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Mike Means Business

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by Mike DePue

As the end of the millennium rolls around, many popular magazines have been busy compiling lists of the "100 Best of the Last 100 Years." These lists cover everything from the best inventions, the best movies and the best books, to the best television commercials.

But in today's fast-paced market, businesspeople can't afford to spend time looking back. Those in the fields of science, technology, commerce and information are spending this final year of the century dusting off their crystal balls and looking to the 21st century.

Just how on-the-mark are these millennial prognosticators? Only time will tell.

All the titles below can be checked out from the Springfield-Greene County Library. Search the library's online catalog at

or contact your nearest branch for availability.

"Probable Tomorrows: How Science and Technology Will Transform Our Lives in the Next Twenty Years," by Owen L. Davies (former senior editor at Omni Magazine) and Marvin Cetron (investment consultant to corporations and governments; NATO consultant on technology transfer). 303.408 C.

U.S. high-speed railroads, the purging of air pollution, heavy industry in space, gene therapy that greatly extends human life expectancy all of these are probable in a vision of tomorrow which extends to 2010.

"Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century," by Michio Kaku (theoretical physicist at CCNY). 501.12 K.

By 2050, robots will far surpass human intellectual capability, cyborgs will roam the earth and human body parts will have silicon and steel replacements.

"What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives," by Michael L. Dertouzos (an Internet pioneer and head of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science). 303.4833 D.

A brief history of information technology is provided, and the most current advances are explained. Some of the concerns over emerging technologies, such as information overload and the growing disparity between rich and poor, are addressed.

"The Fourth Wave: Business in the 21st Century," by Herman Bryant Maynard (consultant on personal and organizational transformation) and Susan E. Mehrtens (president of a research organization specializing in the analysis of business trends). 338.544 M.

An era of integration and responsibility will succeed Alvin Toffler's Third Wave. Assets will come to be defined as ideas, information, creativity and vision.

"Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future," by Joel Arthur Barker (former director of the future studies department of the Science Museum of Minnesota). 658.4 B.

This book looks at how to find the people in your organization who are most likely to spot a new trend and how to help your key people adapt when a massive change is occurring.

"Real Time: Preparing For the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer," by Regis McKenna (international marketing consultant and the former president of the National Commission on Industrial Innovation). 658.406 M.

After mass marketing comes real-time marketing. The old notion of segmenting and targeting is out; dialogue-driven consumer intimacy is in.

"The Roaring 2000s: How to Achieve Personal and Financial Success in the Greatest Boom in History," by Harry S. Dent Jr. (his consulting firm has been researching and reporting on economic cycles for many years). 332.024 D.

Demography is destiny baby boomers will continue to spur growth for another 10 years. By 2008, the Dow will be somewhere between 21,500 and 35,000!

"World Boom Ahead: Why Business And Consumers Will Prosper," by Knight A. Kiplinger (frequently seen on financial programs and the editor of assorted newsletters and magazines bearing his name). 338.542 K.

The author's conclusion: "The world stands on the threshold of a long, strong surge in economic growth and living standards, unprecedented in world history." The driving force will be the dispersal of technology, leading to a vast new global middle class.

"The 500-Year Delta: What Happens After What Comes Next," by Jim Taylor (global marketing director for Gateway 2000) and Watts Wacker (futurist). 330.9 T.

The authors believe that we are leaving a reason-based world structure. Their ultimately optimistic forecast suggests the dismantling of such social, political and economics entities as producer-controlled consumer markets.

"Bold New World: The Essential Road Map To the Twenty-First Century," by William Knoke (president of an investment banking firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions in the field of cutting-edge technologies). 303.4909 K.

Expect a "placeless society" in which changes in transportation and communication obliterate such concepts as near and far. Time also becomes irrelevant as we enter the age of "Everything Everywhere."

"100 Best Careers For the 21st Century," by Shelly Field (a longtime career consultant to educational institutions and employment agencies). 331.702 F.

These career areas from geriatric social worker to CAD specialist to pet sitter are expected to grow the fastest in the first decade of the new century.

(Mike DePue is the business librarian at the Main Library, 397 E. Central. For almost 18 years he has answered thousands of questions on as many topics.)

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