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Complicated Lives: The Malaise of Modernity

ISBN: 978-0-470-85701-4
260 pages
November 2003
Complicated Lives: The Malaise of Modernity (0470857013) cover image


Complicated Lives examines the greatest conundrum of the modern world: why, despite being richer, healthier and more empowered than ever before, do we continue to feel threatened, under pressure and stressed? There's no denying that we've never had it so good, yet the stark truth is that levels of happiness are unchanged since the 1950s. Offering strategies and insights for avoiding 'the malaise of modernity' whilst exploiting positive experiences the 21st century has to offer, Michael Willmott and William Nelson take readers on a journey of self-discovery into the realities of life in today's complex, multi-channel world.
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Table of Contents


1. It's a Complicated Life.

2. The New Individualism.

3. The Routeless Society.

4. Human Capital and the Network Society.

5. New Life Courses, New Challenges.

6. Technology and Complexity.

7. The Choice Explosion.

8. Regendering Life.

9. The Parenting Challenge.

10. The Anxiety Society.

11. Complicated Times.

12. Navigating a Complex World.



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Author Information

Michael Willmott is co-founder of the Future Foundation, a consumer think-tank that advises organisations on emerging customer needs. He has 25 years experience as a researcher, analyst and forecaster and is a regular writer, presenter and media commentator on social, economic, political and technological change and its implications for business, government and society. His book Citizen Brands, recently published by John Wiley and Sons, deals with the dynamics of the relationship between companies and society and the implications for branding.

William Nelson is Analysis Manager for nVision, the Future Foundation’s online social and consumer trends and forecasting service. In recent years, he has managed research projects for a number of major clients including a three-year programme of research for retail bank Abbey National on the subject of life’s complications. He is Editor of practioner papers for the Journal of Consumer Behaviour.

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"… Complicated Lives points out, working time has…slightly decreased…But just about all of us feel we have less time…" (Financial Times, 25 September 2003)

"…an important new book…" (Marketing Week, 4 September 2003)

"…conflicting claims in the media is to blame for most of our anxiety…" (Daily Express, 22 October 2003)

"…In this fascinating book the authors lead us gently through the maze of complications…" (Research Magazine, November 2003)

“… draws on numerous sources to back the claims, and explains the theories in straightforward language. A very refreshing read…” (Marketing, 5 February 2004)

“...  It should be key reading for those tasked with re-engineering and future-proofing their organizations…” (Interactive Marketing, Vol 5 No 4 April/June 2004)

“...Full of challenging ideas that should help us with our understanding of future trends...” (Long Range Planning, Vol.37, No.4 August 2004) 


"Comprehensive, cogent, thought provoking: at once both practical and visionary.  This important book has its finger on the pulse.  Don't overlook it."

Alan Mitchell, author of Right Side Up, and co-author of The New Bottom Line.


"For anyone interested in today's society this is a must read.  A brilliant book which brings empirical understanding to our complex lifestyles."

Alan McWalter - now has a porfolio of business interests having previously been Group Marketing director at Marks & Spencer and a Director of Woolworths and Comet.


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