This is an interesting book, in parts, but it is also a missed opportunity.
The "big shift" refers to the increasing number of Australians who are moving to live close to the beach. The "third Australian culture" refers to the Australian beach culture which Salt says follows from the first Australian culture, that of "the Bush", and the second Australian culture, which was the move to the suburbs.
The reality is that the Australian beach culture is nearly as old as the bush culture and the shift to the beach has been going on for a long time. The other thing about the shift to the beach is that it is blindingly obvious to anyone who lives in Australia or visits the country, so this is not a great revelation.
There are many reasons why this shift is taking place: changes in outlook, the emergence of lifestyle aspirations, availabilty of land and infrastructure, demographics, affluence and so on. Unfortunately, Salt provides a rear-view mirror account of what has occurred, based on population statistics with little analysis of why it has occurred. This is the great missed opportunity of the book.
Most of the book does not deal with the shift to the beach. The "book" on the Big Shift is contained in the first few chapters. The rest is padding of one form or another. This padding is so obvious that chapters have no logical sequence and there isn't even a conclusion. It's just a jumble of writings.
The author, Bernard Salt, is a consultant who provides demographic-based advice to business. His public presentations are well thought out, professionally presented, logical, informative, useful and (at times) amusing. All the things that most of this book is not.
Let's hope that he is able to bring these attributes to his second book, The Big Picture: Life, Work and Relationships in the 21st Century.
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Hardie Grant Books (6 July 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 187671929X
- ISBN-13: 978-1876719296
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.7 x 23.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 295 g
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