How Corporate America Killed a Lifestyle That Threatened Its Dominance
Arnold Mitchell discovered something about consumer behavior that put huge organizations at risk—so it had to vanish
Forty years ago, a brilliant man named Arnold Mitchell invented a whole new way of analyzing how people behave.
He worked for corporate clients at SRI, a West Coast think tank. So Mitchell’s main goal was to help companies make money—with smarter marketing. But his analysis was so innovative that you could use it to predict almost any social movement.
Mitchell wrote a book about his breakthrough in 1983. And I’ve studied that book carefully, returning to it again and again. It has helped me enormously in my efforts to anticipate trends, understand culture and society, and forecast the future.
In fact, I was so impressed by Mitchell’s work that I later tried to track down people who had worked with him—in hopes of learning his techniques at a deeper level.
Unfortunately Mitchell was dead by that point. I did get firsthand info, however, from his former colleagues. And the more I learned, the more interesting the story got.
But I was the only person to do this. As far as I can tell, nobody else was trying to learn this stuff.
And that’s very strange.
That’s because Mitchell’s techniques are now practiced by every large company and organization in the world. He changed everything.
But Arnold Mitchell and his amazing book are forgotten. How could that happen?
My hunch is that his original analysis made those corporate clients very nervous.
Mitchell identified the key weakness in their plans for dominance, and showed how social control methods of all sorts could be halted. And would be halted.
You need to understand that even if Mitchell wore a suit and tie and worked for corporate leaders, he really wasn’t one them. He had a very different outlook.
He is the counterculture guru that time forgot.
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So I’m not surprised that the people at the think tank changed Mitchell’s predictive model soon after his death in 1985—to get rid of the dangerous part.
His research disappeared from view. His book went out of print. I stopped hearing Mitchell’s name, even from marketing experts. It was almost if he had never existed.
If you try to learn about his project today, you’re likely to be told something significantly different from what Mitchell discovered.
“This analysis had a dangerous aspect to it—something nobody recognized at first.”
As soon as you know the reasons, you will start to understand why you’ve never heard about any of this before.
Even better, you will also have a powerful tool for predicting the future, and maybe even enhancing your own life. That’s Mitchell’s lasting legacy.
This is a very important story. And nobody has told it until now.