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"The Associated Press calls them "The Entitlement Generation," and they are storming into schools, colleges, and businesses all over the country. They are today's young people, a new generation with sky-high expectations and a need for constant praise and fulfillment. In this provocative new book, headline-making psychologist and social commentator Dr. Jean Twenge documents the self-focus of what she calls "Generation Me" -- people born in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Herself a member of Generation Me, Dr. Twenge explores why her generation is tolerant, confident, open-minded, and ambitious but also cynical, depressed, lonely, and anxious. Using findings from the largest intergenerational study ever conducted -- with data from 1.3 million respondents spanning six decades -- Dr. Twenge reveals how profoundly different today's young adults are -- and makes controversial predictions about what the future holds for them and society as a whole. But Dr. Twenge doesn't just talk statistics -- she highlights real-life people and stories and vividly brings to life the hopes and dreams, disappointments and challenges of Generation Me. With a good deal of irony, humor, and sympathy she demonstrates that today's young people have been raised to aim for the stars at a time when it is more difficult than ever to get into college, find a good job, and afford a house -- even with two incomes. GenMe's expectations have been raised just as the world is becoming more competitive, creating an enormous clash between expectations and reality. Dr. Twenge also presents the often-shocking truths about her generation's dramatically different sexual behavior and mores. GenMe has created a profound shift in the American character, changing what it means to be an individual in today's society. Engaging, controversial, prescriptive, and often funny, Generation Me will give Boomers new insight into their offspring, and help GenMe'ers in their teens, 20s, and 30s finally make sense of themselves and their goals and find their road to happiness. "
- Excellent Missive
This book provides fabulous insights into Generation Y (aka Gen "me"). As a supervisor I find Jean Twenge's missive to be well documented, and extremeley helpful in understanding some of my employees and their incessant(and yes, overwhelming) need for constant attention. Would highly recommend....more info
I find myself quoting this book to people and recommending it to just about everyone. Though the author can get a little redundant and caught up in statistics, if you're interested in human behavior, you might want to check this book out....more info
- Powerful Book! Highly Recommend it.
I read this book in one setting. I couldn't put it down. Mrs. Twenge is a brave woman. She writes with such clarity on the state of Generation Me, of which I belong to. She goes to great lengths to document the differences between our generation and the generations before us. A must-read!...more info
- Any person involved in ministry must read this book!!!
I am a pastor to young adults (ages 18-35) at a large church in California and I was introduced to this book a few months ago. It really hit home with the trends I was noticing in most of the young adults I was working with (myself included) at our church, and other pastors agreed. I especially appreciated the commentary on the Christian obsession with the self.
I enjoyed the book so much we decided to do an 8-week sermon series in which we're discussing the trends of the Gen Me culture and then reflecting on what Scripture has to say, mostly in contrast to the self focused message of the last 35 years (Jesus - "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)).
Twenge's book is brilliantly, blunt research which I've found to be extremely useful to churches, who are as much in the sociological field as they are the theological one in an ever-changing culture.
- To Hell
American society is going to hell and this book details it's DESCENT to this destination (loaded with a variety of statistics [directions] that lead down this path).
