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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Net Genner on the Net Generation
I'll admit, I didn't read this book cover to cover. I spent about 3 hours reading it, which probably means that I `read' about half and skimmed the rest. This speaks both to the book's strengths and its weaknesses. On one hand, the book is clearly organized, with three levels of subtitles within the book making skimming much more efficient. On the other hand as a member...
Published on November 28, 2008 by Quantum

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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long on description short on prescription -- good reference not a must read now
I had high expectations for this book based on Tapscott's prior work, the fact that this is based on a multi million-dollar study, and that Net Generation is coming into the workforce. I did not think that my expectations were too high, but I may be wrong, as Grown Up Digital did not deliver for me. It is long on description and short on prescription.

It's a...
Published on December 23, 2008 by Mark P. McDonald


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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long on description short on prescription -- good reference not a must read now, December 23, 2008
By 
Mark P. McDonald (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
I had high expectations for this book based on Tapscott's prior work, the fact that this is based on a multi million-dollar study, and that Net Generation is coming into the workforce. I did not think that my expectations were too high, but I may be wrong, as Grown Up Digital did not deliver for me. It is long on description and short on prescription.

It's a good book, but not one that shapes your thinking like Tapscott's Wikinomics book, nor does it break significant new ground relative to all the other books covering this subject. I put this book down several times for weeks, to read other books, so it is more of a reference than a must read.

I would recommend reading Plugged In by Tamara Erickson as I think it's a better business book, one that is more focused and more valuable to readers than Grown Up Digital. I reviewed that book as well and found some issues, but it provides a more succinct, actionable and insightful focus - which were things that I had hoped for here.

Strengths:

The book is comprehensive in its description and treatment of the Net Generation and describing this generation as a group with its own values and behaviors that will have in impact on society.

The book looks at the Net Generation from different perspectives in terms of their impact on the workplace, society, education, etc.

The book provides some brief caricatures of the net generation so they are able to speak in their own words what is going on.

Challenges:

The primary challenge is the books single dimensional view of the net generation in terms of their adoption and use of technology. It does not take into account that this group grew up under a period of relative social, political and economic stability. Nor does it consider the future of being anything but a straight-line progression of the world in 2006. The economic conditions will be definitional to this generation, but unending growth and prosperity was an assumption beneath this book.

The book treats this generation as a single block; they are all well educated, western leaning, capitalism supporting, environmentally conscious individuals. Such stereotyping does not take into account the fact that any generation is made up of diverse people, with different backgrounds, needs and ambitions. I had hoped that the breadth of Tapscotts research would have done more than paint every net generation person the same.

The book repeats itself using the same assertions as answers for the different chapters. The fact that the net generation wants choice, customization, freedom and the like are all true, but Tapscott uses choice as the answer for every problem ranging from the workplace to society. That broad brush is too simplistic.

The book fawns over the net generation believing that they can do no wrong. This is a critical challenge in the book, as Tapscott does not seem able to look at this generation from an unbiased perspective. You see this in Tapscotts' response to people who have been critical of this generation; he basically dismisses these comments or explains them away. He labels people who have a less than rosey view as nGenerationphobic -- this labeling is a bad sign not found in his other work. Tapscott has personalized the 'do no wrong" in this generation throughout the book by referring to his children as the epitome of this generation and all that it can do. That personalization limits his objectivity and colors the value of the insights.

Tapscott frequently refers to his project being `definitive on this generation' however he does not show much if any of the data from this multi-million dollar study. He does quote data from other people's studies to the degree that it supports his argument. It would have been nice to see some of the data that is so definitive.

The whole issue of the Net Generation has been the focus of Don Tapscott's work for most of his career. I was hoping for more in this book, the result of a multi-million dollar study that seeks to be definitional about this generation. I have great hopes for the Net Generation, as do we all. This book is helpful in understanding that generation, but not powerful enough to define a generation that holds the future in their hands.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good information but seriously flawed, January 8, 2009
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This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
Like "Wikinomics" before it, "Grown Up Digital" is full of interesting and relevant facts, examples and quotes. It also gave me several things to think about or to research (including shelfari.com now owned by Amazon).

For example, I liked the 8 "net generation norms" - freedom, customization, scrutiny, integrity, collaboration, entertainment, speed and innovation - and how they're applied to various topics throughout the book including the workplace and consumerism. These 8 norms provide a useful framework for examining how the net generation may view or seek to change other areas.

However, for all the useful information, I find the style and tone of the book to be that of a self-aggrandizing cheerleader rooting for a cause than that of a serious analyst.

