This Month’s BookThing is one from the archives: The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler.
In the book Toffler describes three types of societies, based on the concept of ‘waves’ – each wave pushes the older societies and cultures aside.
- The First Wave is the settled agricultural society which prevailed in much of the world after the Neolithic Revolution, which replaced hunter-gatherer cultures.
- The Second Wave is Industrial Age society. The Second Wave began in Western Europe with the Industrial Revolution, and subsequently spread across the world. Key aspects of Second Wave society are the nuclear family, a factory-type education system and the corporation. Toffler writes:
“The Second Wave Society is industrial and based on mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, mass entertainment, and weapons of mass destruction. You combine those things with standardization, centralization, concentration, and synchronization, and you wind up with a style of organization we call bureaucracy.”
- The Third Wave is the post-industrial society. Toffler says that since the late 1950s most countries have been transitioning from a Second Wave society into a Third Wave society. He coined many words to describe it and mentions names invented by others, such as the Information Age.
About Alvin Toffler:
Alvin Toffler (born October 4, 1928) is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity. A former associate editor of Fortune magazine, his early work focused on technology and its impact (through effects like information overload). Then he moved to examining the reaction of and changes in society. His later focus has been on the increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and technology proliferation, and capitalism. He founded Toffler Associates, a management consulting company, and was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, visiting professor at Cornell University, faculty member of the New School for Social Research, a White House correspondent, an editor of Fortune magazine, and a business consultant.
To earn 4 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:
- What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
- How might the focus of this book impact library service?
- How might the focus of this book impact library users?
If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier.