What Future Studies Is, And Is Not | Jim Dator

Jim Dator (U. Hawaii); What Future Studies Is, And Is Not; WHEN? 2 pages ← whatfuturestudiesis


  • ideas about the future.
  • images about the future.
  • envisioning the futures
  • alternative futures.
  • several conflicting images at one time


  • as predictive science → fortune telling (ahem, shame on you)
  • as anticipation → as prudence & reasonableness.

Dator’s Laws of the Future

  1. “The future” cannot be “predicted” because “the future” does not exist.
    1. While “the future” cannot be “predicted,”
      yet “alternative futures” can and should be “forecast.”
    2. “The future” cannot be “predicted,”
      but “preferred futures” can and should be

      • envisioned,
      • invented,
      • implemented,
      • evaluated,
      • revised,
      • … and other verbs.
      • rinse & repeat.
    3. Futures Studies precedes, then linked to
      • Strategic Planning,
        and thence to
      • Administration (Execution).
  2. Any useful idea about the futures should appear to be ridiculous.
    1. Because new technologies permit new behaviors and values,
    2. “The most likely future” is often one of the least likely futures.
    3. To be useful, the theoretician’spractitioner’s ideas should expect to be ridiculed and the ideas rejected (initially).
    4. The practitioner must defend the implausible condepts proposed (that’s the job).
  3. “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”

Methods & Frameworks

  • long wave (theory)
  • cyclical forces (theory)
  • generations (theory)
    the “generations” through their life cycles (age-cohort analysis)


  • forecasting
  • envisioning
  • creating

but definitely not predicting


  • “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us,” attributed to Marshall McLuhan.


  • Wendell Bell, Foundations of Futures Studies. Transaction Publishers, 1997. Two Volumes.
    • Foundations of Futures Studies: Volume 1: History, Purposes, and Knowledge; Routledge; 2003-08-31; 404 pages; Amazon:0765805391: paper: $32+SHT.
    • Foundations of Futures Studies: Volume 2: Values, Objectivity, and the Good Society; Routledge; 2004-03-31; 404 pages; Amazon:0765805669: paper: $32+SHT.
  • Jim Dator, Advancing Futures: Futures Studies in Higher Education. Praeger, 2002-04-30; 408 pages; Amazon:0275976327: paper: $36+SHT.


Onboarding the Always-On Generation | WSJ

Onboarding the Always-On Generation; Gary Beach; In The Wall Street Journal (WSJ); 2016-01-20.

Gary J. Beach

tl;dr → some factoids, a book promo.

Original Sources


  • Generation Z
  • always on generation
  • multi-generational workforce
  • Definition: Generation Z
    <quote>four years after the Web was invented<quote>

    • (maybe?) 1998 = 1994+4,
    • (alternate?) 2001 = 1997+4.
  • The Great Recesssion
    circa 2008-2016.



For color, background & verisimilitude

  • Bob DiGuardia, Suffolk University in Boston MA.
    • Director of Enterprise Applications
    • Adjunct Professor of Management
  • Anna Matthai, Research Manager, CompTIA.
  • Anthony Denhart, university relations manager for General Electric
  • Dan Schawbel, founder. Millennial Branding; Promote Yourself: New Rules for Career Success (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014-09-02, 304 pages, kindle: $10, paper: $5+SHT).


Get Ready for Generation Z; Enactus, Robert Half International; 2015-07; 24 pages.

  • Joe Kristy (IBM); The Changing Workforce: Urgent Challenges and Strategies, Human Capital Management Practice, IBM; 2007.
  • Bruce Tulgan, founder, RainmakerThinking.

Scott Fogel, FirstBorn baits you: Why Everything Brands Say About Gen Z Wrong | Co.Create

Why Everything Brands Say About Gen Z Wrong; Scott Fogel (Firstborn); In Co.Create; 2015-10-01.
Scott Fogel, staff, Firstborn (a lifstyle agency & ideas boutique)

tl;dr →The agency, Firstborn, has insight.

Via: backfill.


  • Generation Z
    (a nonstandard definition per the doctrinaire usage in Strauss & Howe; as-stated, the cohort is usually positioned as second-half Generation Y/Millennial)

    • Age 12 to 20 years old.
    • Born 1995→2003.
    • They are now or were recently are in High School
      They do not have jobs, careers, families yet.
      They are still “kids.”
  • They are so young!
  • They are so creative!
  • They are so passionate!
  • They use consumer electronics (a.k.a.technology)
    • <quote>it’s how they choose to live their lives in digital.</quote>
    • They have had consumer electronics all their lives.
  • Exemplars
  • Platforms
    • Snapchat
    • Vine
  • <quote>[A goal of media use] entered around making people think you’re offbeat or quirky.</quote>
    [Ahem.  This sounds like stereotypical High School behaviors.]
  • Dichotomy
    • then→<quote>jocks, theater nerds, band geeks,or prepsters.</quote>
    • now→<quote>gamers</quote> and subgenres of that rap message boards,,sneaker blogs, skating. Something vague about <quote>[this cohort] tends to use their passions and identity interchangeably.</quote>


Themes in the form of a listicle

  1. [They've] gone from clever to offbeat.
  2. There are no more subcultures, everything is a subculture.
  3. Online “leisure” isn’t just fun, it’s crucial to a healthy and happy life.


in the form of a listicle

  1. Give them tools (insteade of using messages)
  2. Build for [their] communities (instead of using messages)
  3. Be polarizing (this “often” strengthens connections).


