Reviews & Testimonials

Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century:
Out of the Trenches and into the Future
Author: Gary Marx,
Published by Education Week Press/Editorial Projects in Education, April 2014

Here is what some distinguished leaders have said about Twenty-One Trends:

Donald Beaudette, Associate Professor at Boston University. 

“Future thinking and continuous improvement are the cornerstones of strategic planning, and as a former superintendent of schools I used Sixteen Trends (a previous Gary Marx book) with my planning team as a foundation for our strategic planning process.  I have continued to do so in my current role as a university professor with graduate students in my Strategic Planning and Implementation course.  As valuable as Sixteen Trends has been, however, Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century promises to be an even more powerful tool for school leaders, students of educational leadership, and strategic planners.  Not simply an update of the previous book, Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century is a groundbreaking compendium of the most pressing issues that we’ll be facing, organized into a highly engaging and accessible book.  A classic example of continuous improvement.”

Jack Jennings, Founder of the Center on Education Policy, Washington, D.C. 

“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., Canada. 

“Gary Marx offers us insights into the future for which we are expected to prepare our students.  As an educator, 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.  Over the years, I have used them extensively in my work with educators, parents, business and community leaders.”

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

 “Gary Marx explains how sustainability in the future will depend on our ability to personalize learning in this ever-changing world.  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.”

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.”

 Edward Gordon, President, Imperial Consulting Corporation, and Author of Future Jobs, Chicago.

“Change is great—as long as it happens to somebody else!  Gary Marx, in Twenty-One Trends, sounds an alert on the all-encompassing, inexorable pace of change that throughout the coming decades will affect everyone at all levels of society.  Marx then persuasively calls upon each of us to both think and act together in forming creative solutions that will better address the inevitable problems that arise from rapid systemic changes.”

Kathy Leslie, President, Leslie Consulting and Associates, Beaverton, Oregon. 

“If you want to be in the know and successfully lead your stakeholders into the future, read Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century.  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.”

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.  Twenty-one Trends for the 21st Century describes the possible, arguably the necessary, paradigm shifts needed to navigate and engage the world we live in with purpose.  Ultimately, Marx’s call to action inspires the creative, informed, and dynamic energy needed to fulfill the best possibilities yet to come.”

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.”

Laurie Barron, 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.”

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 step outside of our boxes and trenches to discover the harmony in our future.”

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

“In Twenty-One Trends, this author-futurist extends his previous body of work into a compelling reason for optimism in the 21st century.  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.”

Jack McKay, Executive Director, Horace Mann League, Port Ludlow, Washington.

“It is time to move out of the trenches and to a vantage point to see the future.  Includes trends about the future of public education.”

Arnold Fege, President, Public Advocacy for Kids, Washington, D.C. 

“This is not just another abbreviated, popularized, and anecdotal pathway about 5 easy steps to leadership, or an essay about how to move from average to spectacular, but a well thought-out and meticulously researched and compiled glimpse of the future. What author Gary Marx had done is organize, unbundle, package and coordinate narratives that taken as a whole, or taken partially, should comprise the focus of leadership, policy making, strategies, and practices for both the public and private sectors. The reader will find that for each Trend area, there are contexts, facts, quotes, references, charts, and graphs framed in usable formats for the practitioner, as well as the academic. But above all, Marx’s work needs to be utilized, incorporated, integrated, embellished, and debated–a framework that should be about what kind of world we will shape for our children, the future of our democracy, and the health of our civic space. “Getting Out of the Trenches” will not be easy, but there will be leaders who will find the “Trend Work” to be exciting, will possess the courage to recognize the implications of passivity and inaction, and find that this journey into the future to be exciting, while shoring up American ideals of democracy, social justice, opportunity, equity and union.”

Editorial Review:  Cynthia Wagner, Editor, The Futurist Magazine, World Future Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

“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.  Then he offers readers suggestions on how they and their organizations can engage with the change processes and stay ahead of the curve.”

Comments on Gary Marx Programs/Presentations


Inspiration to embrace change and plan for the future.

Insightful, valuable.

Good ideas to extend our leadership skills.

Engaging presenter who took time to be gracious.

Thought provoking.

Great opportunity to discuss issues with peers—knowing that we are all on a very similar page. An amazingly dense presentation—it’s not often that we hear such amazing research and data on current world trends. Fantastic information on a wide variety of topics.

I like the quote, “They’re only puttin’ in a nickel when they want a dollar song.”

Gives me enthusiasm to keep coming up with new ideas to improve education.

Enthusiastic, knowledgeable, motivating, engaging.

Informative, positive, and valuable information—useful and purposeful, which we can take and use to better our school community. Positive and inspirational speaker.

Strategies on analysis of where we are and how to move forward.

An excellent speaker and very interesting to listen to.

Interested in the models of problem solving.

It’s great to be valued as an educator.

Fantastic, informative presentation that opens up our minds to what we as educators can strive to achieve. Great chance to actually work on some specific school or district issues.  I do hope it has given individuals some skills to become better leaders. Great leadership inspiration.

Left us with a belief that we have a responsibility to move education toward the future.

General interest to staff as well as meaningful to educators in the classroom.

Enjoyable day, no stress and encouraged us to think.  Love the fact that he encouraged graciousness and to think about what we consider the perfect school. I loved seeing the big picture.

Gary obviously loves his work.

Some wonderful and motivating ideas to inspire future leadership and educational change. It was great to devote some time to look at the “big picture” and future directions.

General Comment:  “Would loved to have had more time.”