If you've heard Faith Popcorn's name even once, you're not likely to have forgotten it. Talk about branding! She's "an internationally respected forecaster of consumer trends," the dustjacket of her new book reminds us, "and a key advisor to many Fortune 500 companies"; among her clients are Bell Atlantic, BMW, Cigna, McDonald's, and Procter & Gamble. (I wonder what her take on Enron was.) In short, we're not talking about horoscopes.
The new book, written with Adam Hanft, is Dictionary of the Future: The Words, Terms, and Trends That Define the Way We'll Live, Work, and Talk, just out from Hyperion. Popcorn and Hanft have identified and defined up-and-coming words and terms in a variety of fields, supplemented by more speculative entries for words and terms they predict will come into use. And a few of the entries, they note, are for words that are not at all new but are generally not well understood or are becoming newly relevant.
The definitions, discursive and even chatty rather than in the terse mode favored by lexicographers, are arranged according to subject in 35 categories, from Aging to Transportation, with stops along the way for Biology and Biotechnology, Crime and Terrorism, Fashion and Style, Health and Medicine, and so on. Most of the categories are standard, but some are not: Fear, Frustration, and Desire, for instance. Each category come with a mini-introduction surveying the territory.
This is irresistible stuff, whatever its value to marketing mavens. "Virtual Immigrants," for instance, are "technology workers who serve U.S. companies from their native countries—such as China, Russia, and the Philippines—where they must remain because of immigration restrictions . …Imagine the economic impact in these countries ...1
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