change.  Our world would be quite a different place if we simply stepped outside of our boxes and trenches to discover the harmony in our future.”

Johnny Veselka, Executive Director, Texas Association of School Administrators, Austin, Texas:.

“In his compelling book, Gary Marx steers us through the maze of trends that will have a significant impact on our educational leaders, our classrooms, our students, and our future.  Twenty-One Trends offers practical information, ideas, and suggestions with the purpose of transforming education, rather than simply defend the status quo.”

Gary Rowe, Independent Producer and Media Consultant, Rowe, Incorporated and InSite Learning, Inc., Lawrenceville, Georgia: 

“Educational leaders are preoccupied with administration and maintaining equilibrium in their classrooms or institutions.  In keeping with the creative thinking in his previous books, Gary Marx challenges these leaders, and all of us, to think with a wider vision.  The schools we had, the schools we have, are not the schools we need.  Twenty-One Trends invites us to look into the future and provides the reader with ideas about how to live there.  This is the provocation needed for leaders to meet the challenges rapid changes require.”

James Harvey, Executive Director, National Superintendents Roundtable, Seattle, Washington: 

“Those of us who survived the 20th Century may hope that things will soon return to normal.  But the 21st Century will look nothing like the last.  As this compelling new book from Gary Marx points out, generations are changing, economies are being remade, a (non-Hispanic) white majority in the United States will soon be a thing of the past, while simultaneously we deal with an aging population, the Millennial generation’s aspirations, and revolutions in energy and technology.  Buckle up for a wild ride—and make sure you have Marx’s book handy to help navigate the challenges.”

Laurie Barron, Ed.D., Superintendent, Evergreen School District #50 in Kalispell, Montana, and 2013 Met Life/NASSP National Middle School Principal of the Year:  “In our ever-changing world, it is critical that we make decisions rooted in diligent research and thoughtful reflection.  No longer can we lead others through simple instinct and intuition.  Understanding the Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century will help us use knowledge from our experiences in the trenches to better lead those we serve in the future.”


A Guide to Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century

By Gary Marx

This 142-page Guide to Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century provides an economical way to share these trends more widely.  It provide an opportunity to make even greater number of people aware of these massive trends and their implications for education and the whole of society.  While the full Twenty-One Trends book provides the broadest and deepest explanation of these societal forces and their implications, complete with a generous number of illustrations, this Guide powerfully carries basic messages and is designed to heighten awareness about the need to constantly create a future in a fast-changing world.  Plan to order in bulk.


Future-Focused Leadership…Preparing Schools, Students, and Communities for Tomorrow’s Realities

by Gary Marx

Published by ASCD, Alexandria, Virginia, 2006. 

ISBN-13: 978-1-4166-0219-4 and ISBN-10: 1-4166-0219-4 (Print)  Several eBook Editions.  

Twenty-first century leaders will need to stay ahead of the curve.  Otherwise, they will simply be overrun by forces that seem almost uncontrollable.  These turbulent times demand leaders who are not only highly adept at their specialties but who are also generalists, eager to connect with people and ideas.  These thoughtful and exemplary future-focused leaders will joyfully wrest coherence from a world of growing uncertainty and complexity.  On top of that, they’ll enjoy the challenge and bring new hope and possibility to their organizations, communities, and countries.

In this classic book, Gary Marx makes a case that tomorrow’s successful leaders will be interconnected generalists, capable of sensing how what they do affects the world around them and how an awareness of the what’s going on in society can lead them toward opportunities and help them avoid catastrophes.  He even presents a series of twelve guiding principles for connected, future-oriented leaders.

Ordering Copies of Future-Focused Leadership:  Available in both print and electronic forms  from the publisher, ASCD, at and from Amazon at

Central to Future Focused Leadership is a stimulating journey through techniques for reading the internal and external environment, sometimes referred to as “staying in touch.”  Readers learn how to use trend analysis, issue analysis, gap analysis, flexibility/innovation analysis, historical/defining moments analysis, and PEST analysis (in this case meaning political, economic, social and technological forces impacting society).  In considering a vision for the future, readers are treated to the basics of scenario planning and explore gap analysis, a process for identifying the characteristics of the organization, community, or country they want to become.  Capping this gravity-breaking publication is an exploration of strategic future-focused communication, essential for creating the culture that welcomes needed change while embracing valued heritage.  Change is inevitable.  Progress is optional.