PLUS, it's about the same price NEW as USED. You can't beat that....more info
- Decent read, a little Stats heavy
I liked this book and found it an easy read. It's a subject that we all need to pay more attention to and discuss. I found it a bit heavy on the statistics, but that is the field the author works in... Apart from the good explanations and research to backup her theories, the good doctor presents her case clearly and logically (almost redundantly, due to overwhelming research), but in a straightforwad manner. The book could have used one more edit, it needed to be more succint. However, I got a great deal out of it and I recommend reading it to anyone interested in understanding why the Gen X and Gen Y folks are so stuck, upset and demanding of entitlement. It presents no solutions or politicized suggestions, but rather a survey of FACTS. I applaud it's neutral stance, but it did leave me wondering what the projection of future events might be, after all, why else study statistics?...more info
- If you teach anything today
If you teach anything in today's world, you better read this book. You'll be amazed at what background you are missing - why young people act the way they do....more info
I loved this book. I found it to be well-researched and well-written. I even exclaimed "right on" a few times while reading it. the only reason I gave it 4 starts instead of 5 is because I dont think she understands evangelical Christians. Yes, God loves us as we are. But we are also flawed and sinful and weak and Christianity, the way it is meant to be practiced, has self-sacrifice, hard-work, good morals and ethics as priorities. it also denounces materialism and laziness. Christians, that truly follow Jesus, live in a way that she would approve. Volunteerism, donating money-time-resources, thinking of others before yourself, lending a hand to those who need it, etc etc....more info
- Important, although inevitably flawed
"Physician, heal thyself." While this book is based on an impressive volume of research, it is written by a member of the group it purports to analyze. The author limited herself to investigating only the opinions of members of the GenMe generation, which is a perfectly legitimate scope for a single piece of research.
But then she goes on to make sweeping generalizations and recommendations based on that limited perspective, without looking outside of her own house of mirrors for validation or guidance. In this regard, she's a product of her own narcissistic generation, obviously, so it should come as no surprise that she clearly models some of the very traits that she bemoans in her peers.
Read this, but consider the source....more info
- insightful and accessible
This book was most helpful. Written by a PhD, you don't need one to understand it and still there is plenty of information rather than fluff.
- Great Book
If you want to know more about a generation & how to deal with this one, BUY THIS BOOK! She does a great job of explaining issues and citing facts with sarcasm, it's a wonderful read....more info
- Roadblock to the Self Esteem Generation
This was a very good book that I can recommend to anyone. My background is in psychology and I found this text refreashingly free of the psychological jargon you would find in similar books. It is a very easy read that I would recommend to anyone that must work with, manage, or motivate "Generation Me".
The basic premise of this book is that our society's overemphasis of enhancing/protecting every child's self esteem at any cost has created a generation of narcisistic children that will have a difficult time in the real world; the real world not giving a damn about how someone feels about themself or how they feel they did, but rather what can they do or how do they really perform.
The author recommends most of our self esteem programs be trashed or at least seriously examined for what value they have, if any. One develops self esteem by doing and succeeding, and this seems to have been lost somewhere along the way.
This is a good book that I read in two days while on vacation. Again, I highly recommend it....more info
- A Boomer's Self-Fulfilling Perspective
I come from a marketing background, and have seen hundreds of books and reports such as this one which claim that this generation is much more confident and entitled etc and should therefore be branded with the name "generation Me."
While there is some truth to this, and the book bears it out through reliable studies .... it might interest the reader to know that the original Generation ME was the Boomers in the 70s (they were called this for several years in the media). That is the generation which has doubled the spa industry's income every 3-4 years, the generation that invented cosmetic dentistry, fast food, cheap chinese toys, stoner culture, "I deserve it," the self-help empire and the general right to focus on on themselves and their well-being.
When a human looks at a dog, we can't help but see a human-like face in the dog; we pick up on those traits that resemble ourselves. That is the case here: boomers see the fruits of their spoiled lifestyles of excess reflected in their children and in their world. Boomers have discovered a new way to become mistrustful on their long slide into dotage.
Lastly, I hope it is noted somewhere that the very constancy of the Rosenberg studies (which the author hides behind like a shield whenever a question is asked of her) calls its results into question. Using the same words and questions to describe emotions or states of self-assesment usually lends a study strong credibility. In this case, the 50 years which have passed have seen an enormous shift in the way we all (thanks to the boomers) describe psychological states, psychological problems and self-assess. From positive visualization techniques to Prozac advertising to hyperbolic vacation/spa advertising, the bar for happiness has been set a lot higher ... and the new generation uses the words of today's culture to describe themselves. Today, you're mal-adjusted if you feel anything less than "great." It's no wonder children and teens are rating themselves higher on tests written in the 50s. Their parents generally don't accept any answer reflecting low self-esteem in these children's daily lives. Given the dramatic change in culture and self-assesment, how could the questions in the Rosenberg test mean the same thing 50 years later?...more info
- Fine book but doesn't account for some major factors
In and of itself this is a excellent source of clarity when one is trying to make sense of the Y generation. They aren't the easiest age cohort to understand or make sense of, in terms of thought processes, motivational factors, developmental forces, values, tastes, needs, or social drives. This often leaves the baby boom generation somewhat baffled by their seeming opacity. After a second reading of Generation Me, with extensive underlining and reflective contemplation, I think I'm beginning to get what makes them tick, and that's a valuable thing.