Examples:
- Applying the woefully over-hyped and overused "2.0" label to yet more areas (and even claiming credit for some as original thoughts) - "The 2.0 School", "Consumers 2.0", "Leadership 2.0", "Film 2.0", "Talent 2.0", "Democracy 2.0" and "Marketing 2.0, as I call it."

- Promoting that the book is based on a $4 million research study, then littering the book with 38(!) references from his 2 children as exemplars of the net generation plus more quotes from his wife, daughter's boyfriend, and kids' friends.

- Making broad sweeping statements with little or no backing. There *are* many useful statistics in the book but there are many claims which are backed up only by an anecdote or a quote from his children. In a section on memory and internet use, for instance, it is ridiculous to list "learning a new language of acronyms, like OMG and LOL" as evidence. Or, in telling one of several Best Buy stories in the book he labels all of the employees as being "vibrant and artistic and are into the latest and greatest technology and extremely passionate about storytelling (p. 150)" That's downright silly. (Clearly, the author has never been to Best Buy!) Why not just stick with the useful facts or stories and leave the pseudo-science and hyperbole aside?

- Employing an informal writing style undermines what are, in places, serious hypotheses. Combined with all of the familial references, it makes it unclear what is fact-based analysis and what is just first-person experience. There are far too many grating references to "net geners" and "boomers" as if they're two sports clubs. And, phrases like "this ain't your daddy's Internet" or "these kids are alright" or "Give us a break!" make the book feel more like a tract defending "the kids" than a serious work.

Despite its flaws, the book is still useful, but the hyperbole and cheerleading cause it to be less than it might have been.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saved, November 29, 2008
This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
While I fouund Mr. Tapscott"s book interesting I got a little tired of reading how the net generation is the answer to the world's present and future problems. It seemed to me that Mr. Tapscott's purpose for writing this book was to debunk any negative comments or research that he had ever heard or read regarding the net generation. According to Mr. Tapscott, other then their one negative of sharing too much personal information on facebook, the net generation will make all other generations pale in compaison.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Net Genner on the Net Generation, November 28, 2008
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This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
I'll admit, I didn't read this book cover to cover. I spent about 3 hours reading it, which probably means that I `read' about half and skimmed the rest. This speaks both to the book's strengths and its weaknesses. On one hand, the book is clearly organized, with three levels of subtitles within the book making skimming much more efficient. On the other hand as a member of the generation that Tapscott is trying to describe, at least 60% of the information is intuitive to the point of banality.

What Tapscott does bring to the table, however, is a quantitative approach to how the Net Generation is truly different from those preceding it, with some concrete information deeper than our ubiquitously cited ability to multitask or our improved hand eye coordination. His chapter on "The Net-generation Brain" contained some interesting statistics. For example, he discusses how 10,000 hours of video games and 20,000 hours of internet before age 20, have a positive effect on our ability to process visual information in rapid and complex ways. Additionally, like the Economist review that introduced me to the book, I believe the chapter on `Obama, Social Networks, and Digital engagement' is the primary selling point for the book with interesting anecdotes and a broad view picture of its effectiveness, although the book was published too early to claim it was the reason for his victory.

In the end, there's not enough new information contained in this book for a blanket recommendation. It is has enough to interest genre hacks willing to wade through the banalities, or those who have not yet been exposed to Net Gen ideas. I guess that means I should recommend this book to my mother.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive and Lacking Evidence, May 7, 2009
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This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
I was assigned to read this book for a college course and after reading the Introduction I was looking forward to it. The first few chapters provide intriguing incite on the next greatest generation, the Net Generation. After the author presents his main arguments, my interest took a sharp turn downward. In the middle chapters, I find Tapscott to be VERY repetitive. He keeps repeating his arguments over and over with no newly found evidence to support them. Also, I was disappointed when he constantly referred to his kids as a prime example of the "smartest generation." He does use the findings of some interesting studies, but then immediately brags about how his kids use technology and how he is amazed at how they understand it so easily. I was personally unimpressed.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gen Y: grown up and not so hard to understand, December 23, 2008
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This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
Several years ago two books greatly impacted my life: The Social Life of Information and Wikinomics. I decided to leave teaching graduate business courses and jump into developing collaborative and social networking technologies. Little did I know that in short order I would join nGenera and Don Tapscott.

Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World HC is the product of an amazing amount of research, and provides a thorough, timely and thought provoking qualitative analysis of the "Net Generation," aka Gen Y or Millennials. For a Gen Xer or Baby Boomer, this is a must read and leadership manual like no other. We are experiencing one of the few eras where three generations in significant numbers are in the workforce at the same time. The gap from Boomer to Millennial is substantial, not just in technology adoption and behaviors, but even in brain development. Tapscott succeeds in explaining these differences and also dispels many of the common myths surrounding Gen Y.