Roughly in order of appearance



Everything you’ve heard about millennials is wrong; Chris Osterndorf; In The Daily Dot; 2014-08-02; separately noted.
Everything you’ve heard about millennials is wrong; Chris Ostendorf(sic); In Salon; 2014-08-02.
Teaser: They’re stunted, privileged, lazy and ruining the institution of marriage according to a new study. It’s all bunk

Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z | NYT

Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z; Alex Williams; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-09-18.
How To Spot a Member of Generation Z; Alex Williams; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-09-18.


  • Generation Z
  • “millennials on steroids”, attributed to Lucie Greene
  • Avatars
    attributed to Lucie Greene

    • Millennial, Generation Y → Hannah Horvath from ‘Girls’ (a television sitcom)
      • self-involved
      • dependent
      • flailing financially
      • dream fantasy collide with reality
    • Generation Z →Alex Dunphy from ‘Modern Family’
      • conscientious
      • hard-working
      • somewhat anxious
      • mindful of the future
  • Social Media
    • Secret
    • Snapchat
    • Whisper
    • (they avoid) Facebook
  • personal brand
  • Generations
    the definitions, the boundaries

    • “others” → 1995, Generation Z
    • Neil Howe → start 2004, Homeland Generation, Silent Generation (grandparents of Homelanders)
  • Generation X
    • 1970s
    • latchkey kids
    • jaded
    • funk
    • post-Watergate
    • post-Vietnam
    • Nirvana
    • slasher movies
  • Generation Z
    • children of Generation X
    • safety concerns; antecdotes given via mommy blogs
    • pragmatism
    • entrepreneurs
    • Fashion, via companion.
      • Gender-Neutral (androgynous)
      • Rocker Redux
      • Normcore
  • pragmatism
    supported by of quotes-as-evidence & antecdotes-as-evidence
  • <quote>This vision of a generation with wired brains, making their way in an ethnic-stew society of the future, makes them sound like the replicants from “Blade Runner.”</quote>
  • Silent Generation
    framing by Neil How

    • Grandparents of Generation Z (Homelanders)
    • Great Depression
    • New Dealers
    • work within the system
    • richest
    • the man in the grey flannel suit.
    • Exemplars
      • Martin Luther King Jr.
      • Elvis Presley
      • Andy Warhol


  • Emily Citarella, age 16, student: high school, Atlanta, GA.
  • Hannah Payne, age 18, student: U.C.L.A., bloggiest, lifestyle genre.
  • Ruby Karp, age 15, New York, bloggist HelloGiggles.
  • Anthony Richard Jr., age 17, Gretna, LA.
  • Seimi Park, age 17, student: high school (senior), Virginia Beach, VA.
  • Andrew Schoonover, age 15-year, Olathe, KS.


For color, background  & verisimilitude


Towards diversity

variously from United States Census summarizations..
  • The count of Americans self-identifying as
    • mixed white-and-black biracial rose 134%.
    • mixed white and Asian descent grew by 87%.
  • From 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew at four times the rate of the total population.

Towards pragmatism (contra risk behavior)

variously from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (uncited)
  • the percentage of high school students who had had at least one drink of alcohol in their lives declined to about 66 percent in 2013, from about 82 percent in 1991.
  • The number who reported never or rarely wearing a seatbelt in a car driven by someone else declined to about 8 percent, compared with about 26 percent in 1991.


Against Generations | Aeon

Against Generations; Rebecca Onion; In Aeon; 2015-05-20.
Teaser: Generational thinking is seductive and confirms preconceived prejudices, but it’s a bogus way to understand the world

tl;dr => Stereotypes are bad, m’Kay?  Look! a single exemplar, the myth is exploded!


  • Neil Howe
  • William Strauss
  • LifeCourse Associates
  • It’s all about selective interviewing c.f. The Millennial Muddle

    • Palmer H Muntz, (then-) director of admissions of Lincoln Christian University in Illinois,
    • Fred A Bonner II, now at Prairie View A & M University in Texas,
    • Siva Vaidhyanathan, postdoc? University of Virginia.
  • This is not new
  • Meme: Old Economy Steve
    Old Economy Steven
    via Know Your Meme


Aeon helpfully provides links to their thoughts on demographics & life stage psychology via their tag cloud:


  • Karl Mannheim; The Problem of Generations; In Paul Kekskemeti (editor); Karl Mannheim Essays; routledge; 1052, 1972; pages 276-322.
    Surveys generational theories

    • Positivist => uninlinear development, per Auguste Compte
    • Romantic => qualitative & mystical, generational bonding exists
      Wilhelm Pinder defines entelechy of Aristotle & Gottfried Leibnitz.
    • His own => is
  • Norman Ryder, The Cohort as a Concept in the Study of Social Change; In American Sociological Review, Volume 30, 1965; pages 843–861; book version; Bobbs-Merrill; 1967; 19 pages; revised version; In Cohort Analysis in Social Research; 1985; pages 9-44; paywall.
    tl;dr => control for other factors: social position: geographical location, gender, race, education, occupation; controlling for birthdate is a fallacy, is ‘arithmetical mysticism’
  • Robert Wohl; Generation of 1914; Harvard University Press; 1979-01; promotion, Amazon.
    Concept: the older cohort behaved differently (had different outcomes) than the younger cohort.
  • Joyce Appleby; Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans; Harvard University Press; 2000; promotion, Amazon.
  • Ira Berlin; Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves; Harvard University Press; 2003; promotion, Amazon.
    tl;dr => Generational Theory doesn’t work for slaves.
  • Malcolm Harris; an unspecified essay; The New Inquiry, ‘Youth’; 2012.
    tl;dr => Malcolm Harris is editor at The New Enquirer, a contributor at Aeon; a book is promised 2015; previous books on sharing & crowdfunding.

