Generation Me is by Jean Twenge. This is a research based sociological commentary on those of us born from 1970 till now.
If you like books that deal with sociology you will like this book but if you don’t you will hate it. Twenge does a great job proving that America has raised up a self centered generation that has lead the most blessed, affluent, entitled, depressed, and unhappy generation ever.
Twenge blames much of this on the self esteem movement. She asserts that we have gone overboard in teaching kids to love themselves. We have told them that they can be anything they want to be and to be proud of themselves no matter what. This sounds good and we all teach this in school, music, media, church, and home. The problem is that we have done this too well. Many in GenMe have believed this to the point that we don’t care about others. Basically we went from self esteem to narcissism. We have become consumed with ourselves and we don’t care about others. Our healthy self esteem turned into esteeming ourselves above everyone else. Twenge gives data to back this up from studies, to interviews with teachers, employers, and GenMe’ers.
This has caused this generation to become very depressed. When we have been told all our life we can be anything we want to be and then we can’t the gulf between our dreams and reality is deeper than ever before. More and more people go to college, earn masters degree, and even Phd’s. We all believe we can do anything but in the end only so many of us really can. We believe we can sing and then Simon from American Idol has to tell us that our parents lied to us and we can’t do anything we want especially sing. Many contestants will insist they want give up their dreams because they know they can and believe in themselves even though all of America knows they can’t sing. Depression, disillusionment, anxiety, and heartache is on the rise because the generation who was told if they were special is slowly finding out they are not.
This generation is also very cynical. We believe in ourselves but not others. Past generations believed they could change the world but not this one. This generation is looking out for themselves and could care less about others and doesn’t believe that things will ever change. Look out for you is their motto.
The chapter on sex and equality are two of my favorite chapters. They show that views on sex have change with this narcissistic generation. So has views on homosexuality, race, and gender.
I enjoyed the read but the detail of studies and data seemed to be a bit of overkill at time. Her conclusion about what people dealing with GenMen and what GenMe’ers should do is great! Good read if you like books on social behavior and how it impacts our world.