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Slackonomics: Generation X in the Age of Creative Destruction Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 8, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786718846
  • ASIN: B002FL5IMW
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,331,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Yummy List e-newsletter
“Genius. Provocative. Wonderful,” 

Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Studded with insight into pop culture and today's turbulent society.”

BN.com’s Notable Reader
“A Suzy Orman for the Deconstructionist set, Chamberlain is witty, brainy, fabulous. A necessary addition to any collapsing IKEA bookshelf.”
 
Jacob S. Hacker, Professor of Political Science, Yale University, and author, The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream
Slackonomics provides an engaging, informative, and surprisingly humorous tour through the booming, buzzing confusion of Gen-X economic life. Though a fellow Gen-Xer, I’d never thought of myself as part of a generation, but that’s Chamberlain’s big point: In an era of creative destruction, some of us are riding the up elevator while others are heading down—and the situation might be reversed next week.”
 
Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday and host of the radio show Studio 360
"Despite the fact that I was born during the Eisenhower Administration, I've always felt more a more natural kinship with Generation X than with my own cohort. And now, just as Gen Xers are (ha!) entering middle age, Lisa Chamberlain’s smart, enterprising and entertaining book has helped me understand some of the reasons why—as well as why I tend to be 51% hopeful about America, notwithstanding our current collective confusion.”
 
Zephyr Teachout
“This book is incredibly easy to read, and full of interesting observations and theories. Reading it is like sitting through five courses at a great dinner party—a Gen X dinner party—full of confused and brilliant friends, full of the insights and insecurities of the peculiar demographic of middle class kids who came of age in the 70s and 80s, and can’t stop coming of age. It reflects seriously on the economic challenges faced by a chaotic, and fundamentally romantic, group of Americans.”
 
Publishers Weekly
“Freelance writer Chamberlain’s exploration of the social and professional choices of Generation X is a knowledgeable and well-written addition to the growing library of books devoted to the “alternative” generation. The author focuses primarily on the way that the young men and women of the 1990s made their money, and does a nice job conveying the tough economic fortunes of the beginning of that decade and the creative and financial boom of the Internet’s early days, as well as the eventual fallout when it went bust. Chamberlain uses each chapter of the book to address a specific aspect of the generation in question, often using a combination of cultural touchstones and sociology books to illustrate her point; a chapter about Gen-X relationships ponders the Richard Linklater film Before Sunrise and quotes extensively from Stephanie Coontz’s Marriage, a History. Often, the text is taken over by monologues from Gen-Xers themselves, who narrate their winding paths through the job market, usually ending in creative and relatively fulfilling jobs as a result of their ingenuity. While the book is full of interesting mini-arguments, including an entertaining takedown of Ethan Watters’s Urban Tribes, it doesn’t present a cohesive vision. Rather, it serves to illuminate the many disparate pockets of a group that continues to resist easy categorization.” 
 
Salon.com
“[A] funny, thoughtful, and surprisingly thorough examination of the forces that shaped Gen Xers’ unique perspectives on the world….Weaving together pop culture, statistics, observations and anecdotes, Slackonomics is the sort of resonant, witty, highly readable cultural commentary that we were way too self-involved to read (or write) 15 years ago, back when the world still gave a crap about us.”
 
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Cool word, slackonomics. Cool idea, too, to meld attitude and what Lisa Chamberlain admits is an intuitive grasp of economics in her prickly, entertaining book about the changing of the guard from baby boomer to Gen Xer. Studded with insight into pop culture and today’s turbulent society, Slackonomics aims to give Gen X, or people in their 30s and 40s, its props.”

About the Author

Lisa Chamberlain is a regular contributor to the New York Times and the executive director of the Forum for Urban Design. Her writing has also appeared in Salon, New York magazine, and the New York Observer. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of a Village Voice–owned weekly paper. She lives in the East Village in New York City. Please visit her blog at http://slackonomics.com/ 

 

More About the Author

Like many Gen Xers Lisa Chamberlain has changed careers several times. As a book author she published Slackonomics: Generation X in the Age of Creative Destruction in July 2008. As the executive director of The Forum for Urban Design - comprised of preeminent architects, urban planners and developers - she oversaw all aspects of this non-profit organization. As a journalist, she covered everything from politics to real estate (the former for Salon, the later for The New York Times, in addition to writing for many other publications). As a legislative aide on Capitol Hill to then-freshman Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Lisa learned a little something about the inner workings of government and politics (and even more about Monica Lewinsky, alas). She graduated from the University of California Davis in 1992, and received a mid-career master's in journalism from Columbia University in 2003. Currently she and her partner Alexandros Washburn are raising their first daughter, Lelia Colette, and are about to have a second daughter. Lisa is in the process of changing careers once again by starting a charter school in her neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn.