Named but not reviewed

  • François Mentré
  • Henri Peyre
  • Julián Marías,
  • José Ortega y Gasset
  • Pierre Nora, 1996; an uncited essay.
    Generational Theory suffers from unclassifiability.


Via: backfill.

Generations in the Next America Event | Pew Research Center

Generations in the Next America Event Video; Pew Research Center; 2015-03-07.


  • Carroll Doherty, director of political research, Pew Research Center

Panel 1: Family and Society

  • Neil Howe, economist, Historian and Co-author of Millennials Rising
  • Abby Huntsman, co-host, MSNBC’s “The Cycle”
  • Alicia Menendez, anchor, Fusion
  • Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist, The Washington Post
  • Brad Wilcox, director, National Marriage Project and visiting scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Panel 2: Politics and Policy

  • Bill McInturff, partner and co-founder, Public Opinion Strategies
  • Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director, Young Invincibles
  • Neera Tanden, president, Center for American Progress
  • Debra Whitman, executive vice president, policy, strategy and international affairs, AARP


  • Bill McInturff in Panel #2.

Via: backfill

How to Market to the iGeneration | Joan Schneider, Schneider Associates

How to Market to the iGeneration; Joan Schneider; In Harvard Busniess Review (HBR); 2015-05-06.

Joan Schneider, CEO, Schneider Associates, Boston MA; an advice shop.
Julie Hall, Joan Schneider; The New Launch Plan: 152 Tips, Tactics and Trends from the Most Memorable New Products; BNP Media II, LLC; 2010-04-01; 288 pages; kindle: $10, paper: $35+SHT.


In the form of a listicle…

  1. Personalize everything.
  2. Connect with them through social media.
  3. Be strategic with advertisements.
  4. Excite iGens with content.
  5. Use mobile to reach iGens.
  6. the iGeneration is here now.


  • Terminology
    • iGeneration
    • iGens (the plural of the species)
    • Gee Whiz!  Naturals with technology!  Facebook!  Is that an iphone?
    • A decade-subgeneration of Millennials; same thing.
    • Attributed to Stefan Pollack
      • iGeneration is Generation Z according to Pollack’s typology.
      • born: 1994-2004 (age 21 down to 11).
      • Stefan Pollack; Disrupted; Pacific Coast Creative; 2013-05-15; kindle: $10, paper: $10+SHT.
  • Generation Z
    • Defined here as: “born after 1994″ (age 21 or younger).
    • The iGeneration
  • Millennials
  • Conflates generational theory (20-year frames) with a decade-level framing.



  • Making Way for Generation Z; Alexandra Levit; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-03-28; previously noted.
    tl;dr => It’s a book promo for her book
    Alexandra Levit; They Don’t Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to the Business World; Career Press; 3rd edition, 10th Anniversary Edition; 2014-02-25; 240 pages; kindle: $11, paper: $950+SHT.
  • Millennials Design Technologies; Jake Wobbrock (AnswerDash); In Wired; 2014-09.
    Jake Wobbrock, Ph.D., co-founder, CEO, AnswerDash.

    • Generation NOW
    • Studies. That. Show.
      • Accenture
      • BusinessWire (press releases)
      • Forbes
      • Forrester
  • Mentoring Millennials; Jeanne C. Meister, Karie Willyerd; In Harvard Business Review; 2010-05.
    <quote>[Reverse Mentoring] shifts the responsibility for organizing mentoring to line employees, who learn from senior executives by mentoring them. A Millennial is matched to an executive and assigned to teach him or her how to, say, use social media to connect with customers. It’s an effective way to give junior employees a window into the higher levels of the organization, so that when the mentees [the old ones] retire, the younger generation has a better understanding of the business.</quote>

Via: backfill.

What Is Generation Z, And What Does It Want? | Altitude

Through the Eyes of Gen Z; Susan Shelkrot; Altitude; 2015-05; 18 pages; regwall (pay with PII).
Teaser: 6 Keys to Understanding Your Next Customer

Susan Shelkrot is VP Program Development, Altitude.


  • A study, a survey.
  • N=”over a dozen”
  • Age 16-18 (born 1999-1997)
  • Jeremy Finch, staff, Altitude
  • Personas are developed.