Future Focused Leadership should be considered essential reading for anyone, in any organization, industry, or community, who is committed to pursuing an even brighter and more sustainable future.

This book can be considered a companion to Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century: Out of the Trenches and into the Future.

According to author Gary Marx, “‘We need to get outside the box!’  How many times have we heard it?  How many times have we said it?  Do we really mean it, or does this mantra simply state some seemingly unattainable dream?  How can we keep ourselves and our organizations in tune with the exponentially expanding needs, problems, and opportunities posed by the world around us?  Breaking through the tough inner and outer walls of organizational, philosophical, and even habitual boxes can be formidable, but it is also essential.”



Sixteen Trends…Their Profound Impact on Our Future

by Gary Marx

Originally published by the Educational Research Service (ERS), Alexandria, Virginia, 2006.

  ISBN (Full Book):  1-931762-48-1                                                                     ISBN (Overview):  1-931762-52-X

Shifts.  Future Forces.  Call them whatever you’d like.  The Sixteen Trends revealed in this benchmark book will have a profound impact on our future.  Noted futurist, educator, communicator, executive and leadership counsel, author, and international speaker Gary Marx makes the case for those trends and speculates on their implications for education and the whole of society.  Supported by compelling research and observations, the trends address:  aging, diversity, intellectual capital, technology, generations, education, personalization, human ingenuity, continuous improvement, ethics, planetary security, polarization, interdependence, personal meaning, poverty, and careers.  Sixteen Trends is must reading for anyone involved in education, business, government, nonprofits, community groups, and other types of organizations, industries, or professions.

Futurist Gary Marx, who has worked with people in most walks of life nationwide and worldwide, strongly recommends bringing diverse groups of people together to seriously consider the implications of these and other trends.  We ignore them at our own peril.

According to Gary Marx, “Some individuals, organizations, communities, and nations are so intent on defending the status quo that they become increasingly out of touch with our fast-changing world.  It’s a fact that unless we stay ahead of the curve, we’ll fall behind.  Change is inevitable.  Progress is optional.”  (Note:  Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century is Marx’s latest book in his trends series.)

Order Copies of Sixteen Trends (Full Book):  Available from its current publisher, Education Week Press/Editorial Projects in Education at or from Amazon at

(Overview):  An Overview of Sixteen Trends is also available, intended for mass distribution, is available from or




Preparing Schools and School Systems for the 21st Century

by Frank Withrow, Harvey Long, and Gary Marx

Originally published by AASA, now available from R&L Publications.

ISBN:  0-87652-235-5   ASIN:  B009GIPHPA

Available in both print and Kindle from  

Amazon Description:  This 112-page publication, Preparing Schools and School Systems for the 21st Century, presents characteristics of schools and school systems capable of preparing students for a global knowledge/information age. Order copies of this publication for board members, administrative team, staff, and community leaders. Use it to build support and stimulate discussions that will help you take leadership in reshaping your schools and school system for a new millennium.  Characteristics of 21st century schools were identified by a distinguished Council of 21 leaders in business, education, government and other fields during an historic Mount Vernon Conference. The council was under the honorary chairmanship of Senator John Glenn.  The study was directed by Gary Marx, then an executive with the American Association of School Administrators, and made possible by financial support from AMP Incorporated and the Electric Power Research Institute.



Working with the News Media

By Pat Ordovensky and Gary Marx

Originally published by AASA, now available from R&L Publications

ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0876521922   ISBN-10: 0876521928

Available in print from  

Amazon Description:  A strong, open relationship with reporters is the key ingredient for achieving fair, complete coverage of schools. You’ll find dozens of tips on establishing credibility, conducting a good interview, communicating during a crisis and using media tools such as news releases and public service announcements.  At the time this book was written, Gary Marx was a senior executive for AASA and Pat Ordovensky was education reporter for USA Today.

Other Previous Books by Gary Marx:



Ten Trends: Educating Children for a Profoundly Different Future by Gary Marx



Excellence in Our Schools: Making It Happen, Gary Marx & William Spady



Public Relations for Administrators, Gary Marx, Donald Ferguson & Donald Bagin


Building Public Confidence in Our Schools by Gary Marx



Radio: Get the Message by Gary Marx



Radio: Your Publics are Listening by Gary Marx