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The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Nowby Meg Jay
Synopses & Reviews
Our "thirty-is-the-new-twenty" culture tells us the twentysomething years don't matter. Some say they are a second adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood.
Drawing from a decade of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, The Defining Decade weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood-if we use the time wisely.
The Defining Decade is a smart, compassionate and constructive book about the years we cannot afford to miss.
"Any recent college grad mired in a quarter-life crisis or merely dazed by the freedom of post-collegiate existence should consider it required reading." Slate.com, Staff Pick
"Meg Jay takes the specific complaints of twenty something life and puts them to diagnostic use." New Yorker
"The professional and personal angst of directionless twentysomethings is given a voice and some sober counsel in this engaging guide. While Jay maintains that facing difficulties in one's 20s 'is a jarring — but efficient and often necessary — way to grow,' the author is sincere and sympathetic, making this well-researched mix of generational sociology, psychotherapy, career counseling, and relationship advice a practical treatise for a much-maligned demographic." Publishers Weekly
"A clinical psychologist issues a four-alarm call for the 50 million 20-somethings in America....A cogent argument for growing up and a handy guidebook on how to get there." Kirkus Reviews
"Excellently written, this book is sensitive to the emotional life of twentysomethings." Library Journal
The world’s leading authority on adolescence presents original new research that explains, as no one has before, how this stage of life has changed and how to steer teenagers through its risks and toward its rewards.
Over the past few decades, adolescence has lengthened, and this stage of life now lasts longer than ever. Recent research has shown that the adolescent brain is surprisingly malleable, making it a crucial time of life for determining a person’s future success and happiness. In Age of Opportunity, the world-renowned expert on adolescence Laurence Steinberg draws on this trove of fresh evidence—including his own groundbreaking research—to explain the teenage brain’s capacity for change and to offer new strategies for instilling resilience, self-control, and other beneficial traits. By showing how new discoveries about adolescence must change the way we raise, teach, and treat young people, Steinberg provides a myth-shattering guide for parents, educators, and anyone else who cares about adolescents.
“Simply the best book I have ever read about adolescence. . . With gentle wisdom, Steinberg guides us through truly novel findings on what happens during adolescence and tells us how, as parents and teachers, we should change our ways.” — Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph. D., author of The Optimistic Child
“If you need to understand adolescents—whether your own or anyone else’s—you must read this book . . . Steinberg explains why most of our presumptions about adolescence are dead wrong and reveals the truth about this exciting and unnerving stage of life.”—Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun
“A fascinating book [that] parents and teachers ought to read.”—Atlanta Journal Constitution
“This book belongs on the shelf of every parent, teacher, youth worker, counselor, judge—heck, anyone interested in pre-teens and teenagers.”—David Walsh, Ph.D., author of Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen
A leading authority draws on new research to explain why the adolescent years are so developmentally crucial, and what we must do to raise happier, more successful kids.
Adolescence now lasts longer than ever before. And as world-renowned expert on adolescent psychology Dr. Laurence Steinberg argues, this makes these years the key period in determining individuals’ life outcomes, demanding that we change the way we parent, educate, and understand young people.
In Age of Opportunity, Steinberg leads readers through a host of new findings — including groundbreaking original research — that reveal what the new timetable of adolescence means for parenting 13-year-olds (who may look more mature than they really are) versus 20-somethings (who may not be floundering even when it looks like they are). He also explains how the plasticity of the adolescent brain, rivaling that of years 0 through 3, suggests new strategies for instilling self-control during the teenage years. Packed with useful knowledge, Age of Opportunity is a sweeping book in the tradition of Reviving Ophelia, and an essential guide for parents and educators of teenagers.
About the Author
Meg Jay, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in adult development, and twentysomethings in particular. She is an assistant clinical professor at University of Virginia, and maintains a private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dr. Jay earned a doctorate in clinical psychology, and in gender studies, from University of California, Berkeley.
Table of Contents
1 Seizing the Moment 8
2 The Plastic Brain 18
3 The Longest Decade 46
4 How Adolescents Think 65
5 Protecting Adolescents from Themselves 86
6 The Importance of Self-Regulation 107
7 How Parents Can Make a Difference 125
8 Reimagining High School 141
9 Winners and Losers 164
10 Brains on Trial 182
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