The influences (listicle) draws on generational theory as an environmental framing effect that shapes the cohort’s revealed mindset & practiced behaviors:

<quote>The majority of Gen Z parents are part of Gen X. Gen X lived through the ambiguity of the Vietnam War and the recessions of the early 80’s and early 90’s, and now they’ve passed on the lessons they learned from their own experiences to their children. As a result, many of Gen Z’s behaviors are driven by a similar desire to seek safety, security, and self reliance.</quote>


  1. Growing up digital.
  2. Living in uncertainty.
  3. Gen X parents.
Keys to Understanding
  1. 8 Second Filter
    Everything is link bait nowadays.
  2. Digital Catch-22
    Social Media (Facebook); follows from #1.
  3. Echo Chamber
    Self explanatory; follows from #1
  4. Contingency Plans
    Finance, carreer- and life- path choices.
  5. Drive
    They have a work ethic, they understand olds’ perceptions of their work ethic.
  6. Financial Literacy
    They have it, get it, study it..


  • Generation Z is not lazy
  • Generation Z needs anonymity and ephemerality from social media
    Therefore, Facebook & Twitter need to develop ephemeral features like Yik Yak and SnapChat.
  • Generation Z cannot tolerate differences of opinion.
  • Generation Z cannot adapt to radically new ideas readily or eagerly.
  • Generation Z needs to retain control, to have options.
  • Generation Z will not tolerate long-term contracts.
  • Generation Z will not tolerate long-length education schemes (ahem, degree programs).
  • Generation Z values training in transferrable, generalist skills.
  • Generation Z needs gamification: leader boards, progress bars, todo lists.
  • Generaion Z may not be skilled enough or patient enough to work their first job [huh?]
  • Generation Z something vague about sports interests.
    whereas Generation X invented Extreme Sports, therefore Generation Z …???
  • Generation Z wants financial planning aligned with their life-stage and perceived life goals.  No math.
  • Generation Z will want creative financial engineering to avoid uncreative financial engineering (debt).
    This seems to be a veiled reference to the sharing economy; if you can share it, why buy it; if you can lease it, why buy it [And there is an answer to that mind puzzle as Generation Z will find out soon enough when they get evicted from their rent-controlled apartment or can't get an Uber in time.  Depending upon the kindness of others has strong limits when the constraints set in.  It goes by the fancy name control premium].


What Is Generation Z, And What Does It Want?; Jeremy Finch (Altitude); In Fast Company; 2015-05-04.
Teaser: And you thought you had just figured out millennials. It’s time to start wringing your hands about the new generation that’s about to enter the workforce. What do they even want?

The listicle:

  1. It’s not an attention problem, It’s an 8-second filter
  2. They’re not screen addicts, They’re full-time brand managers.
  3. They’re not all entrepreneurs—They’re practical pragmatists.



On the linkbait…

<quote>Gen Z have a carefully tuned radar for being sold to and a limited amount of time and energy to spend assessing whether something’s worth their time. Getting past these filters, and winning Gen Z’s attention, will mean providing them with engaging and immediately beneficial experiences. One-way messaging alone will likely get drowned out in the noise.</quote>

On social media…

<quote>Gen Z feel torn: They need social media to build their personal brands but resist being defined by it. They seek social validation and inclusion but are looking to differentiate themselves professionally. Companies that understand this tension will provide Gen Z the tools they need to reconcile and better manage their personal and professional brands.</quote>

On life course choices…

<quote>To ease [their] anxiety, the participants in our study all claimed to be aiming for jobs in growing, less-automatable fields like education, medicine, and sales. And they’re obsessed with developing contingency plans to help them navigate the dynamic job market. While the media has singled out a number of high-profile entrepreneurial teen success stories, the majority of Gen Z in our study are biased in favor of career and financial stability. Entrepreneurship is seen as a way to not have to rely on anyone (or anything) else, and their version of it will likely be focused on sustainable “singles and doubles” ventures rather than Silicon Valley “home runs.”</quote>

Via: backfill.

Learning and Generations | Southfield Center for Development

Learning and Generations; Southfield Center for Development; by ViceSports; on Scribd; 11 pages; landing.



Archaeological order, derivatives on top; original reporting below


Southfield Center for Development; Learning and Generations

Via: backfill

Make Way for Generation Z | NYT

Make Way for Generation Z; Alexandra Levit; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-03-28.

tl;dr => It’s a book promo for her book
Alexandra Levit; They Don’t Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to the Business World; Career Press; 3rd edition, 10th Anniversary Edition; 2014-02-25; 240 pages; kindle: $11, paper: $14+SHT.


The generational typology here is somewhat nonstandard, is a convenience for the essay. The scheme seems predicated on Generation Z being of the “half-generation” variety.

Era Name
1995-2006 merely a decade Generation Z
1980-2002? 20-year generation Generation Y (Millennials)
1964-1979 15-year demi-generation Generation X
1946-1963 17-year demi-generation Boomers
pre-1945 Traditionalists

Contra: Strauss & Howe’s nomenclature.


the standard generational typology, noted herein:


  • Millennials
    factoids sourced from United States Census data.

    • 33% live with parents.
    • The oldest Millennials are 35 (the youngest are thus 15).
  • Generation Z
    factoids sourced from the personal observations of Alexandra Levitt.

