Millennial Reads: The Informative, The Depressing, The Outdated

For this week’s reads, I’ve officially moved into the realm of current events.

Up first is Millennial Momentum, probably my favorite of the three I made it through. It provides a fascinating overview of how this generation aligns with previous generations, bringing previous generational research into the scope of the shift that occurred in 2008 with Obama’s ascension to the throne Presidency and the ways that the Millennial generation got him there. The writers, Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, talk about how this is a “civic” generation, and how the parallels that can be seen with the generation in it’s cyclical equivalent state, can reveal truths about how things are for us today. WInograd and Hais do an excellent job covering several aspects of life for millennials, and do so in an informative, yet not dense, manner. This was the book that I could not put down, and the one that actually got me to think differently about our current state of affairs.

Next up, Don Peck’s Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures & What We Can Do About It was published just about the same time as Millennial Momentum (August 2011)yet Peck’s attitude about the Recession is much more sinister. He projects that those of us who have come of age in this time will forever hold lost wages, that our opportunities will continue to be limited, and that the culture of elitism will harm us all. He expresses what I fear will happen, and for this reason, I can’t say that I really enjoyed reading Peck’s book. It’s interesting, but frightening.

Still on the generational theme, I read Tamara Erickson’s Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work  and was incredibly disappointed with how fluffy it was. I skimmed it for about half an hour, pausing only on graphs and charts, and moved on with my day. Lately I’ve held to a rule that I won’t read anything published before the Recession hit because I think that the Recession changed the way our society works so much that sociology related material published before Fall 2008 can’t be relevant any longer. Erickson’s guide feels like it’s directed at college freshmen (no offense if any of you reading are freshman) but it doesn’t feel like there’s much meat in it. I want something that I can sink my teeth into and chew on for a while, not something that explains that older generations don’t understand the wants, needs, and reasons for why our generation acts the way we do and thinks the way we think.