Some of the key Net Generation characteristics identified by Tapscott include making choices that ensure professional freedom, customizing technology to suite individual needs, scrutinizing the claims of others, living with much more integrity and tolerance, being highly collaborative, and a focus on entertainment, speed and innovation.

Another key point, especially for educators, is that the Net Generation is enrolling in and dropping out of college in huge numbers. The problem is not their desire to learn, but antiquated methodologies for delivering education that do not appeal to their collaborative and connected nature. This book provides a great roadmap for redesigning education delivery and educators should reconsider how they design the learning experience.

Tapscott's key caveat, which I share from my own experience, is that the open nature of GenY may come at the cost of future personal privacy as social networking behaviors are now captured digitally and permanently. But perhaps Gen Y's lack of secrecy and resulting integrity will create a future where we have fewer Enrons and Bernard Madoffs.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repeated the same info over and over, January 7, 2009
By 
C. Cole (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
Reality is I agree with Tapscott's core assessments for the most part, but I think it could have been easily covered in a much shorter book. Seemed to be unnecessarily long given the content. Repeated the same statements a number of time, especially in the first 3 chapters (in some cases it seemed the an entire paragraph was cut and pasted to a new part of the book).

I took issue with his incredibly biased political positions, and this is coming from an Obama fan and supporter (me). This was supposed to be a business book, not a poticial speech. Although I was fine with his coverage of how Obama used technology so strategically in his election (interesting info there), the opinionated/partisan political commentary took away from the book's message and was unnecessary. On the technology side -- lots of bias there too. Basically I got tired of reading about Facebook, Google, Blackberries, and MacBooks. He kept plugging these technologies over and over and over again, without giving equal coverage to similar technologies (as if the Blackberry is the only smartphone on the market).

And another annoyance -- downloading music for free *IS* stealing and undermines his claim that the Net Generation is so full of integrity. A lot of these folks blatantly steal (fully knowing that it's stealing), and they think about themselves first rather than the use they serve to their employer (hence switching jobs 5 times in their first 5 years of employment -- it's all about ME, ME, ME). Sorry dude, there's no integrity in that. So drop the integrity argument -- you failed to convince me.

I liked the chapter on education, but I took issue with his government-needs-to-fix-it assessment. Tapscott is clearly an Obama fan, so here some interesting info for Tapscott: Obama picked Chicago's education leader, Arnie Duncan, to be his education secretary. Duncan has said many times that giving a ton of money to the poor district schools (although greatly needed) doesn't necessarily fix the problems. In contrast, Duncan has said giving the $$ to the kids parents or paying the parents (to help kids at home with homework and be strong parent, etc) -- would likely have a much bigger impact. Tapscott never mentions the parents and parental responsibility, which is such a big part of the problem. If Don's two kids (Niki and Alex) grew up going to a poorly funded poor public HS in Chicago, they'd probably do just fine -- because their parents would force them to study and help them. Parenting is a HUGE part of it and he NEVER mentioned it.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don Does, June 13, 2009
By 
H. M. M. Vliet (Deventer, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
With the publication of Don Tapscott's new book on the Net Generation ("Grown up Digital"), I could write "Go and read this book", but it might end up as a quote on the Dutch edition of this book (which I don't aspire!), while leaving out the second part of the quote "...because it is flawed in so many ways that it serves as a good textbook on how NOT to present your arguments in a (scientific) debate."

Tapscott's book is one of many books that tries to capture the essence of the current generation by stressing the impact of the technological developments on these youngster, especially Internet and popular applications such as Google, FaceBook, YouTube and others. This leads to a host of exclusive names such as `digital natives', `net generation', `Millennials', `Screenagers' and `generation Einstein'. Currently more research is becoming available that questions many assertions of these authors. What is more, one can seriously question the added value of speaking of generations. For instance, evidence points in the direction that differences in a generation can be as profound as differences between generations. I will write more elaborate about this in the upcoming publication `Wijs met Media' (`Medialiteracy'). Here, let me shortly zoom in on just one aspect: methodology.

If you want to make a statement on the use and experience of transportation: would you ask only car owners? And would you invite members of the Fiat 500 fan club to contribute anecdotes on how they experience going for point A to point B? If the answer is no, would you then gather data on the current generation by asking only internet users on the influence of technology and new media on their behaviour and would you use a FaceBook community as a way to tap into the experience of a whole generation. Do you? Well, Don Does.

Would you disqualify scientific research with the remark that laboratory research cannot capture the complexity of reality and replace this with your personal observations of your own children? Would you leave out data on other generations, preventing any comparison among generations? Would you step over any data that is contrary to your point with the remark "anyway"? And would you beforehand disqualify any counterargument by stating that those arguments are based on fear, fear for the new? Well, Don does.