However, we are perhaps only now gaining an appreciation, and with that a sobering trepidation, of how powerfully medicated a generation the Y people are. This additional factor is all to easy to downplay or overlook, yet a high percentage of younger adults and adolescents are being medicated with strong mood altering medicines. Often these medicines are given for behaviors that would appear to be well within the envelope of adolescent normality 30 years ago, but today are framed as disruptive or antisocial. In my opinion, this is an exceedingly unhealthy trend as we develop institutional habits of "grinding off" any rough edges with pharmaceuticals, leaving nothing but a monotone consensus culture in their wake. Is this the collective form of life we truly desire ? Or have we been merely seduced by the low cost of medicating the young instead of alowing them to work through the discovery process of a rich, varied life experience ?
The second factor which is shaping the young of today is the legacy of the human potential movement, cults, and large group seminars which sought near instantaneous, collective Satori experiences and discounted the long, slow, saturnine process of becoming a fully formed human. We bought into this model of empowerment without reflection, much as we bought into the model that most problems with the mind were problems of chemistry.
In my opinion, it is the dual legacy which is very much derived from Baby Boom lifestyle and attitude, mind medicine and pop psychology, which has had a deep and woeful impact on the life arc of young people today.
I wish the author had devoted a thorough analysis of the origins and impacts of medicalization and psychologizing of the young....more info
- Great book...clearly relevant to today's young people
Generation 'Me'" was without a doubt a well put, thought provoking, and entertaining book to read. I think this book goes clearly into the heart of the matter with today's young people, who have high expectations starting out, and demand the world at 25. As a member of Generation 'Me' and Generation 'Y' (born in 1978), I have seen this first-hand. People just graduating from college believing they "deserve" $50K+ even in fields that historically do not really pay, managerial/director roles within months of starting a job, and at the same time, a great social life and lots of "stuff". It's not everyone, of course...it's only a minority, but the trend has been accelerating in recent years.
The only thing that I question is the notion that people born in the early 70s and even mid 70s have this sense of "entitlement" and self-confidence. The Gen 'X' segment of Gen 'Me' grew up in a time of great uncertainty and the least child-friendly period in history (70s and early 80s). So while Twenge says that her cohorts are the most "wanted" children in history, most statistics beg to differ...a large percentage (not all, of course, but a significant number) of parents were, at best, indifferent towards their kids, and at worst, negligent. So while there may be a sense of "entitlement" among early 30-somethings, it may be more because they're "survivors" of their times rather than naturally feeling "wanted" all their lives. So maybe one could make the case for different "waves" of Gen 'Me'.
All in all, a great book, and highly recommended....more info
- Talking about my generation
I ordered this from Amazon, a baby boomer read it, he informed me (and I believe him) that this book is good, but it is general enough to describe any generational issues. I polled a stranger on a plane ride to Denver, and we both found the final chapter (with essence of "peace begins from within") to be the most interesting part.
As an avid reader of social commentary, I have recommended this to many. I also *think* that I am one of the first documented as "narcissistic" so of course identify fully with that chapter for one.
Definitely fodder for a great conversation, and something to unite generations...I like to think GenMe has the motto of "choose your own crisis" but then again, that's spoken from a GenXer :)
- I thought it was going to be good....but....
