Alvin Toffler

Have you heard of Alvin Toffler? Over the Christmas holidays I picked up two of his books, kind of by fluke in a korean bookstore. You see, in order to find English books in Korea (outside of the internet) you have to go to some of the bigger bookstores in Seoul. But, even they don't have much selection. This really sucks when you are looking for specific authors in the Sci-Fi or Fantasy genres... every bookstore here has been pretty weak in those areas, and pretty much every other area when it comes down it. But what makes it interesting is that you are able to look at most of, or all, the books in a particular section, or all the sections :), without much problem. This would be pretty much impossible at home in a Chapter's or Indigo. While doing that, I find that I see some books I probably never would have noticed before. Such as Alvin Toffler.

I guess he's a 'futurist'? writing about what will happen... I know, sounds vaguely apocalyptic and wierd... but its actually pretty good. He is not writing about the end times, and though he is writing about the future, he's fairly good at covering his bases. He puts in the intro how this is inexact, and everything he says has a million qualifications which are not included in the book so as not to make it unreadable, and blah blah blah. Anyway, I read his first book, Future Shock, written in 1970, and I was amazed. He got some of his timeline's messed up, and he wasn't right everywhere, but to a startling degree he called what was going to happen from then until now (obviously in specificly generally areas... i.e. he didn't predict specific events, but general changes that would occur in say, the family structure, and so on). I just started the next book, 'The Third Wave', published in 1980. In it, as far as I can tell, he is examining Modernism and the coming Postmodernism, but under different names. Modernism is called Industrialism, or the Second Wave (the first being agriculturalism), and the Third Wave (which he hasn't explained yet) is what I am roughly equating with postmodernism. Obviously the terms dont' all much up, but its quite amazing what Toffler has done. There is more insight into modernism in this book than in lots of books I have read about modernism/postmodernism printed in the last 5 years.

So, I will probably be posting about some of his ideas in the near future, but before I did, I thought an introduction was in order.

If anyone has heard anything about this guy, good or bad, please let me know. I haven't really taken any time to research the guy, as I wanted to read at least his first book before I did that, and let it speak for itself.


Anthony said...

his future shock was an insane (like 50m sold) hit in the mid 70s.

its in every goodwill in the country, i havent read it.

Andrew said...

I don't konw why his book was such a big hit, but I imagine it had something to do with the fact that it was one of the few books about the future that was neither apocalyptic nor utopian... in the midst of the cold war, maybe people need hope?

In any case, what do you mean its in every goodwill in the country?

Anthony said...

i mean goodwill, as in the thrift store, in the book section...with the romance novels.