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News Release, Announcement of New Book

Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century…Out of the Trenches and into the Future

Implications for Students, Education, Communities, and the Whole of Society

By Gary Marx, president, Center for Public Outreach, Vienna, Virginia,, 703-938-8725.  Published by Education Week Press/Editorial Projects in Education (2014).

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

Boomers hit 65 starting in 2011.  Millennials turning 30 since 2012.  Non-Hispanic Whites will be less than 50 percent of U.S. population by 2043Lifestyles 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, industry, organization, community, and country as we move into the future.  Marx engaged a 26-member international Futures Council 21 to advise on the project.

Ordering Copies of Twenty-One Trends: The book is available from the publisher at and from Amazon at

Seismic Shifts.  Get ready for a reset.  Political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and demographic trends are converging into a perfect storm.  Consider a few examples from Twenty-One Trends.

  •   Following every major economic depression or recession, physical and social infrastructure have been transformed, from transportation and manufacturing to lifestyles and education.  No one gets a pass.
  •    Lifelong education will move toward being available anywhere, anytime, and any way.  The same expectations will be true for many other industries.
  •    While school curriculum will continue to be aligned with goals, pressure will grow for goals to be more aligned with individual students’ strengths and the needs of society.
  •   In the U.S., non-Hispanic Whites are expected to fall below 50 percent of the population by about 2043.  For those 18 and under—by 2018.
  •    Beginning in 2011, Baby Boomers started hitting 65 at the rate of about 10,000 a day.  That Boomer trend will continue for about 30 years.
  •    In 2012, members of the Millennial Generation started turning 30 and will be assuming leadership that will be no less than revolutionary for every part of society.  Most will insist on quality, style, collaborative leadership, service, and results.
  •    Big data and the cloud, coupled with super- and quantum computers and growing mobility, will lead to revolutionary change in every field plus growing concern about identity and privacy.
  •   Globally, in 1970, only two urban areas had populations of more than 10 million.  By 2025, there will be 37, with 21 in Asia and 3 in the U.S.
  •    By 2020, 79.9 percent of jobs will be in the service sector.
  •    Economic recovery and sustainability will depend, in part, on systemic innovation.

Anyone who stays in touch with broad societal trends might have known that people would take to the streets in several parts of the world.  Converging trends were sending us strong signals—a generation of young people who want to solve problems and deal with injustices; soft economies and a lack of jobs; a questioning of authority; and social media that energize and bring people together at a moment’s notice.

In the foreword of Twenty-One Trends, Gallup Education Executive Director Brandon Busteed, observes, “Rote memorization of facts and figures will not be the intellectual currency of tomorrow’s world.  What will matter most is how we synthesize diverse information and then apply what we know.”

Seizing Higher Ground.  “We need to address people in the trenches.  That’s the hue and cry,” Marx observes.  “While the claim is justified by stark daily reality, we’d better make sure we don’t dig those trenches so deep that we lose touch with the outside world.  In fact, one of the biggest challenges we face is seizing higher ground, where we’ll have a better chance of exploring  and creating what lies beyond the horizon,” he remarks.  “When we dig, it should be to tap information, ideas, and possibilities to help us create a future, not to get us entrenched in simply defending the status quo.”

“All of us need to use these 21 trends to help us focus on the big picture, understand strategic perspective, unfreeze the system, and get a grip on the context in which we function,” Marx says.  “Deal with today’s issues but make time to get people involved in thinking about the implications of these trends for future.  “We are, after all, of this world, not separate from it.”

Far Reaching Trends, Seismic Shifts, “The Handwriting on the Wall.  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.

A Go-To Guide, Text, Key to Planning and Active Learning. This powerful book is compelling reading, an indispensable foundation for professional development, and a text for courses ranging from leadership and planning to education and futures studies.  Twenty-One Trends is a revealing environmental scan; an intelligence briefing; a source for speaking and writing; and a launch pad for active learning and project-based, real-world education.  The book is a go-to guide for thinking and planning, a virtual catalog of information and ideas that will stir thinking and possibilities.  “It’s a key for unlocking rigidity and stimulating ingenuity,” Marx says.  “Staying in touch leads to intellectual rigor and enlightened leadership.  It’s a mentality.”

The Future is in School Today.  Where are the talented and resourceful people who will help us deal with these and many other massive changes in society?  “Vast numbers of them are in our schools and colleges today,” Marx observes.  “As we plan for the future, we need to consider implications of these forces for a broad and deep education that is available to everyone.”

The Big Picture.  Releasing Genius.  “Let’s face it, the thrill in what we do is in knowing how our genius and hard work fits into the big picture and enriches lives.  Looking to the future and dealing with societal trends is an opportunity to demonstrate our intellectual leadership.  We have a golden opportunity to bring people together in common purpose, face these massive forces head on, and think seriously about how we can create new knowledge and inventive solutions to persistent problems.  The status quo is unsustainable,” Marx concludes.

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