I was very excited to read this book after perusing all of the positive reviews on Amazon and other sites. As I began the book, it did not disappoint. The author seemed to have a real insight into generational differences, and had fantastic research to back up many of her points.
While it was presented well, her foundational assertions are incorrect. To combine people born in the early 70s with those born in the 90s is fundamentally flawed on so many levels that it is hardly worth discussing. The research dividing post 1964 generations into gen x and generation next or gen y is far more compelling and in much more abundance than anything presented in this text. Her explanation of why her definitions are superior to these is woefully inadequate.
While the beginning of the book is made up of one insight after another backed up by some quality and unique research. The rest of the book is one point of hearsay after another backed up by quotes from Dawson's Creek and Teen magazines. Seriously! I was shocked that a supposed academic would use dialogue from a television show as insight into a generation, and then have the audacity to call it "research". She would actually use fictional television dialogue to lend support to her analysis. If she hoped to define a generation, a lot more is needed than pop culture references.
The final part of the book I will address is the recommendations section at the very end of the book. She recommends the government create national childcare, expand public school to 3 and 4 year olds, and change school hours. What does this have to do with her topic??? Nothing!!! Where did this come from? The only connection to her text is her complaints about the high cost of living. Let us look into those complaints a little while we are on the topic. She complains that the cost of living is so high in highly desirable metropolitan areas that young people out of college cannot afford to live there on one salary, and that women have to work to afford this type of housing. You mean to tell me that we live in a society where those straight out of college cannot buy into the most desirable 2% of the housing market in this country. What a tragedy. Does she realize that the starting salary of a college graduate could afford to put the roof over the heads of a spouse and children in every county in this country? It may not be the nice housing in San Diego that she seems to see as minimally acceptable, but it is housing. She describes her generation as being one of entitlement, and then goes on to unknowingly prove it through her asinine series of recommendations at the end of the text.
- From a Middle School Teacher
Excellent read addressing issues of the teens today. As a teacher of 11-14 year olds and being in my 20s, I identify with this book on almost all levels. I also find myself quoting this and recommending to everyone. It's definitely being a Christmas gift for some colleagues and family members this year!...more info
- A wonderful book, richly researched and full of insights
Jean Twenge's "Generation Me" will become a classic of the first decaded of the 21st Century, up there with Faith Popcorn's "Report" in the last decade.
Dr. Twenge weaves thorough research, wide reading and popular culture (advertisements and comic strips) to make her case in a book that is hard to put down. She has a rattling good narrative style and the book is a delight to read.
Her thesis is that in a culture where everyone has been raised to believe they are "special" reality really bites. Dr. Twenge then moves beyond the simple observation of the current narcisistic culture with some recommendations for members of the generation, parents and professionals who deal with "Me" members.
Absolutely the best book in its field of 2006 and probably of the decade....more info
- This book is superb
I am a teacher. Reading this book was invaluable to me. Dr. Twenge's book, more than any other book, has helped me understand the values of the people I teach. Dr. Twenge's book also provides a fascinating statement about our American society. I think that some of the generational trends are laudable (e.g., a movement away from prejudice). However, if this push towards self-absorption continues, I worry about the shape of the future. Thank you Dr. Twenge for writing such an entertaining and enlightening book....more info
- Everyone needs to read this book!
A reviewer, college professor., May 9, 2008,
Everyone needs to read this book!
I used this book as a textbook in my college research class. My students could not stop talking about it. Very well researched and well written, it is an interesting read as well. My students told me that this was not only one book that they would not be 'selling back to the bookstore', but that they would be leaving it 'around' for their parents to read.
- Feisty prose from an innovative researcher
As someone who teaches and does research on adolescence and young adulthood (at Texas Tech University), and is always eager to read something by a fellow Wolverine (i.e., a University of Michigan grad), I really looked forward to reading Generation Me. Now, having finished the book, I would say my expectations were largely fulfilled.
