FOR HARRY S. DENT JR., DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY. And in The Roaring 2000s, No.5 on this month's best-seller list, he says we're on the edge of the greatest burst of prosperity in human history. What's behind the boom? The boomers.

That generation, he says, is moving into its years of peak productivity, earning, and spending, detonating an explosion of affluence. New technologies will compound the gains. And adding to the excitement, ''the Internet Age'' will see old corporate forms blown away by more responsive ''network organizations.'' In these, ''front-line human browser teams'' will connect customers with ''specialized products and experts.''

Hot stuff, huh? Most readers will find Dent's effort unoriginal and overstated. Much of his demographic analysis, for example, centers on a supposed contrast between an innovative ''Henry Ford generation'' of the 1920s and the conformist, 1950s ''Bob Hope generation,'' a group best suited for institution-building. There are lots of unsourced charts and graphs to amuse and confuse.

Dent concludes with a chapter of ''investment strategies for The Roaring 2000s.'' A sampling: ''Save at least 10% of your pretax income'' and ''mutual funds are the best vehicle for most.'' Whaaa? Is that the best way to approach ''a Dow that will reach at least 21,500 and likely higher''? I mean, who does Dent think he's talking to--the Bob Hope generation?


1 THE 9 STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM by Suze Orman (Crown $23) Practical and ''spiritual'' steps for managing money.

2 THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR by Thomas J. Stanley, PhD, and William D. Danko, PhD (Longstreet Press $22) The penny-pinchers shall inherit the earth.

3 THE GORILLA GAME by Geoffrey A. Moore, Paul Johnson, and Tom Kippola (HarperBusiness $26) Spotting high-tech stocks that dominate their market niches.

4 DIE BROKE by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine (HarperBusiness $25) Forget about the will--and the conventional wisdom, says a financial adviser.

5 THE ROARING 2000S by Harry S. Dent Jr. (Simon & Schuster $25) The good times keep on rollin'.

6 BLUR by Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer. (Addison-Wesley $25) Finding focus in a world of constant change.

7 SELLING THE INVISIBLE by Harry Beckwith (Warner $15) A collection of bite-size lessons on marketing.

8 HOW TO RETIRE RICH by James O'Shaughnessy (Broadway $25) Number-crunching your way to the golden years.

9 REACH FOR THE SUMMIT by Pat Summitt with Sally Jenkins (Broadway $25) Drills for success from the coach of the University of Tennessee's Lady Vols.

10 WALL STREET MONEY MACHINE by Wade B. Cook (Lighthouse Publishing $24.95) A former cab driver's formulas for striking it rich.

11 JACK WELCH SPEAKS by Janet Lowe (Wiley $16.95) Quotes from GE's man, culled from speeches, news stories, and his own writings.

12 BUFFETTOLOGY by Mary Buffett and David Clark (Scribner $27.50) An ex-daughter-in-law's take on Buffett's techniques.

13 FINANCIAL PEACE by Dave Ramsey (Viking $21.95) Getting out of debt--for good.

14 YOU HAVE MORE THAN YOU THINK by David and Tom Gardner (Simon & Schuster $25) Help for the investment-challenged.

15 I'D LIKE THE WORLD TO BUY A COKE by David Greising (Wiley $24.95) The life and career of the late Coca-Cola CEO, Roberto Goizueta.


1 THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey (Fireside $12) Habitually popular.

2 THE MOTLEY FOOL INVESTMENT GUIDE by David and Tom Gardner (Fireside $12) The online duo puts it on paper.

3 SUCCESS IS A CHOICE by Rick Pitino with Bill Reynolds (Broadway $13) Coach says work harder, harder!

4 THE 1998 WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? by Richard Nelson Bolles (Ten Speed Press $16.95) The enduring job-search bible.

5 THE MOTLEY FOOL INVESTMENT WORKBOOK by David and Tom Gardner (Fireside $12) ''So where do I find stocks?'' and other queries, asked and answered.

6 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING MONEY AND INVESTING by Kenneth M. Morris and Alan M. Siegel (Fireside $13.95) Concise explanations enriched with graphics.

7 INVESTING FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson, MBA (IDG Books $19.95) From stocks to small business--with cartoons, too.

8 BARRON'S DICTIONARY OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT TERMS by John Downes and Jordan Elliot Goodman (Barron's $11.95) What is an oligopsony anyway?

9 THE ERNST & YOUNG TAX GUIDE 1998 by the Tax Partners and Professionals of Ernst & Young LLP (Wiley $15.95) Time's up, folks.

10 BUILT TO LAST by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras (HarperBusiness $14) How 3M, Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, and others became standouts.

11 PERSONAL FINANCE FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson (IDG Books $19.95) Lighthearted primer.

12 YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (Penguin $11.95) To achieve financial independence, restructure your life.

13 GETTING TO YES by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton (Penguin $11.95) A Harvard team's step-by-step guide to conflict resolution.

14 THE PRINCESSA by Harriet Rubin (Dell $9.95) Rules for women's success, demonstrated by heroines past and present.

15 HOME BUYING FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown (IDG Books $16.99) Getting your dream house.

BUSINESS WEEK's Best-Seller List is based on a survey of chain and independent booksellers that carry a broad selection of books on economics, management, sales and marketing, small business, investing, personal finance, and careers. Well over 1,000 retail outlets nationwide are represented. Current rankings are based on a weighted analysis of unit sales in April.

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Updated May 21, 1998 by bwwebmaster
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