    • wish to not live with parents.
    • wish to speak their minds.
    • prefer in-person to online communication.
    • “schooled” in emotional intelligence from a young age.
    • accustomed to engaging with friends around the world.
    • [the generation] is “diverse” [bi-, tri- and quad-racial exemplars are exhibited]
    • want traditional college; non-traditional careers [undefined].
Gee Whizz!
  • <quote>Even well-known organizations will have to rethink their recruiting practices to attract this group, and now is the time to start.</quote>
  • <quote>These children are so mature and they learn so fast, they might just be ready to take over by the time they’re 22.</quote>
  • Her observations.
  • United States Census Bureau; a study; 2015


  • Generation Z Conference; American  University; 2015 (no available reference).
  • Doug Anderson, Bisnow Ventures
    Biznow Ventures is an “education comany”, Washington DC
  • The Elevator Project, a charity

Via: backfill

Everything you’ve heard about millennials is wrong | The Daily Dot

Everything you’ve heard about millennials is wrong; Chris Osterndorf; In The Daily Dot; 2014-08-02

Everything you’ve heard about millennials is wrong; Chris Ostendorf(sic); In Salon; 2014-08-02.
Teaser: They’re stunted, privileged, lazy and ruining the institution of marriage according to a new study. It’s all bunk

Via: backfill

Original Sources


Drive By



Everything you've heard about millennials is wrong

The Millennial Muddle on Strauss & Howe’s Generational Theory | The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Millennial Muddle; Eric Hoover; In The Chronicle of Higher Education; 2009-10-11.
Teaser: How stereotyping students became a thriving industry and a bundle of contradictions

Original Sources



  • Definition: “The Millennials” are born between 1982 and 2004.
  • Reminder
    • Every generation has done this
    • These guys are “selling maps” to folks who need that:
      • businesses
      • colleges (a form of business)
      • election machines
  • Millennial Generation
    • Millennials <quote> “Their life mission will not be to tear down old institutions that don’t work, but to build up new ones that do.”</quote> attributed to Strauss & Howe.
    • The “core traits”
      1. special,
      2. sheltered,
      3. confident,
      4. team-oriented,
      5. conventional,
      6. pressured,
      7. achieving.
  • Homeland Generation
    • born 2005-25
    • will fit an “artist” archetype
    • Biographies
      • <quote>[Straus & Howe] were not social scientists; they were Washington wonks.</quote>
      • Howe
        • Concord Coalition (deficit reduction, Social Security reform)
        • consultant in demand for his ability to explain the youth
        • Attended UCSD 1970
        • Attended UCB 1970-1974ish after George Winne Jr self-immolated at UCSD.
      • Strauss
        • Ford White House
        • Senate staff
        • Capital Steps, a comedy troupe
        • died 2007
  • LifeCourse Associates, Great Falls VA
    • Staff
      • 3, max age 28
    • Publications
      • Millennials Go to College,
      • Millennials & K-12 Schools
      • Millennials and the Pop Culture
      • Millennials in the Workplace, future
    • Practice
      • Article writing
      • Speeches given
        • fees: $5,000-$14,000
        • 60 speeches a year
        • followup workshops
      • Consulting
        • Colleges
        • Advertising
        • Lifestyle
      • Reference Customers
        • Chartwells
          a food service company
        • Ford
          Advice to riff on the Hero concept (Millennials are Hero archetypes in the theory)
        • Hewlett-Packard,
        • Kraft,
        • Nabisco,
        • National Guard (of some state)
        • Nike.
        • U.S. Army
          actually an unnamed agency applying for the  Army’s advertising contract.
        • Some M&A shop in Prague
  • Secular Trends in in College Admissions (this is the Chronicle of Higher Education
    • stealth applicants
    • early admission programs
    • statistical modelling, price optimization
    • parents are co-purchasers
    • student engagement
    • mental health services
    • parent offices, parent orientations


  • Mary Crane
    • was once
      • a lobbyist,
      • an assistant chef at the White House,
    • (now) a generational consultant
    • Customers
      • Fortune 500 companies,
      • law firms.
  • Eric Greenberg
  • Lynne Lancaster
    • a management consultant and “cultural translator”
    • co-founder and partner, BridgeWorks LLC
  • Kanna Hudson
    • Age 26, 2009.
    • a former academic counselor
    • now at Futurist.com, a lifestyle consulting shop
  • Scott Degraffenreid
    • consultant a former forensic accountant,
    • Scott Degraffenreid; Understanding the Millennial Mind: A Menace or Amazing?; Just Brilliant Services; 1st edition; 2008; 199 pages; kindle: no, paper: $40+SHT.
    • <quote>patented the term “crash-test geniuses” to refer to young people’s willingness to “reboot” and learn from failures, even if it means walking away from their jobs. </quote>
  • Eric Chester
    • a former teacher
    • Generation Why, a lifestyle consultancy; maybe succeeded by Reviving Work Ethic
    • <quote>his Web site describes young people as “weird-looking and impossible to understand.”</quote>
  • Susanna Wolff
    • Age 21, in 2009
    • a senior at Columbia University, in 2009
    • an oped weekly feature called “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” for collegehumor.com

