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Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Length: 239 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Settersten, a professor of human development and family sciences at Oregon State University, and Ray, communications director of the Network on Transitions to Adulthood, funnel the findings of the eight-year MacArthur Research Network's study of 20-somethings into a portrait of a generation. Drawing on more than 500 interviews and foraying into their subjects' debts, regrets, and ambitions, the authors reveal that the cohort is making a slower transition to adulthood--they are slower to leave the nest, slower to find a full-time job, slower to marry and have children--but that their choices are hardly regressions; they are often necessary adaptations to a world vastly different from their parents'. "Slaying misperceptions," the authors show that young people are some of the most debtphobic individuals in the country, that they are delaying--not abandoning--marriage, that friends play larger and more influential roles in their lives and assist with "critical life decisions," and that they continue to regard having children as meaningful, "even salvation." Aside from enjoying a panoramic perspective on one generation, readers will be able to glean tips on everything from dating to parenting from this admirably lucid and fair-minded study that, in describing what is happening, reveals what is working. (Dec.) (c)
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“There are three huge strengths that set this book apart from anything else available on the transition to adulthood. First, it is written in a lively and jargon-free style by two rare social scientists who are familiar with the English language. Second, its scope is stunning, including challenges to becoming an adult created by dramatic changes in education, relations between young adults and parents, marriage and its precursors, civic life, and the world of work. Third, the tone is relentlessly upbeat about the advantages these changes are opening up for young people. This book proves that it is possible to write an interesting book about a big social problem that reflects research knowledge while nonetheless being accessible to the American public.” –Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families

“Based on interviews with 500 young adults and extensive research, this outstanding book offers a fresh and compelling view of why it is taking this generation longer to make career and family decisions. The message here is about the value of “slowing down,” and it makes sense not just for young adults, but also for their parents and educators, who are “fast tracking children” into a lengthy period of being nearly, but not quite, adults.  Learn about today’s young adults, why they are making the life choices they are, and why we should feel good about it.” –Barbara Schneider, author of the Ambitious Generation, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University

"Not Quite Adults is perhaps the most important contribution to date about the strange new life of America's twentysomethings.  Settersten and Ray are able to combine a deep grasp of the research with common sense advice for "not quite adults" and their parents. The slower path to adulthood is here to stay; thanks to the authors, we are n...

Product Details

  • File Size: 736 KB
  • Print Length: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1st edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Publication Date: December 28, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EY7JCQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,460 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I recently read this book by family scholar Richard Settersten, coauthored with Barbara Rey, titled Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Something are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why it's Good for Everyone. "I couldn't put it down" is such a hackneyed term that even high school essayists won't use it. But in my case, it's true. I haven't plowed through a book this fast since the Da Vinci Code.

Not Quite Adults explains the phenomenon of the lengthening duration from high school graduation and attaining what has been the experience of transitioning to adulthood of the past few decades. Young adults are meeting the sociological markers of leaving home, finishing school, finding work, getting married and having kids in a more lengthy and often reordered way.

The book had so much meaning for me, for a three reasons. First, the content was co-authored by a first rate scholar. (I work in the field.) Settersten is Professor and the Hallie Ford Endowed Chair in the Human Development and Family Sciences Department at Oregon State University. Moreover, I could identify with every word because I am the mom of a transitioning adult. It affirmed what I am noticing intuitively--that the time elapsing from adolescence to adulthood, as it was defined back in my day, has stretched and that today's young adults need a head start, including supportive parents, to make the leap.

Finally, it confirmed a trend that I began to see increasingly in my previous 15 year career as an academic adviser at a major university. I worked a lot with older students, returning to college in their late 20s or 30s.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being a younger adult myself, I was interested in reading a scholarly piece on the common failure to launch phenomenon I've seen among my friends and contemporaries. I agree with the authors, at least on my limited, anecdotal experiences, that this is a trend, but I was not convinced that it is a good one. Or, at least that it has aspects to it that are beneficial to society at large. They do a good job of marshaling arguments in support of their position, but my feet on the ground perspective of the slackers who mooch off mom and dad while at the same time exhibiting no discernible plan or desire to live on their own has tainted my view sufficiently that I was a hard sell to begin with. For that reason, in the interest of fairness, you may want to take my review of with a grain of salt.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading a review in the Economist, and was intrigued by the premise. I fit into this age group and situation, and was interested to see what their research revealed. This reads more as a guide for 20-somethings than a means for gaining any real meaning into the plight of this section of Americans. In fact, I'll summarize the theme of this book for you in one sentence: Go to college, *graduate*, or your life is screwed. Despite admitting at various times throughout this work that college may not be for everyone, the authors repeatedly hammer home that your life will be a catastrophe if you don't pursue and succeed at getting an education, regardless of your financial and/or home situations. This is contradictory to such statements within the text as, "Not going to college should not mean failure. No student should hate themselves because they repeatedly try but fail."

I suppose if you're not a member of this age group and want some cursory knowledge into 20-somethings, this is worth a read. If you're in this age group, this book will either make you feel like an accomplished god (with a college degree) or a total waste of humanity (who tried and failed).
3 Comments 15 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Not Quite Adults is a groundbreaker! Wide in scope and lively in style, it challenges the stereotype that today's 20-somethings are a generation of entitled slackers who refuse to grow up. Rather, the authors show how the times are a-changin'--- and how these changes have radically impacted the transition to adulthood today, providing insights into why the slower path to growing up is beneficial to all. As a developmental psychologist---and the mother of a 24 year old---I love this book. It should be required reading for anyone interested in what is happening to 20-somethings in America today.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Super! This book is an excellent overview of how teens and young adults are entering and coping with adulthood and provides important context concerning what parental and education strategies are working -- and what could be done better. The book is exceedingly readable, well-written, accessible, and quite fascinating, presenting a good combination of anecdotal interviews, research, and sociological analysis. It concludes with some innovative public policy recommendations geared toward improving the success rate of young adults.

I learned from it -- and I'm going to give it to my sister, who has an eighteen-year-old and a twenty-two-year-old and who probably falls into the helicopter parent category. She'll be glad to read something positive about that instead of being castigated for it!

Finally, the authors shine a much-needed light on the growing, alarming gap between "swimmers" and "treaders" -- kids who have parental and monetary support and those who don't -- showing how this will lead to an increasing income and class disparity unless it is addressed.
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