Dr. Twenge has developed a very successful line of research where, for whatever personality trait she happens to be studying at a given time (e.g., assertiveness or anxiety), she tracks down all available studies where the same questionnaire measure of the trait has been administered to college students, in articles published over the past three or four decades. With the measurement instrument and population (college students) held constant over time, she can thus uncover generational change in the traits she studies. The book reports the results of these investigations, non-technically for a general audience.
What she finds is that "Generation Me" (defined as people born in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s) exceeds earlier generations on narcissism, self-esteem, and the other traits mentioned above. As Twenge notes, whereas the Baby Boom generation "took only the first tentative steps in the direction of self-focus" (p. 48), GenMe has taken things to a new level.
In addition to the comparison of different generations, the book is valuable also for its in-depth examination of GenMe, per se. Readers familiar with other terms and concepts in the study of the contemporary transition to adulthood -- such as Emerging Adulthood or Quarterlife Crisis -- will likely find GenMe to complement these other lines of research.
Her writing style is quite unique, especially for an academic. It is, in various places, acerbic, humorous, feisty, and earthy. She refers to one particular media report about marriage trends as "unmitigated [...]" (p. 200).
As an academic writing for a general audience, Dr. Twenge must strike a balance between scientific detail in reporting her studies and colorful storytelling. The anecdotes she reports are colorful, all right, such as the $8,000 prom dress discussed in the section on materialism and GenMe's sense of entitlement. I found this, and other examples, to be a bit extreme, although Dr. Twenge has more systematic data to back up her points.
I would have liked to have seen some graphical depictions to amplify on her summaries of her quantitative generational comparisons. For example, one could show a continuum from "very unassertive" to "very assertive," with stylized human figures varying, say, by cross-hatching or shades of grey, to depict where GenMe'ers would be located, Boomers would be located, etc.
Also, although I generally agree with Dr. Twenge that the self-esteem movement is overdone, she may be selling the value of self-esteem short. If I can paraphrase that old protest song about war, she seems to be saying, with maybe some slight overstatement on my part:
"Self Esteem. Uhh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing."
Actually, some research in the March 2006 issue of Developmental Psychology, published after GenMe would have been "put to bed," suggests that self-esteem may be good for something. The article is entitled, "Low self-esteem during adolescence predicts poor health, criminal behavior, and limited economic prospects during adulthood," by Trzesniewski and colleagues.
The bottom line for me, however, is that I found the book very engaging. I must have, in order to have thought about these issues and taken the time to write a review.
- projecting an insecurity?
This book's greatest value seems to reside mostly in the compilation of data, allowing academia to progress ahead on more than cultural assumptions. For someone who does not wait for statistics to dictate my own intuitive observations, I did not encounter one idea or assessment that was original or expanded my understanding of this "generation" or the previous one in any fundamental way. Every page I read I simply said, "Well, of course."
While statistics are important for certain realms of work, the assessor of such data is still human and prone to human biases. When the author determines that students should not be told they can be anything they want to be, perhaps she is simply reflecting a subconscious aspect of her own worldview. In my experience, many people who remain in academia from college into their professional careers without ever leaving it since they were 4 years old do so out of a psychological fear of leaving their nest and risking failure. It is logical, therefore, that such an individual would extrapolate that fear to the broader realms of society in order to satiate such insecurities. Just a theory.
There is no doubt the self-esteem movement has gone to far. That is because it has never transcended a materialist worldview. I believe the foundation of that movement lies in a fundamental scientific and spiritual truth: that all life is "God". All beings are manifestations of the God force (whether that is simply the scientific energy integrating all life or a literal god does not matter). To tell a child he or she is anything less than perfection is to deny that child his or her reality. From this perspective, one must envision the highest possible reality for themselves. Then opening oneself to receive the intuitive or whatever other guidance is provided to reach that end rises above the petty squabbles of competition and allows that child to realize his or her highest potential. Does that mean all of us can be violin prodigies? Not at all. Does it mean we can just sit back and expect the world to shower us with success? No. It takes focus and knowing when to commit to hard work. It means finding your own highest potential for yourself, not simply believing you can do anything at all.