Detraction, Color, Balance

  • Other unnamed academics who “chuckled”
  • Arthur E. Levine, Jeanette S. Cureton; When Hope and Fear Collide: A Portrait of Today’s College Student; Jossey-Bass; 1st edition; 1009-02-27; 208 pages; kindle: $32, paper: $0.01+SHT.
    tl;dr => not impressed with Generational Theory; kids are not that different now than way back when
  • Palmer H. Muntz, director of admissions and an enrollment-management consultant at Lincoln Christian University, Illinois.
    tl;dr => not impressed with Generational Theory; kids are packaged in ways that colleges want/need to see them.
  • John H. Pryor, Sylvia Hurtado, Victor B. Saenz, José Luis Santos, William S. Korn; American Freshmen: Forty Year Trends; Cooperative Institutional Research Program; UCLA; 2006?; 66 pages.
  • Richard H. Mullendore, a former vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia
  • Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy, executive director of Naspa-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
  • Jeannine C. Lalonde, senior assistant dean of admissions at the University of Virginia.
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan, associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia.
    tl;dr => “Generational thinking is just a benign form of bigotry, in which you flatten out diversity. This is debilitating to the job of trying to work with young people.” (it’s WEIRD types… not minorities… get it?)
  • Fred A. Bonner II, Associate professor in the department of educational administration and human resources at Texas A&M University (see below).
  • Lisa A. Rossbacher, president of Southern Polytechnic State University, in Georgia.
    tl;dr => Howe’s insights weren’t deep; they would have done the changes anyway.

<paraphrase>To accept generational thinking, one must find a way to swallow two large assumptions.

  1. That tens of millions of people, born over about 20 years, are fundamentally different from people of other age groups
  2. and that those tens of millions of people are similar to each other in meaningful ways.

This idea is the underpinning of Mr. Howe’s conclusion that each generation turns a historical corner, breaking sharply with the previous generation’s traits and values.</paraphrase>

Jean M. Twenge

Mark Bauerlien

  • The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future(Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30; Tarcher; 2009-05-14; 253 pages; kindle: $11, paper: $0.01+SHT.
  • Age 50, in 2009.
  • Writes for The Chronicle Review, the blog Brainstorm.
  • director, “Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America” ; National Endowment for the Arts; 2004; 82 pages; kindle: $6, paper: $16+SHT.
  • Debated Neil Howe at American Enterprise Institute, 2013?
  • <quote>Like Ms. Twenge, Mr. Bauerlein describes his book as a labor of love, not scorn.</quote>
  • <quote>Several technophiles in academe have cast Mr. Bauerlein as a Luddite who clings to a single (and dated) definition of literacy.</quote>

Fred A. Bonner II

The Me Me Me Generation | Joel Stein @ TIME Magazine

The Me Me Me Generation; Joel Stein; In TIME Magazine; 2013-05-20; paywalled.

tl;dr => lite; runs towards Twenge; does not cite Strauss & Howe; no recent material.


from a paper copy… in rough order of appearance


Via: backfill

The Midlife Crises of the Generation X

On the occasion of …

Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis?; ; In Slate; 2013-08-11.
Teaser: Gutted by the economy, shipwrecked by nostalgia, Gen X stares down a midlife crisis. Winona Ryder can’t save it

Original Sources


  • Richard Lerner
  • Neil Howe
    • attributed as: historian and generational expert
    • significant broad background framing of the generations issue.
  • Pew Research
  • Sheryl Connelly, anthropologist (futurist), Ford Motor Corp.
    • Manager of Global Trends and Futuring, Ford Motor Company
    • Significant press cycle 2012-2013; SEO
    • Sheryl Connelly (Ford Motor Company); 10 Trends That Could Change World; adtechevents; On YouTube; 2013-11-13; 46:52 (Sheryl starts at 5:00);
  • Alice Miller; psychologist; child abuse
  • On continued Generation X immaturity, attributed to the author
    • <quote>Naomi Wolf is writing about her vagina.</quote> attributed to the author; as evidence of immaturity (and she’s right).
    • [long list of celebrities & intellectuals who have retired, given up or suicide] <quote>The most accomplished Xers stay out of the way. But to interpret personal experience, it helps to have generational role models to shine a light.</quote>
    • <quote>Where are the thoughtful Gen X politicians? Obama – born in the generational borderland of 1961 — campaigned on getting beyond boomer conflicts. But that hasn’t quite happened. Now the Republicans are figuring out how to keep from imploding and Democrats are trying to choose between Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.</quote>
    • <quote>There is a chance that being repeatedly burned by the marketplace may actually help us; our natural skepticism may be something American society needs to hear. Most of our trouble – from the Bush 1 recession to the dot-com bust and the more recent economic pit of despair – has stemmed from unchecked optimism. The Xers have paid for that trickle-down optimism repeatedly.</quote>


  • <quote>If anything, our generation is characterized by not hitting a wall of midlife crisis but having crises throughout.</quote> attributed to Wendy Fonarow.
  • <paraphrase>Other generations say that we lucked out because there was no major war that took legions overseas, no presidential assassinations, no civil rights battles rocking our home turf. Not true, </paraphrase><quote>Our war was at home and it was divorce. They were some of the worst divorces in American history.”</quote> attributed to Susan Gregory Thomas.
  • <quote>There’s this incredible denial of middle age going on. It’s part of this extended adolescence now going into your 40s and 50s. People want to hang onto their youth, so in that sense you’re young-young-young ‘til you’re old.</quote> attributed to Patricia Cohen
  • <quote>Xers are deep into family formation, <paraphrase>The flashy car isn’t important, but building that calm, peaceful fort is.</paraphrase> Xers are keeping stores like Pottery Barn and Architectural Hardware solvent. I think they will continue to spend at home, on the home.</quote> attributed to Sheryl Connelly.