More can be found at slackonomics.com

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joshua P. OConner VINE VOICE on March 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Author Lisa Chamberlain holds little back in pointing out how Generation X has deviated from the norms of previous generations. Rather than demonizing Generation X as a force of societal degradation, Chamberlain explains how Gen X has floundered to create a sense of stability in a time of transition. Slackonomics ventures through the formative decades of Gen X eventually arriving at the present where they must now assume leadership roles in a world that had previously written them off.

Rife with snippets of pop culture Chamberlain ties in music lyrics, television shows, and the emotions of the era in order to illustrate the mindset of Gen X. Slackonomics joins a number of books, articles, and TV programs about the unique attitudes of Gen X. Chamberlains style of writing and use of cultural context manage to set the book apart.

The most interesting (and entertaining) aspect of the book centers around Chamberlain's examination of the shifts in social norms, family structures, opportunities, and expectations that have occurred with Gen X. Slackonomics shows that although the style of Generation X is comparatively deviant with respect to past generations, these shifts are not entirely negative. Chamberlain provides an interesting retrospective for a phenomenon that is continuing to unfold.

Slackonomics presents Gen X in context. Rather than evaluating the generation in comparison to those that have come before it, Chamberlain shows a more objective and comprehensive picture (almost a view of Gen X cast by Gen X itself). Aside from being an informative read, Slackonomics has useful insight for anyone in a field that is trying to better understand those within the generation now coming into power. The narratives Chamberlain provides allows the reader to easily identify with the book and evaluate their own experience with that presented by Slackonomics.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alex Hutchinson VINE VOICE on October 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Lisa Chamberlain had to duck and dodge her way through a publishing industry that believed a book on Generation X was not going to sell. In her final product she slipped the punches beautifully. By hitting the X from an economic perspective, Lisa identified many of the coming changes by focusing on the grounded way that Gen-Xers see the world. It is this hardened take on life and money that will be needed as we face the current wall street disaster. The Baby Boomers had sixteen years and two presidencies to fix the problems of corporate greed and extreme capitalism but not suprisingly, they have failed. Now, as the author acknowledges, it's time for a new Generation to take the reigns. I was thrilled to see this book on the shelf of my library. As a Gen-Xer and an author, it clicked with me on a very personal level. It made me feel more apart of a group and less alone than anything I had previously read. I only wish I had written it myself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By erin k on July 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Combining a knowing pop culture savvy with smart cultural analysis and a unique (and accessible) take on the economic trends that have shaped a generation, this book is a must-read for fans of Freakonomics, Malcom Gladwell, Douglas Coupland, Chuck Closterman and the like.

My story is featured in the chapter on comedy, and while I had a sense of the book's themes when I was interviewed, I was surprised at the revelations it offered when I read it through: I always thought my unstable, ad-hoc, creativity-driven, dot-com-influenced career and my irreverent take on employment and the randomness of "adult" life were totally original. Turns out I'm just a product of my generation, a fact that is comforting and disconcerting at the same time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Sohigian on July 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Lisa Chamberlain manages to pack a lot into this small format, 188 page book about the role of Generation X (born 1961-1981) in modern society. The style is an easy read and most chapter contain interviews with iconic Gen X'ers. [...]Rather than focusing on pop-culture references, Chamberlain looks at the social and economic environment that Generation X now inhabits and what they are doing about it.

Chamberlain is an excellent writer, with the sort of dry wit that most Gen X'ers appreciate. The chapters weave a subtle narrative of how our generation is coping with the challenging times we face today and why our pragmatic attitude is so important. I highly recommend the book for anyone trying to understand Generation X (and that includes many X'ers too!).

Dave Sohigian
[...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grant on May 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasnt expecting much from this book initially but was pleasantly surprised.

GenX's views havent been aired enough, and GenXers havent commented enough on the disasters created by the BB generation. The author does a good job splicing important facts with entertaining insights via to-the-point cultural and social commentary.

Important read for GenXers and the POST-Millenial/GenY (i.e. Dumbest Generation) people who are in the same boat....except the economy will be much worse.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Transpohzbooks on June 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although it first appeared a couple of years ago, not much is significantly different today, and so this book is still highly pertinent. It's the best book about Generation X in general and how they relate to the economy and politics: many books I've read about Gen X are terribly out-of-date, many more are totally wrong or written by some Baby Boomer who really just wants to continue celebrating the "Summer of Love" and talking about Vietnam.

Not only is this a very insightful, intelligent book but it's a pretty easy read. It's not heavy on the lingo and minutae, but does a great job of spelling out how the next leaders of the country will probably do things... as soon as we get all the obnoxious, decrepit Baby Boomers out of there.
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