While the self-esteem movement may be flawed and overly generous, this backlash is even more dangerous and destructive. ...more info
- Fascinating information on self-esteem
There are lots of reasons to love this book. It's a gripping account of a generation and a fascinating comparison to the preceding generations. It's also terrifically engaging and funny. My favorite section was the research on self-esteem. We all assume that building someone's self-esteem should be a priority, but Jean Twenge shows that that can have some serious negative effects. She reveals that self-esteem does not appear to protect against societal ills like alcoholism or teenage pregnancy, and it doesn't appear lead to higher grades (rather, high grades bolster self-esteem). Her section on unrealistic expectations is also valuable. Telling children they can be anything they want to be is not realistic. Jean's suggestions to parents and educators about these important issues are thoughtful, sensitive, and provocative. The book is filled with humor, interesting anecdotes, and, most importantly, high quality research. I recommend this book very much. ...more info
- Very insightful, 2 small problems
I think Dr. Twenge has very thorough research, a wonderful humor and modern slant to her writing style (I'm younger and don't even watch the O.C.), and has written a very important book that self-reflective GenMe-ers need to read. If anything, we need to examine ourselves (there we go again with the self) with a more critical eye and figure a way to not propagate some of the more negative issues to our children.
But I did have 2 problems with the book. Other reviewers commented on them, but I thought I would reiterate them.
1) Twenge really takes some of the quotes from Christian writings (Rick Warren, etc.) out of context and misses the boat. Yes, God loves us for who we are, but who we are actually is a journey (or walk) and process of improvement, growing closer to God, and understanding what our purpose is. On the other hand, there have been some books published recently (the prosperity theology JUNK) that might be better used to serve her point. Dr. Twenge, look up Joel Osteen.
2) Graphics. I agree with another reviewer that listing stat after stat is not as useful as a nice graph or chart. I'm a math teacher and have some stats background from my engineering degrees. I enjoyed reading your work, but I can see how others might appreciate a chart or graph. A picture paints a thousand words...
Overall, this is an excellent book. Oh, and it helped motivate me to write to my elected officials about the high cost of childcare. It would cost more than our mortgage to send an infant and toddler to day care on a monthly basis. Our townhouse is cheaper than daycare?? ...more info
- Worthwhile reading, but with a grain of salt
I wanted to read this book to better understand the younger people in my life, and it is of value in many ways, as dozens of other reader/ reviewers have noted.
I also agree with some of her conclusions: For example, many of today's young people seem to have a very difficult time accepting criticism, and have an exaggerated idea of their own importance and abilities.
However, there is one area of discussion that I disagree with, and that is that 'Generation Me' has it harder than previous ones. Yes, there is more competition and fewer opportunities, partially due to corporate downsizing and shipping jobs to India, etc. But at the same time, some of the competition is due to the fact that both men and women are in the mix. In earlier generations, men would have had the field more to themselves. In fact, if the author had graduated from high school when I or my mom and grandmother did, she may not have had the opportunity to enter the field of sociology as a professional, let alone have a serious book published, and if she did, fewer would have read it because she's a woman, and women weren't taken as seriously in intellectual pursuits. Women of my generation had very little career or professional opportunities, generally, and fewer people were even able to attend college. (I'm not sure there were even Pell Grants) In addition, immigrants from other countries -- then and perhaps even now -- have a much harder time 'making it' in our culture...In this particular regard, her viewpoint seems as narcisstic as she may feel these kids are....more info
- Peering Awkwardly over the Generation Gap
I read Jean Twenge's "Generation Me" as a broadside swipe at Howe and Strauss' theory that the rising Millenial generation will be a great civic generation. Instead Twenge argues that the Millenials, who she calls Generation Me, are a bunch of selfish narcissists, disengaged in the body politic, and will have their unrealistic expectations cruelly dashed by the real world, leading ultimately to a generation of depressed dysfunctional adults.