Via: backfill

The Perils of Macrohistorical Studies | Matthew Melko

Matthew Melko; The Perils of Macrohistorical Studies; In World History Bulletin, Issue 17; 2001-Fall; pages 27-32 (6 pages)


The Perils

  1. Reification
  2. Complexity
  3. Duration
  4. Forces of History [theory is seductive]
  5. Fame or Notoriety
  6. The Unified Theory
  7. Investment
  8. Ingenuity
  9. Ignorance
  10. Faith

The Alternative

  • rough cycles
  • long-term patterns
  • similarities
  • possibilities rather than actualities


[page 30] <quote>A few years ago, at a regional meeting, when I remarked to a young scholar that my study of general war was beginning to suggest that I couldn’t, with any meaningful accuracy, predict the onset of the next general war, he asked what use I thought there might be in such a study.

I asked if he were on a tenure track.   He was. “I have many years’ experience on Committee A of AAUP,” I said.  “I cannot predict the outcome of your application for tenure.  But I do know a great deal about the processes, adn the kinds of outcomes that do occur.  Might that be of any interest to you?”

He thought it might.</quote>


  1. Faith outlasting reason
  2. Something about framing, priors and reification.
    1. General War is a reification within civilization.
    2. Civilization is a reification
  3. Categorization fluidity; categorical drift; begin/end, naming and ranking (importance).
    1. When does a war begin or end? [absent a document; e.g. declaration of war, mobilization order]
    2. What is a great power; must it always participate or can it “influence.”
  4. More information modifies the hypothesis and the analytic structure
    1. Faulty or omitted information on history
    2. Manuscript construction is difficult; it has an investment
    3. Weaker arguments are buttressed rather than abandoned.
  5. Once published the analytic structure becomes a “text” and is reacted to as such
    1. (pseudo-)science is brought to bear upon it.
    2. Correlations and causations are teased out.
    3. It becomes supported
  6. Forces of History
    1. irresistible, seductive
    2. satisfies a religious the urge in a secular time
    3. fame, fright
    4. simultaneous events theory [world events]
  7. Ignorance
    1. If he had read even the basic literature, he would have known that …
  8. Faith
    1. You can’t read all the information.
    2. You have to have faith that reading some of it can extrapolate the rest.
    3. Faith remains after reason has departed.


See Table I: General Wars in World History; Table II: Outcomes of Successive General Wars

  • Hegemon [winner]
  • Previous Hegemon (PH)
  • Hegemonic Cycle (HC)
  • No Previous Hegemon (NHC)
  • Previous Hegemon Eliminated (PHE)
  • No Initial Hegemon (NIH)
  • System Terminated (ST)
  • Hegemon Initiated [the] Challenge (HIC)


  • Crame Bromtpm
  • E. H. Carr
  • Chase-Dunn
  • Fred Hoyle
  • A. L. Kroeber
  • Thomas Kuhn
  • Jack Levy
  • Matthew Melko
  • Midlarsky
  • Modelski
  • Martin Ryle
  • Thompson
  • Arnold Toynbee
  • Rasler
  • Vasquez
  • Wilkinson


also the endnotes of the work.

Matthew Melko

  • Fifty-Two Peaceful Societies; a book; 1973
  • “General War: No Sneaker Endorsements”; an article; 1996.
  • “Cycles of General War in World History”; In International Interactions; Volume 25; 1999; pages 287-299.
  • General War Among Great Powers in World History; a book; 2001

Via: backfill

The Saeculum Generational Theory of Strauss & Howe

generally in archaeological order (newer stuff on top, older below)


  • When did the Fourth Turning (Crisis) start?
  • Can participants of an era, of a turning analyze it’s properties?
  • How far away from an era must observers get before understanding it is meaningful?
  • What is the shortest timescale under which an era can be sensed (are half-generations nameable, meaningful)?
  • Can someone who is outside of a given life phase actually understand another life phase in some other way than a “bag of numbers” approach via checkbox interrogatories sampled across the law of large numbers?
  • Is it possible to think beyond 20-year time horizons in principled and consistent ways?


  • 2001-09-11 => World Trade Center & Pentagon Attacks
  • 2002-03 => Internet Bubble 1.0 pops, various terrorist atacks
  • 2003-03 => Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • 2004 => various earthquakes, bombings, storms
  • 2005 => Katrina Floods New Orleans
  • 2006 => North Korea nuclear tests
  • 2007 => Minneapolis 35W bridge collapse, EF5 tornado destroys Greensburg KS
  • 2008 => Financial Crisis


  • Life Phases
    • Childhood => 0-20
    • Young Adult => 21-41
    • Midlife => 42-62
    • Elderhood => 63-83
    • Late Elderhood => 84+
  • Seasons
    Ordering: High -> Awakening -> Unraveling -> Crisis

    • High => First Turning
    • Awakening => Second Turning
    • Unraveling => Third Turning
    • Crisis => Fourth Turning
  • Archetypes
    Ordering: Prophet -> Nomad -> Hero -> Artist (rinse & repeat)

