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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]

Richard Settersten , Barbara E. Ray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $11.84
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Why are 20-somethings delaying adulthood? The media have flooded us with negative headlines about this generation, from their sense of entitlement to their immaturity. Drawing on almost a decade of cutting-edge research and nearly five hundred interviews with young people, Richard Settersten, Ph.D., and Barbara E. Ray shatter these stereotypes, revealing an unexpected truth: A slower path to adulthood is good for all of us. Their surprising findings include
• Young adults who finish college and delay marriage and child-rearing get a much better start in life.
• Few 20-somethings who live at home are mooching off their parents. More often, they are using the time at home to gain necessary credentials and save money for a more secure future.
• Helicopter parents aren’t so bad after all. Involved parents provide young people with advantages, including mentoring and economic support, that have become increasingly necessary to success.
Not Quite Adults is a fascinating look at an often misunderstood generation. It’s a must-read for parents, teachers, psychologists, sociologists, and anyone interested in today’s youth culture.

Visit for more information on this revelatory book.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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: 456 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (December 28, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EY7JCQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #592,626 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
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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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overbearing February 8, 2011
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).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Convinced August 17, 2012
By ajs34
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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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read March 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Author is completely out of touch with reality! March 3, 2011
>>Ray suggests that GenY is so frugal that they might take their fear of debt too far, and avoid even good investments such as college, home purchases, and small business start-up costs. "Many young people, especially those from lesser means, see the price tag [of college tuition] and think, 'Oh my god, I can't possibly take that on.' They could be shortchanging themselves,' says Barbara Ray, since college is an investment that pays off."<<

How out of touch is this author?

1) Home purchases? Has Barbara Ray been living under a rock the past five years? Missed this little thing called the real estate bubble? How could anyone possibly say that Gen Y is "afraid of debt" after we have all been severely punished by reckless borrowing? Talk about a lesson not learned.

2) College? How you seen the ridiculous tuition hikes that this nation is suffering through? It has gotten so ridiculous that NYU students (considered to be one of the most expensive universities in the US) are protesting! I just finished reading a report about how ivy-educated lawyers can't get a job that pays more than $15 an hour, while holding six-figure debt loads. I agree that higher education is essential in the growth of a person (financially and emotionally), but in this world of predatory for-profit education tricking today's youth, and law schools pumping rosters for extra tuition, navigating the higher education waters have become so much more difficult.

3) Small business start up costs? Have you tried to get a SBA loan recently? It is nearly impossible. What the author fails to address is how TARP funds got pushed into bank treasury accounts and never found their way to stimulus lending.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend item and seller!
Good book. Provides solid references. In excellent shape for a paperback. Very fair price. Received inside shipment window.
Published 9 months ago by psychprof
2.0 out of 5 stars VERY boring and mundane
Not much here that's new or interesting. Here is the summary: Kids have trouble financing school, so many choose not to go even though going would be in there best interest over... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mark J. Van Ryzin
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Adults is Quite a Book
In every field of study, there are a few experts whose groundbreaking contributions cause the conventional wisdom to change in profound ways. Read more
Published on December 28, 2012 by Jack Levin
5.0 out of 5 stars Parenting Adult Children
This book really helped me understand my son and his choices. He is so much like me and I didn't see this until I read the book. Read more
Published on December 4, 2012 by Ellie Vollmer
5.0 out of 5 stars An exposition of the current Zeitgeist
This book gives a picture of our times in the perspective of an young adult, delineating trends that are going to have implications on a wide range of issues that are relevant in... Read more
Published on June 15, 2012 by CaRaPr
5.0 out of 5 stars Just What I Was Looking For
This book was written by a professor at my university and it was exactly what I've been looking for. Read more
Published on March 6, 2012 by Amanda
2.0 out of 5 stars True in a narrow context, but misses the larger picture
While much of what ngonzalez said in her review is true, ultimately I'd be more with Michael Kim.

The authors point out that parental support is needed much more today... Read more
Published on December 23, 2011 by Ike
5.0 out of 5 stars "Not Quite Adults...Everyone" - Advantage Humankind / Carpe Diem!
"Not Quite Adults...Everyone" is a MustRead for Everyone!!!...It is an essential look with pointed insights that offer fresh & compelling views on why it is taking this... Read more
Published on May 11, 2011 by Michael GreenGold
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible
Badly written, full of lies, dishonest and dangerous. Fabricates statistics on student loans, and then uses those statistics to argue that people are too wary of borrowing for... Read more
Published on April 5, 2011 by Zachary H. Bissonnette
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly informative and very relevant
This book is important for anyone who has a young adult or works with young adults in educational environments. Read more
Published on March 26, 2011 by Tyna Adams
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