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The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future(Or, Don 't Trust Anyone Under 30) Paperback – May 14, 2009
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"If you're the parent of someone under 20 and read only one non-fiction book this fall, make it this one. Bauerlein's simple but jarring thesis is that technology and the digital culture it has created are not broadening the horizon of the younger generation; they are narrowing it to a self-absorbed social universe that blocks out virtually everything else."
-Don Campbell, USA Today
"An urgent and pragmatic book on the very dark topic of the virtual end of reading among the young."
"Never have American students had it so easy, and never have they achieved less. . . . Mr. Bauerlein delivers this bad news in a surprisingly brisk and engaging fashion, blowing holes in a lot of conventional educational wisdom."
-Charles McGrath, The New York Times
"It wouldn't be going too far to call this book the Why Johnny Can't Read for the digital age."
"Throughout The Dumbest Generation, there are . . . keen insights into how the new digital world really is changing the way young people engage with information and the obstacles they face in integrating any of it meaningfully. These are insights that educators, parents, and other adults ignore at their peril."
-Lee Drutman, Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory University and has worked as a director of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he oversaw studies about culture and American life. He lives with his family in Atlanta.
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This book is a very interesting and compelling read for any member of society. Bauerlein argues that this generation is struggling to not use technology. His thesis is backed up by different anecdotes and statistics. For example, he recalls conversations with different teenagers in New York City, and one specifically is able to rattle off A Christmas Carol (the movie version) when he asked her about the classics, and then asked about Charles Dickens. She gave him a blank stare, until he continued his questioning with asking about Charles Dickens. The college student was then able to come up with a Christmas Carol and which movie version she preferred. The book flowed well, and the simplicity of the sentences helped to get the meaning across in a straight forward way. One of his most convincing arguments was one about how the teenage generation only learns what they choose to learn, not all the information that they should learn. This is different from most generations because the majority of generations cannot wait to learn more and just want to learn everything about a topic, whereas the teenage generation just wants to know the very basics, even if they are supposed to know more than that. Bauerlein brings in statistics that demonstrate how students are truly struggling- a large amount of college aged students are taking remedial classes because they are not ready for the next level. Another statistic that I found shocking was the amount of young children that know how to use technology. This book is good for anyone in general who is looking to learn more about technology and its effects. I learned many new things that I did not know and how many people struggle to answer simple questions. This book will change people’s opinions because it will help them solidify their opinions about this generation and how much they struggle with basic information and how different the generation is are from previous ones. Bauerlein says that the teenage generation will be remembered as "the fortunate ones who were unworthy of the privileges they received” (236). I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the way we use this generation uses their time and how much of it is truly spent on technology. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I’m sure others will as well if they want to learn about the generation under thirty’s battle with technology.