    • Prophet => Idealist
    • Nomad => Reactive
    • Hero => Civic
    • Artist => Adaptive
  • Generations
    • Homeland => Artist (also Generation Z, Post-Gen, New Silent)
    • Millennial => Hero (also Generation Y)
    • Generation X => Nomad (also Generation 13)
    • Boomers => Prophet
    • Silent => Artist
    • GI => Hero
    • Lost => Nomad
    • Missionary => Prophet
  • Turnings
    • Current Era (unnamed)
      • 2008+ through 2025
      • Fourth Turning => Crisis
    • Reagan Revolution/Culture Wars
      • 1982-2006
      • Third Turning => Unraveling
    • Consciousness Revolution
      • 1961-1981
      • Second Turning => Awakening
    • Postwar Boom
      • 1946-1960
      • First Turning => High
    • Great Depression/World War II
      • 1925-1945
      • Fourth Turning => Crisis
  • Slices for Generation X
    • For The Crisis 2008-2025
      • Elderhood => Boomers who are Prophets.
      • Midlife => Generation X who are Nomads.
      • Young Adults=> Millennial who are Heros.
      • Childhood => Homeland who are Artists.
    • Nomad Life Experiences
      • Childhood => Consciousness Revolution (1964-1981), which was an Awakening.
      • Young Adult => Reagan Revolution/Culture Wars (1982-2000), which was an Unraveling.
      • Midlife => Current Era (2001-2008 .. 2025), which is a Crisis.
      • Elderhood => Next Era (2025+), which is a High.
Prophet Nomad Hero Artist
High Childhood Elderhood Midlife Young Adult
Awakening Young Adult Childhood Elderhood Midlife
Unraveling Midlife Young Adult Childhood Elderhood
Crisis Elderhood Midlife Young Adult Childhood

Generations in Anglo-American History

Generation Birth Years Famous Member Era in which Members Came of Age Archetype
Man Woman
Missionary 1860–1882 Franklin Roosevelt Emma Goldman Third Great Awakening Prophet
Lost 1883–1900 Harry Truman Dorothy Parker World War I & Prohibition Nomad
G.I. 1901–1924 John Kennedy Katharine Hepburn Depression & World War II Hero
Silent 1925–1942 Martin Luther King, Jr. Sandra Day O’Connor American High Artist
Boom 1943–1960 George W. Bush Hillary Clinton Consciousness Revolution Prophet
Generation X 1961–1981 Barack Obama Sarah Palin Long Boom & Culture Wars Nomad
Millennial 1982–2004 Mark Zuckerberg Anne Hathaway Global Financial Crisis Hero
Homelanders 2005-

See Generations of Anglo-American History, LifeCourse Associates

Implications & Derivations

  • <quote>In midlife, Nomads mellow into pragmatic and savvy leaders during a Crisis. Middle-aged Nomads make the personal sacrifices for the good of society that their elder Prophets weren’t willing to make during the Unraveling. The Nomads’ cunning and survival instincts make them well-suited to lead during a Fourth Turning. Many of America’s most memorable military, government, and business leaders were scrappy midlife Nomads (e.g. Generals Patton and Grant).</quote> ref


Overview, Review & Survey

Corpus & Canon

Paul Taylor (Pew Research Center); The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown; Public Affairs; 2014-03-04; 288 pages; kindle: $15, paper: $18; promotional site.
Paul Taylor, Executive Vice President of Special Projects at the Pew Research Center.

Neil Howe, William Strauss; The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy; Broadway Books; 1997-12-29; 400 pages; promotional site; a copy.

Neil Howe, William Strauss; Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069; Quill; 1992-09-30; 538 pages.

Press & Promotions


Jean Twenge

  • Contrary

Embodied Cognition

  • Probably
  • What you experience physically shapes you think, what thoughts you can think.

r/K Selection Theory

  • The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans; Anonymous Conservative; Federalist Publications; 2012-02-17; 280 pages; kindle: $10, paper: $26
  • Strauss and Howe’s Generational Theory, in the Context of r/K Theory; Anonymous Conservative; In Some Blog; 2013-06-14.
    • Definition: r/K Selection Theory
      • r-selection species spread parental investment across many offspring,
      • K-selected species focus theirs on a few.
    • Explanation: r/K Selection Theory
    • Analogical Reasoning <quote>
      • Crisis is r-psychologies confronted by the shortage of K-selection. This turmoil produces an adaptive shift in the population’s psychology towards a more K-selected, politically Conservative psychology.
      • High is the environment of r-selected resource excess that is produced by a majority K-selected populace, living in an environment where these rewards are enjoyed by those who produce them.
      • Awakening and Unraveling are just the leftists gradually increasing in number due to the r-selection, and fucking up a good thing until it all falls apart, and the Crisis returns.
  • The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics; a Book Review; in some blog; 2014-01-20.
    tl;dr => critical; <quote>bings back social Darwinism like it never went out of style.</quote><quote>Whether or not his neurological and psychological theories are entirely true, it’s a promising rhetorical strategy. It dehumanizes the left, fosters cohesion among the K-selected where there would be instead be competition for the diminished pool of resources, and tampers with the tendency among right-wingers to feel excessive levels of mercy, pity, and restraint towards rival populations who seek to subvert and destroy them.</quote>


richparents (Pew Research Center); Chart of the Week: Do firefighters or musicians have richer parents?; In Their Blog; 2014-03-21.

iGen? Homelanders? The Next Generation Needs a Name; Meghan Neal; In Motherboard; 2014-03-14.

Source: North Coast Investment Research, appearing in After Millennials

LifeCourse Associates; General Archetypes

LifeCourse Associates; General Archetypes