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on 5 September 2015
As a 50 year old with two GenMe sons, and an employer of younger people, this was a fascinating insight into generational differences. The findings of the book are not mere speculation. They are based on years of extremely detailed research by Professor Twenge and her PhD students, which constitutes the largest study of generational differences in history. The results are especially interesting because all the subjects were the same age when they completed the various surveys on which the research is based, over a period of time from the 1950s to the present day. The findings explain many of the puzzling behaviours of the current generation, and the narrative provides useful advice for people of all ages on how to understand what's going on and how to deal with it. Whilst primarily focused on America, the phenomena described by the author are equally applicable in the UK and, no doubt, other Western nations. The book is an easy read, although perhaps some of the statistics could have been put in the notes rather than the main text, and towards the end the author starts to repeat herself somewhat. Notwithstanding that, this book is highly recommended to anyone who wants to better understand why the attitudes and behaviours of young people today differ so markedly from previous generations.
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As many of other reviewers have pointed out, this is an interesting book with a good premise, but ultimately frustrating and full of shortcomings. The basic premise of the book, that the recent generation of people is more self-centered and self-confident, is well argued in the first few chapters of the book, with plenty of empirical evidence and detailed statistical analysis. If book had focused on those claims and chapters, it would have been very convincing and interesting. Unfortunately, Twenge takes off after that in all sorts of directions, talking about all the ways that the culture and society have changed in the past couple of decades. Some of that stuff is interesting, some of it is rather trite and familiar to anyone who has not been living under a rock over that time period. The book loses focus, and never recovers to the quality of the earlier chapters. This could have been a much better book had the author focused on a much narrower set of issues. This way, it still makes for an interesting read, but not something I would necessarily go out of my way to recommend others.
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on 23 March 2007
Todays youth seems selfish, rude and completely focused on themselves and material things. Why does today's youth have so much but feel so bad? Depression and suicide flourishes like never before which seems very contradictory in a time where we can seemingly have it all. So why are young people so miserable? This books explains brilliantly why the generations born in the late 70's, 80's, and 90's are maybe not so furtunate as it seems and may not have all the opportunities their parents wished for them.

The books provides deep inside into today's world and how young people came to be what they are today. Even if it is written with focus on young Americans, it can easily be applied to the European youth as well.

I was born in 1974 and can easily recognize many of the problems this books describe.
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on 2 June 2013
Jean Twenge manages to give across a rock solid argument for why some youngsters feel they are so 'entitled'. For additional reading please see Carol Craig.

Perhaps whats needed here is failure in school? Failure, early on in a secure environment to build up children's resilience?

Our children are failing to learn because they haven't learnt how to fail. They are more confident, more individual and more vulnerable than they ever have been. When they don't know what to do, they crumble. Do they have the resilience necessary to secure the job or career they want? They are labeled as bright, dim, clever or stupid at younger and younger ages. The IQ test continues to be the basis for the 11+ exam in the UK and is over 100 years old. Can you imagine if medicine, technology or science still used instruments and measurements from 100 years ago?

Can we reverse this? I think we can. I introduce the theory of positive and negative failure. Positive failure in its simplest form is a dose of failure that is similar to a vaccination process. The process of vaccination is not pleasant. I argue that the theory of positive failure mirrors the patterns of Edward Genner's smallpox vaccine and functions within the same paradigm.

In a world of mandatory success, I argue that success can breed contempt and positive failure breeds progression. To distinguish between the two types of failure, I offer this definition:

Positive failure: is failure after appropriate investment that leads to further learning or development.

Negative failure: is failure after inappropriate investment that stunts further progress or development.

Conducive to positive failure are appropriately supportive and forgiving relationships in an unforgiving environment. The more realistic and tangible the challenge or standard, the more likely it is for positive failure to occur.

I argue that negative failure adversely effects self-esteem and resilience. Positive failure does not adversely affect self-esteem, but strengthens and builds it. For positive failure to yield the best results, I suggest the following preconditions are important.

Pre-conditions for positive failure: acceptance of ones own vulnerability, having a growth mindset and embracing imperfection.

Pre-conditions for negative failure: defiance of ones own vulnerability, having a fixed mindset and embracing perfectionism.

Rather than trying to live up to a perfectionalist idea of yourself, which is projected by someone else, why not embrace our own strengths, our own failures and our own weaknesses. I encourage us to see failure as a gift, as an irreplaceable source of laughter, art, individuality, creativity and change.

@Alastair_Arnott Positive Failure
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on 18 January 2013
I come across people of "Generation Me" all the time. Mostly I find that they have learnt a lot of theory and had little or no practical experience of what I call "THE REAL WORLD".
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on 21 January 2015
good service! Fast postage and good quality item for 2nd hand! Thanks
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