Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Jean Twenge is not only dedicated as a researcher and social scientist, she is clearly passionate about it. In this forward-thinking, clear-eyed book, she immediately stands out as a social critic of substance, in a world of dogmatic and chattering media pundits who are only guessing when they are 'covering' major social trends and generational changes."
-- Paula Kamen, author of Feminist Fatale and Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution
"An informed, rollicking look at the epidemic narcissism, illusory optimism, and anxiety and depression of today's younger Americans. Compelling reading, Generation Me
has all the makings of a culturally significant, major book. It's provocative. It speaks to many parents' concerns. It reveals the benefits and costs of America's radical individualism. It has the potential to be what The Greening of America, Future Shock,
and other such books have been for previous generations. Rooted in science and rich in anecdotes, Generation Me
is marvelously written with a sparkling humor."
-- David G. Myers, author of The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty
"Those vague hunches we have about this generation -- Twenge does a huge, decidedly un-GenX amount of research and replaces them with actual data. Her writing is lucid and entertaining, and she's unafraid to draw bold conclusions when necessary. It's nothing new for a generation to be misunderstood by popular and commercial culture, but the one she describes has been misdrawn to the point of absurdity; refreshing, then, to have someone swap those persistent old myths for thoughtful, careful observations."
-- Chris Colin, author of What Really Happened to the Class of '93: Start-ups, Dropouts, and Other Navigations Through an Untidy Decade
"In this startling, witty, and refreshing book, a pioneering researcher explains how the very personality of the average American is different....Based on careful, groundbreaking research, but filled with touching and amusing stories, this book explains exactly how the American character is changing and evolving, sometimes for the better, sometimes not."
-- Roy F. Baumeister, author of The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life and Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology, Florida State University
"Dr. Twenge provides an insightful analysis of the young adults she labels 'GenMe' -- their supreme self-confidence in their own worth, their concern with doing things 'their way,' and the benefits and costs that come from their focus on themselves. Twenge draws upon her outstanding research to describe generational differences and their sources, lending an authority to her analysis that few previous commentators on GenMe have enjoyed."
-- Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., professor, Yale University, and author of Women Who Think Too Much
About the Author
Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., is a widely published associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University. Her research has appeared in Time, USA Today, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on Today and Dateline and National Public Radio's All Things Considered. She holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. Dr. Twenge lives with her husband in San Diego, California.
Table of Contents
1 You Don't Need Their Approval: The Decline of Social Rules
2 An Army of One: Me
3 You Can Be Anything You Want to Be
4 The Age of Anxiety (and Depression, and Loneliness): Generation Stressed
5 Yeah, Right: The Belief That There's No Point in Trying
6 Sex: Generation Prude Meets Generation Crude
7 The Equality Revolution: Minorities, Women, and Gays and Lesbians
8 Applying Our Knowledge: The Future of Business and the Future of the Young