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Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone Paperback – December 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807400
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Review

“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 now much wiser about what that means for all of us.” –Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys and contributing editor City Journal
 
"In a world that is confused by 20-somethings, Not Quite Adults offers insight that will help us understand this generation. Hopeful and challenging, this book is a must read for parents and policy makers alike." –Jane Isay, author of Walking on Eggshells.

"One of the most important functions of social science research is to raise the quality of public debate by challenging myth, conjecture, and sensationalism with empirical realities. This book does just that by presenting an integrated social map of young adulthood in 21st Century America that is grounded in a diverse body of research."   –James Garbarino, PhD,  Loyola University Chicago, author of Children and the Dark Side of Human Experience
 
"Amid all the outcry over young people stuck in adultolescence and failing to launch comes this sensible portrait of a generation of almost-adults.  Based on empirical research, and not hand-wringing punditry, Settersten and Ray reveal a new stage of development that slows the clock, but does not stop it, making slower, but steady progress to more durable relationships and stable social networks." –Michael Kimmel, Professor of Sociology, SUNY Stony Brook, author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men
 
 “The rulebook has changed; the good ol’ days of a universally accepted school-work-family-retirement fast track are gone. Despite mainstream media’s attempt to portray 20-somethings as a group of lazy, no-good slackers, Not Quite Adults uncovers the real story – how a slower, more calculated transition into adulthood often makes more sense and leads to a better future for us all.” –Sean Aiken, author of The One-Week Job Project
 
“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.” –Publishers Weekly 
 
A provocative look at how a changing reality is transforming the transition to adulthood for a generation of Americans, and the implications of this transformation in today’s competitive world." –Kirkus

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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This book changed my views on life for the better.
Amanda
Not Quite Adults is much more than a "good read"; it is definitely a "must read" for anyone who hopes to understand today's generation of young Americans.
Jack Levin
Missed this little thing called the real estate bubble?
Michael Kim

Most Helpful 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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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hamilton on 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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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Diane Papalia, PhD on 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 By Michael Kim on March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
>>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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