Book Review – iGen

iGen, by Jean Twenge, published by ATRIA books in 2017, reviewed by Warrick Long.

iGen’ers were born in 1995 and beyond, and are sometimes referred to as Generation Z. This books explains, as the subtitle notes, why today’s super-connected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy – and completely unprepared for adulthood. And what that means for the rest of us.

The theme in this book that struck me is that iGen’ers are scared. Twenge notes that due to the devise constantly within their reach, the iGen have extended their childhoods and isolated them from true human interactions. While being the physically safest generation, they are also the most mentally fragile.

Jean Twenge has a wealth of experience with the generations, holding a PhD and being a professor in psychology. Her area of research is the generations, her other books include Generation Me and The Narcissism Epidemic.

The book uses US data, particularly the major longitudinal studies of generations, and is supplemented by interviews with iGen’ers in order to hear their own stories. It is a well-supported book, but is US centric. However, with so much cross-fertilization of social media, television, movies and celebrity, the distinct cultural differences between countries is rapidly eroding and this book gives a good indication of what other countries can expect from this generation.

It reads in a very orderly and logical manner, but still provides the opportunity to just pick and choose areas of most interest if don’t want to read cover to cover. I found the book to be well written and easy to read. While solidly researched, it speaks to a wide audience and intersperses important data findings with humor and the voices of participants.

I recommend this book to anyone hiring and employing iGen, who has iGen kids, who teaches iGen, or is in anyway involved with iGen. You will find this book interesting and illuminating. It is very useful in understanding the uniqueness of this generation, and not confusing them with previous generations, and provides ways of effectively interacting with them.

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