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Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation Paperback – September 5, 2000

2.9 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Building on the concepts they first developed in Generations and 13th Gen, Neil Howe and William Strauss now take on Generation Y, or, as they call them, the Millennials. Unlike their rather distressing portrait of the more reactive Generation X (the 13th Gen), or the negative stereotypes that abound about today's kids, this is all good news. According to Howe and Strauss, this group is poised to become the next great generation, one that will provide a more positive, group-oriented, can-do ethos. Huge in size as well as future impact, they're making a sharp break from Gen-X trends and a direct reversal of boomer youth behavior. Why? Because, as a nation, we've devoted more concern and attention their way than to any generation in, well, generations.

Using their trademark paradigm, which places each generation as part of a larger historical cycle with four generations to a cycle, the authors not only describe these kids as they are now (as the first year sets off for college, the last yet to be born) but launch into projections for the future. A sampling of their potential influence in this decade: pop music will become more melodic and singable and sitcoms more melodramatic and wholesome; there will be a new emphasis on manners, modesty, and old-fashioned gender courtesies; and they'll resolve the long-standing debates about substance abuse. "They will rebel against the culture by cleaning it up, rebel against political cynicism by touting trust, rebel against individualism by stressing teamwork, rebel against adult pessimism by being upbeat, and rebel against social ennui by actually going out and getting a few things done." Scanning the future further, this hero generation will have to confront some major crises. But, for a group that has never known war or famine, will it be an opportunity or a calamity? Much of Millennials Rising is familiar territory rehashed, and the profiles and prophecies just too general. But it's hard to resist this hopeful vision for our children and the future. --Lesley Reed

From Publishers Weekly

The phrase "kids these days" is infused with new meaning in this look at the generation born between 1982 and 2000. Arguing against the conventional wisdom that junior high and high school kids are disrespectful, violent and alienated, Howe and Strauss (Generations; 13th Gen) demonstrate that the children of boomers and of older members of Generation X are actually harder workers and better community builders than any generation since the G.I.s'. "Millennials," the authors argue, are different from Gen-Xers: they have grown up in a multicultural country and have never known a recession; they are wanted children (as the increase in both birth control and fertility drugs demonstrate); and protected by an unprecedented number of child-centered laws. Since birth, they have been spurred to achievement in the home, by yuppie parents, and at school, by standardized tests and "zero tolerance" disciplinary measures. The authors show how easily Millennials have swallowed all the efforts on their behalf. School uniforms, as well as uniform-like Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch clothing, are popular. Teen sex is less frequent, and virginity seems to be a cool new trend. Howe and Strauss run into a bit of trouble when they insist that each generation corrects the mistakes of the previous one. They also attempt to link Millennials to the G.I. generation, suggesting that "hero generations" come in cycles. Despite these stabs at pop sociology, this well-substantiated demographic and cultural overview of the teen landscape is intriguing and highly amusing. Charts, graphs, cartoons. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 3rd Printing edition (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375707190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375707193
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on December 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation," by Neil Howe and William Strauss, attempts to explain the generation of people born between 1982 and 2002. The authors label this group the Millennials; according to the authors' model, the Millennials follow Generation X (born between 1961 and 1981), the Boomers (1943-60), the Silent Generation (1925-42), and others in a chain of definable generations that stretches back for centuries.
The authors look at some of the cultural forces that have shaped (and, increasingly, are being shaped by) the Millennials. They consider the increasing emphasis on multiculturalism; the impact of "Kinderpolitics," or child-centered politics, on Millennial lives; the school uniform movement; Millennial pop-culture favorites like Harry Potter and Pokemon; the "boy band" surge; the impact of the Columbine massacre; and more.
Ultimately, the authors make some bold predictions. They claim that the Millennials will likely become the latest in a series of "hero generations" that occur every few generations (the last hero generation, according to the authors, was the G.I. Generation, born 1901-1924). They also predict a "Millennial makeover" of American popular culture in the first decade of the 21st century.
The book is fascinating and informative. But the authors' essential conceptual model and conclusions are problematic. It seems to me that the whole "generational" model is an artificial (and, at worst, stereotype-driven) way to break people into easily-labeled groups. In fact, I think things are a lot more complex than the authors seem to believe.
Still, the book is engrossing reading. It was actually recommended to me by a distinguished U.S.
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Format: Paperback
I've always been fascinated by social history, and generally enjoy reading about societal trends, so I found this book to be interesting on the surface. The book is entertaining (in small doses!), but there are some deeper problems, both in its assumptions and conclusions.

First, to really buy into what this book claims, one must in some sense buy into the authors' ideas about generations. To be sure, social phenomena are not linear, but it is a stretch to assume that they are cyclical in the sense of "great generations". Many of the events that influence different "generations", actually are multi-generational, encompassing time scales of a century or more.

Despite the idea that each generation makes its own future, or has it made for them largely by their parents or their place in a historical cycle, much of what takes place is on a much larger and longer scale and there is no evidence that this is really cyclical in any sense. This book has little to say about these, instead dwelling on grandparents, parents and children and the idea of cyclical generations.

The other aspect of this book that I find troubling is the combination of facts, trends, and broad assumptions that are not really well verified being taken as some sort rigorous analysis. It is more theme oriented journalism with lots of citations, interviews and "factoids". It as close to a feature in a Sunday magazine as to any real in depth analysis.

Prospective readers should also be aware of the background of these authors. Although they are referred to in various reviews as "historians", their backgrounds are closer to what might be termed "Republican policy wonks", who now run a consulting business based on identifying and advising on generational trends.

Why does this matter?
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Format: Paperback
While I do not find today's youth a particularly boisterous or "bad kid" generation, this book goes beyond assessment of the trends and into self-convincing in a very deceptive way. There are indeed trends out there, some positive and some negative (which is partly a matter of opinion anyway), but Strauss and Howe have gone a little too far this time in seeing what they want to see.
One reviewer notes: "One thing is that the authors know what to look for by using their generational theory. As a result of this, he [obtained] results that would surprise most people, but would not surprise anyone familiar with their previous works." Ironically, this is exactly an example of why this cannot be considered a good book. The two authors knew what they wanted to write about youth long before writing this book, in fact wanting to write whatever would fit a set of predictions about this crop of youth that these authors have had for a decade. Rather than "looking for" wholesome youth, they need to look at the whole picture of how things are.
But William Strauss and Neil Howe look for and write what they want to find. Deceptively one-sided quotes fill the pages with statements from youth who fit their preconceived paradigm and adults who observe something in youth that fits their paradigm. They had to wade through all the quotes from young speakers who fit a different paradigm. Why these teens? Why did they conduct surveys of their own county in Virginia and not some other county?
What these two authors don't mention in the book is that they pick and choose from surveys rather than showing the whole picture of the generation. For instance, they quote a CBS survey to persuade the reader of the government/parental trust of this generation ("Half trust the government to do what's right.
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