The Third Wave was written by Alvin Toffler in 1980. Alvin Toffler is an American writer
and futurologist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication
revolution and technological singularity. Toffler is a former associate editor of Fortune
The Third Wave is a must-read book on futurology, and this book review is intended
to wet the appetite of students of philosophy, history, management and sociology, who are
planning to play an active part in business under the dynamic environment of the
Information Economy (As Toffler denoted present time). The book presents a historical
overview of the past two human civilizations, and projects & measures the third one that is in
the process of coming out as change sweeps across the globe. Though the book revolves
around society, culture, media, organisations, science and computers, its central premise is
the transition of human history & human psychology, which has advanced three different
types of societies in sequential order, with each wave pushing the older society and culture
aside. But still each sequential wave is based on the previous one. The only ruling object of
this world is time, and humanity is supposed to cope with it.
The first wave talks about the agrarian economy that began some thousand years ago.
People used to make products for their own consumption individually, so there was no
trading between people. People transitioned from hunting and wandering, to clustering and
social culture. The first wave of change had not exhausted itself by the end of the seventeenth
The second wave talks about explosion of the industrial revolution colliding with all
the institutions of the past and how it changed the way of life of millions. Mass production
led to the birth of a new form of economy and the adoption of new managerial concepts such
as economies of scale, corporations, standardization, specializations, centralization’s and
synchronizations. By the end of the Second World War the globe started receiving signals of
a gathering third wave based not on muscles but on mind.
The Third Wave is called the information or the knowledge age; however, other sociopolitical
drivers like individual rights, freedoms, democracy and globalization of trade and
movements of goods and services cannot be ignored. The key concepts of The Third wave are
classifications and DE-centralization and consumerism.