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Reviews          

"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 mis-drawn 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

 

"Everyone knows that American society is changing, but no one until now has documented how the people themselves are changing. In this startling, witty, and refreshing book, a pioneering researcher explains how the very personality of the average American is different. An upbringing that featured forming rather than meeting high expectations, and feeling good before doing good, has resulted in a generation with the highest self-esteem on record-and the highest rates of depression. 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. Americans should read this book and ponder whether we should raise the next generation on unrealistic hopes, undisciplined self-assertion, and endless, baseless self-congratulation."

— Roy F. Baumeister, author of The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life
and Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology, Florida State University

 

"Jean Twenge is not only dedicated as a researcher and social scientist, but she is clearly passionate about it. In this forward-thinking and 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

 

"Dr. Jean 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., Yale University professor and author of Women Who Think Too Much

 

"Jean Twenge has the intelligence and courage to voice a concern that is in the minds of all today's parents. If you want your child to succeed in today's world, read this book."

— Mona Lisa Schulz, MD, Ph.D., author of The New Feminine Brain

Editorial Reviews

Booklist review

A new book tackles the 18-to-35-year-old generation's problems — those they face and those they create. Twenge's book is comprehensive and scholarly, filled with statistics and thoughtful observations about the group she's dubbed Generation Me. These young people were raised with the idea of self-esteem being more important than achievement, which has caused them to place the self above all else. Such beliefs also have created a generation of young people who believe every dream is attainable but who aren't prepared to deal with discovering it isn't so. Twenge notes that today's young parents are especially lenient with their children and reluctant to discipline them, suggesting that perhaps the next generation will be even worse off. Twenge believes Generation Me would benefit from a heavy dose of realism. Accessible and a must-read for the generation they address.

— Kristine Huntley Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Library Journal review

In this breezy, insightful sociological analysis of Generation Me, San Diego State University psychologist Twenge — herself a member of the cohort born between the 1970s and 1990s — explains all from the inside out. Sociocultural reasons account for the differences between boomers and their progeny. Principally, she attributes the apparent narcissism of Gen Me to the self-esteem movement of the past 20 years: parents and schools have sacrificed rigor for good feelings. Thus, Gen Me, with its "you can be anything you want to be" mantra, is accustomed to receiving rewards divorced from actual accomplishment, which promotes a sense of entitlement that is a grave disservice in the real world of work. With heightened expectations, young people become anxious and depressed when they discover that life isn't what they were promised. And in today's inflated housing market, Gen Me abandons hope of achieving financial independence, much less success. This book is reminiscent of boomer books like Jerry Rubin's Growing Up at Thirty-Seven. Recommended for large public libraries and university collections.

— Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA

Publishers Weekly review

In their 2000 book, Millennials Rising, Neil Howe and William Straus argued that children born after 1982 will grow up to become America's next Greatest Generation — filled with a sense of optimism and civic duty — but according to San Diego State psychology professor Twenge, such predictions are wishful thinking. Lumping together Gen-X and Y under the moniker "GenMe," Twenge argues that those born after 1970 are more self-centered, more disrespectful of authority and more depressed than ever before. When the United States started the war in Iraq, she points out, military enlistments went down, not up. (Born in 1971, Twenge herself is at the edge of the Me Generation.) Her book is livened with analysis of films, magazines and TV shows, and with anecdotal stories from her life and others'. The real basis of her argument, however, lies in her 14 years of research comparing the results of personality tests given to boomers when they were under 30 and those given to GenMe-ers today. Though Twenge's opinionated asides may occasionally set Gen-X and -Yers' teeth on edge, many of her findings are fascinating. And her call to "ditch the self-esteem movement" in favor of education programs that encourage empathy and real accomplishment could spare some Me-ers from the depression that often occurs when they hit the realities of today's increasingly competitive workplace.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

One final review...

A very thorough and interesting eopinions review (opens in a new window)