To lead off the bat, I don't buy Twenge's argument. Nevertheless, I found her book a fascinating assemblage of statistics, social science and anecdotes, based in large on the research that Twenge has conducted over the last few decades. Like any other social science book, the strength of the argument depends on crisp definitions of crucial ideas and in order to make her argument, Twenge has done something quite unusual - she has conflated what most other researchers consider two separate generations into one single generation. That is, she defines Generation Me as the cohort born from 1970 to 2000, a very long 30 year generation. Other researchers typically define Gen X as those born from 1968 to 1980, and the Millenials as those born from 1980 to 2000.
Twenge doesn't really give an explicit reason for defining GenMe as such except for a curt "it's clear that the GenX description is incomplete and misguided." But her very own argument later in the book would argue against her very own definition. The narcism that Twenge describes in GenMe is traced to the wholesale introduction of the self-esteem curricular in schools in 1980. This would immediately suggest that there is a generation gap born before 1980 (GenX) and after (Millenial). Indeed, reading the book, Twenge constantly admonishes the younger members for being self-absorbed, optimistic, painfully open about their problems and non-deferential to authority. She castigates the young for being completely different to her own remembered childhood in everything from movies, tatoos, music, sex, relationship to parents, scholastic attitudes and attitude towards authority.
Indeed, Twenge spends a great part of the book dispensing relationship advice to the young. It is apparent that Twenge believes that loneliness for a single person is the greatest danger to await the tender arms of the young. Her greatest fear is that the exaggerated sense of entitlement for the young will prevent them from finding a satisfying life with a partner. In short, Twenge is practically screaming out a generation gap between her and the kids she describes, even though they are supposed to be in the very same generation as herself.
So why did she define GenMe like that? The reason, I suspect, is that Twenge's argument about the nature of GenMe completely falls apart if the distinction between those born before 1980 and those born after are made clear. If read carefully, her statistics about GenMe being a generation of criminals, low civic engagment, and depression (compared to the previous Boomer generations) are only drawn from statistics about "the first third" of Generation Me. In other words, it is precisely Gen X who are disengaged with politics, commit more violent crimes, and suffer much greater rates of depression. But we already knew that.
Twenge's basic argument about the younger half of GenMe (those born after 1980) is that the self-esteem movement would lead to more narcism, more selfish behavior and disengagement with politics. The greater sense of entitlement would lead to greater disappointment when arriving in the adult world and thus lead to depression. Except this argument doesn't account for why those born in the 1970's (GenX) suffer these same effects without having been brought up under the self-esteem movement, but more importantly, her statistics don't support this argument.
If we take Twenge's own date of 1980 seriously, we have to consider those born after 1980 differently to those born before. Since Twenge uses the statistics of GenX'ers to describe the future of the Millenials, she has put the cart before the horse. In fact, she has even had to massage her own data to come up with this conclusion. If you read her own data carefully, you will find that the cohort classed as Gen X definitely has incredibly low voting participation and community service, but the next generation down shows a marked increase. Since this doesn't fit into Twenge's argument, she dismisses is the young kids being susceptible to lame "Get out the vote" campaigns, and argues that the increased community service is a forced-fed reaction to the school system. Her condensencion to the younger generation is particularly acute.
Indeed, in trying to argue that the Millenials, or younger half of GenMe is violent due to their greater sense of entitlement, she doesn't use any statistics but just cites the Columbine shootings and darkly suggests that the self-esteem movement has created an army of little Columbine killers. This is a shockingly poor argument.
Still, I found the assemblage of statistics from a broad range of areas stimulating to think through, and it clarified a lot of my thinking about the Millenial generation. Even though this book is in the end, one woman's misunderstanding of the widening generation gap between her and the next generation, the collection of statistics and analysis is well worth the effort in dissecting.
