Book Review: Generation iY

Alright, for those of you who don’t have a lot of time, I’ve got the short and sweet review:

On the cover of the book, Generation iY, there’s a quote from Mark Bauerlein that calls this book “a must-read guide for parents, mentors, and teachers…” I wholeheartedly agree. So much so that I’m encouraging my boss to buy 30 copies for our Student Development personnel and everyone on our University Administrative Cabinet. This is more than a book, it’s a resource! Buy 30 copies and give’em to parents, mentors, teachers, and coaches.

There you go. If you’re still reading, then lets dig a little deeper into Dr. Tim Elmore’s latest book.

I’ll start by telling you that the beginning of the book, in fact, the premise that Elmore writes this book from…is depressing. It’s not good news. Elmore believes this generation, Generation iY (those kids born after 1990) are in trouble – for a variety of reasons.

The first chapters of Generation iY paint a picture of a generation headed for a trainwreck. Elmore describes the wide variety of influences that have resulted in a group of young people who are “overwhelmed, overconnected, overprotected, and overserved.”

I’ve got to be honest, what I like about the book I also struggled with: it starts with such a bleak picture. It’s not that I haven’t seen some of these tendencies in the students that walk the halls of my University, I just have a little bit of difficulty with the particularly negative generalizations that seem to plague this generation. Perhaps it’s because the same thing happened to my generation, Generation X. We were the slackers and the latch key kids. When the books started to come out that told how bad we were, I wanted to do everything I could to prove the sociologists wrong.

Of course, it doesn’t matter if you like reality or not. If anything, this book is a wake-up call to those who might think that everything is coming up roses with these students. Elmore admits he doesn’t know the future, he just wants to make sure the potential of a bleak future doesn’t become a reality. Every generation will face it’s share of difficulties and crisis to overcome. But as it is with each emerging generation, we were never their age. This book helps us see what kinds of obstacles this generation will have to overcome.

This book is really well-researched. This is why I had a like/dislike relationship with the beginning of this book. It provides a clear, concise, and compelling (great “C” words) view of this generation. It helps me get inside the heads of the students, their families, and the society in which they grew up. But it’s more than just information. This book is chock-full of application. For every question Elmore raises, he spends time answering with solid, practical advice.

The book is extremely readable. Real-life illustrations, quotations, and bullet-points keep the book moving at a user-friendly pace. This why it’s a highly recommended read for anyone who has these students living in their home (I have four!) or work with them.

There are a lot of additional resources that support and supplement the book at

To buy the book (or to buy 30 copies!) click here.

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  1. Great review.

    Read the book as well and agree that the pessimism early on is a bit frustrating if not somewhat accurate. I do feel like Elmore might have used some scare tactics to bring readers in, that almost made me put the book down.

    Not much talk of postmodernism in the book, almost like he was afraid of that label.

    1. Author

      I may go ahead and buy the books for him and simply turn in the receipt. Why waste time with the middle man!

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