Saturday, December 10, 2011


I just finished reading a fascinating book titled, Generations: The History of America’s Future from 1594 to 2069 by William Strauss and Neil Howe (written in 1991). Like a number of books I’ve read lately, this was recommended to me by a person in the audience when I gave my presentation, “How to Survive Retirement.” When I speak on aging and writing, I get some great reading recommendations. This book shows evidence of four repeating generation cohorts over the course of American history. The four types are idealist, reactive, civic and adaptive. The authors demonstrate that these four have occurred in order except for one glitch during the Civil War. I’m in an idealist generation, labeled Boom, of people born between 1943 and 1960. Although I’m reluctant to agree with a sweeping generalization that all generations fit this four bucket rotating pattern, the evidence provided by the authors is compelling. They make some interesting predictions for the future some of which has occurred in the last twenty years and some of which has not. Well worth reading.

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