Alvin Toffler (October 4, 1928 – June 27, 2016) was an American writer, futurist, and businessman. He is called futurist because he quite accurately predicted what kind of technologies will emerge over the years and how society will change because of that. Toffler predicted a number of geopolitical events, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the future economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
We strongly recommend to read all his books as it will give you a certain direction, insight and guidance on how to plan your personal and professional goals in the fast changing world.
In 1970 his first book about the future, Future Shock, became a best-seller and has sold over 6 million copies. It mentions about ” too much change in too short a period of time” that society has to start handling.
His second book, The Third Wave in 1980 was a bestseller too. In this book he made predictions on technological advances as cloning, personal computers, the Internet, cable television and mobile communication. Due to technological advances there are three types of societies, based on the concept of “waves” — each wave pushes the older societies and cultures aside.
- First Wave: Society after agriculture revolution replaced the first hunter-gatherer cultures.
- Second Wave: Society during the Industrial Revolution , saw the increase of urban industrial populations which had started destroying the traditional nuclear family, and initiated a factory-like education system, and the growth of the corporation.
- Third Wave: Post-industrial society in Information Age, Space Age, Electronic Era, Global Village with a scientific-technological revolution where society moves towards individualism instead of being family oriented.
His third book , Powershift, (1990), was on the increasing power of 21st-century military hardware and the proliferation of new technologies.
He founded Toffler Associates, a management consulting company, and was a visiting scholar at many prestigious universities. Toffler’s ideas and writings were a significant influence on the thinking of business and government leaders worldwide. Among a few of his opinions, he said that “Society needs people who take care of the elderly and who know how to be compassionate and honest. Society needs people who work in hospitals. Society needs all kinds of skills that are not just cognitive; they’re emotional, they’re affectional. You can’t run the society on data and computers alone.”
Toffler often visited with dignitaries in Asia such as Zhao Ziyang (China), Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore) and Kim Dae Jung (South Korea). All of these leaders were influenced by his views as Asia’s emerging markets increased in global significance during the 1980s and 1990s.
Recognition of Toffler by Academia and Industry:
- Accenture, the management consultancy firm, identified Toffler in 2002 as being among the most influential voices in business leaders, along with Bill Gates and Peter Drucker.
- Financial Times described him as the “world’s most famous futurologist”.
- People’s Daily classed him among the 50 foreigners who shaped modern China.
- Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang of China convened conferences to discuss The Third Wave in the early 1980s.
- Author Mark Satin characterizes Toffler as an important early influence on radical centrist political thought.
- Won prestigious prizes awards, such as the McKinsey Foundation Book Award for Contributions to Management Literature, Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and appointments, including Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Institute for Strategic Studies,Brown University’s Independent Award.
Note: Article condensed from Wiki Link