Would you ask the CEO of Google whether he thinks his employees represent the `dumbest generation', and take its denial as part of the proof that the Net Generation is media smart, and are full-fledged communication professionals? Would you criticise other research for using surveys and base your own research on...surveys? And would you spend four million dollar on research on the Net Generation and present as recurring `evidence' the behaviour and quotes of your own two children Niki and Alex? Well, Don does.

Tapscott disqualifies the current educational praxis as a hundred year old monster that needs a fundamental shake-up. Less `broadcasting' more interaction. Certainly a point of discussion but not with the arguments Tapscott brings to the table. But I'll give him one point, as a `student of methodology' (p. 305) Tappscott hasn't picked up fundamental principles of doing research while in a `traditional' class. Maybe he should have attended classes more or `interacted' with someone knowledgeable... But Don didn't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enter teh Net Gen, January 30, 2009
This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
This is a much anticipated book and I have been looking forward to reading it. Don Tapscott is Chairman of nGenera Innovation Network which is a research company and adjunct professor of management at the Joseph L. Rahman School of Management, University of Toronto. Tapscott is well respected for insightful comments in his books which include Wikinomics, Paradigm Shift, The Digital Economy and Growing Up Digital.

Grown Up Digital is a followup on Tapscott's earlier 1997 work, Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation in which he clarified how different present generation is from the previous ones because of the improvement in communication technology especially the Internet. Now a decade later, there should be enough data to analyse the characteristics of this generation in this fast changing world.

This present book is based on the findings of a $4 million research project, "The Net Generation: A Strategic Investigation." More than 10,000 people were interviewed in 2007 and at last 40 reports have been generated. From his findings a clearer picture of this Net generation is emerging.

Where there are many areas of interest touched upon in this book, almost all are based on the eight "norms' characteristics of the Net generation. These may be summarised as;
1. They want freedom in everything they do, from freedom of choice to freedom of expression
2. They love to customize, personalize
3. They are the new scrutinizers
4. They look for corporate integrity and openness when deciding what to buy and where to work
5. They wants entertainment and play in their work, education, and social life
6. They are collaboration and relationship generation
7. The Net Gen has a need for speed
8. They are the innovators

Using these descriptive behavioural norms, Tapscott seeks to explain their effect on culture, work attitudes, markets, family, learning and education.
The section on the need to adapt learning and education to these norms are especially helpful.

While Tappscott paints an overall positive picture of the Net Gen, it must be pointed out that he is dealing with a particular narrow segment of the North America privileged group of young people (and he seems to model heavily on his own children). It will be interesting to know about the characteristics of the Asian Net Gen or South American Net Gen. One also needs to take into account the digital divide in the Net Gen itself.

Together with the launch of the book, Tappscott has created a website, Grown Up Digital in which a new initiative Net Gen Educator Challenge was also launched. <[...]>

This is a good book to read about the younger generation and indispensible for educators. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a must read for boomer parents, January 8, 2009
This review is from: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Hardcover)
As always, I've read the other reviews so as not to be redundant.
The general concensus: it's not a great business book.
My observation: I'm not sure Tapscott intends it to be. This is a book by a well-informed netgen parent trying to explain to boomer and genXer parents why they don't need to panic about their 13-30 year-old kids.

As a parent of five children in that age bracket I found it enlightening and, heaven forbid, may make me a better parent. It helped me understand why my boys play video games incessantly, yet still get good grades...and why my eldest 20-something daughters returned home after college (and why they aren't in any apparent rush to leave again).

I guess I'm in the same group as one reviewer's "mother", having not fully been introduced to the netgen, despite parenting them for over a quarter century. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm the only boomer in that group. As Tapscott clearly explains, most of us--even the enlightened ones--have our heads stuck in the sand because that's what we've been trained to do.

Tapscott's narrative is a bit exhaustive and near the end, I was glad the last page was drawing near. But for the first half of the book, I was continually surprised by his insights and conclusions--drawn from both grassroots and expensive, documented studies--that provide an honest look at the generation that will be running our world in a decade or so.

He speaks of the Obama/Clinton race and how netgeners altered history by uniting online. He speaks of the fast-paced learning capability of youth (often mislabelled as ADD by some old hacks), and the increasing interest of youth in how the world works--or should work.

I tested some of the theories on my bored, skateboarding, non-productive, un-social teenage son. I quickly found out that he is not bored but unchallenged; he is very productive in things that interest him; and he is far more social and world conscious than I ever was. I even have to admit that we get along better now, though due to an attitude change on my part, not his.

So, a business book it may not be. But if you're a parent who would appreciate a little insight, this is a must read!
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Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World
Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott (Hardcover - October 24, 2008)
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