Twenge's analysis of the effects of the self-esteem movement is colored by her GenX values. All she sees is disaster lying in watch for the future generation. Self-esteem, she argues, leads to narcism. However, the one thing she misses is that the Millennial generation is an incredibly gregarious generation, from im, sms, summer camps, myspace. They are connected in a way that Gen X never was. The millennials maraud in groups as every narcissist needs a crowd. It is precisely this social aspect of mutually re-inforcing mountains of self-esteem that dampens the negative aspects of excessive self-esteem. It would be interesting to see a deeper analysis of how this group dynamic will play out in future years. One possibility is that the Millennials, when they hit the world in the coming years, will demand the best from society, whether through the voting booth, or community service, or changes in the workplace. I sincerely hope that they don't accept their lot as an army of temp workers and disposable mcjob components that has become Gen X. Instead of analyzing the Millenials through their worst tendencies, what would you see if you looked at their best?...more info
- Fantastic, engaging review of the generation
I thoroughlly enjoyed this book. Dr. Twenge does a great deal of research and presents it all in a non-confusing, non-overwhelming manner. It's an engaging book and gave me quite a bit to think about. I have recommended this book already half a dozen times to collegues and friends who are interested in engaging Gen-Me.
(disclosure: I'm a Gen-Me. I resonated with a lot of the book from that perspective although I originally read it to understand the younger part of the Gen-Me demographic.)...more info
- This Book is a MUST READ!!!
Jean Twenge's "Generation Me" book was a tremendous eye-opener for me, a 63 year old software engineer turned high school teacher. In my first year of teaching, I encountered so many students displaying the traits that Dr. Twenge so articulately describes. She says early on in the book that she wants her readers to understand GenMe people, not to change them (implying strongly that changing them is just not going to happen). She quotes a powerful Arab proverb which I find myself thinking about a lot since reading the book: "Men resemble the times more than they resemble their fathers." Her writing style is highly entertaining, and the information content is substantial. The wisdom that she displays in her analysis and in her superb recommendations at the end of the book belie her young age. This book should be required reading for all teachers, all parents, and, while I'm at it, just about anybody who deals with young people....more info
- Fairly scholarly
It was okay. The information in the book was good, there was just too much information. Author had a tendency to go on and on for an entire chapter what could have been summed up in a few paragraphs. I really didn't care to read about conclusions of this study conducted here or that study conducted there. If I wanted to read a text book, I would have purchased a text book. Again, it had some good information though....more info
- An enlightening perspective on current trends
I initially selected this book in hopes that I would find the answers as to why my high school students (and oftentimes their parents) were so difficult. As a second year teacher (a Gen Y'er), the education profession had certainly not been what my professors had described to me and my young colleagues in college! Yet, this clever book, which relies on a mountain of research with dashes of colorful anecdotes mixed in, not only provided amazing perspective on the attitudes of my students and their parents, but in an ironic way served as a great resource for me to understand my own difficulties in my professional career. A must read for ALL new (and relatively-new) teachers!...more info
- Filled with logical fallacies
At first glance, this book seems to make a very convincing argument. Chalk full of surveys, statistics, and testimonies by anonymous people...wait a second...
First of all, almost all evidence the author presents in this book is biased or unfair in some way. Just one example is when she says that civil lawsuits increased in this generation compared to the 1940s. So that must mean that people nowadays are whiny! Oh wait. She conveniently ignores variables such as population growth. Oh yea, and people are donating less to churches. That must mean...today's generation is cheaper and isn't as generous as previous generations! Oh wait. She doesn't acknowledge the fact that less people go to churches, we have less money now, older generations are donating less too, etc.
Not only this, but the majority of the author's evidence comes from anonymous people telling stories about how rude and misbehaved kids are nowadays, stories and people that she more than likely just made up herself. Her book is also full of logical fallacies; she uses appeal to tradition, biased samples, post hoc, hasty generalizations, confusing cause and effect, false choices, and a myriad of others. And the fact is, she does this specifically in an attempt to trick the reader, and she does it well.
I guess that's why this piece of garbage is an actual best seller.