Kids These Days

Human Capital and the Making of Millennials
Narrated by: Will Collyer
Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: History, 21st Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (194 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Named one of Fall 2017's most anticipated books by New York magazine, Publishers Weekly, Nylon, and LitHub

Everyone knows "what's wrong with millennials". Glenn Beck says we've been ruined by "participation trophies". Simon Sinek says we have low self-esteem. An Australian millionaire says millennials could all afford homes if we'd just give up avocado toast. Thanks, millionaire.

This millennial is here to prove them all wrong.

"The best, most comprehensive work of social and economic analysis about our benighted generation." (Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens)

"The kind of brilliantly simple idea that instantly clarifies an entire area of culture."(William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep)

Millennials have been stereotyped as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and immature. We've gotten so used to sloppy generational analysis filled with dumb clichés about young people that we've lost sight of what really unites millennials. Namely:

  • We are the most educated and hardworking generation in American history.
  • We poured historic and insane amounts of time and money into preparing ourselves for the 21st century labor market.
  • We have been taught to consider working for free (homework, internships) a privilege for our own benefit.
  • We are poorer, more medicated, and more precariously employed than our parents, grandparents, even our great-grandparents, with less of a social safety net to boot.

Kids These Days is about why. In brilliant, crackling prose, early Wall Street occupier Malcolm Harris gets mercilessly real about our maligned birth cohort. Examining trends like runaway student debt, the rise of the intern, mass incarceration, social media, and more, Harris gives us a portrait of what it means to be young in America today that will wake you up and piss you off.

Millennials were the first generation raised explicitly as investments, Harris argues, and in Kids These Days, he dares us to confront and take charge of the consequences now that we are grown up.

©2017 Malcolm Harris (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"This fiercely smart book is not just another 'millennial skilled chain restaurants' kind of thing. Instead, Harris dives deep into the ways that the millennial generation has been shaped by the capitalist economic forces at work now in America.... It's a must read for anyone who cares about the future of our society." ( Nylon)
"It is difficult to believe nobody has written this book before, although it is fortunate that Harris - who manages to be quick and often funny without sacrificing rigor - is the author who ultimately took up the task. In fewer than three hundred pages, he surveys the myriad hot takes on millennials - they're lazy, they're entitled, they're narcissists who buy avocado toast instead of homes, slacking on Snapchat at their unpaid internships - and asks, 'Why?'" ( Bookforum)
"Harris writes clearly and thoughtfully on key issues facing this generation today...[he] reveals the political, cultural, and economic climates that millennials need to navigate, along with the new issues, never seen in previous generations, millennials must address. Readers interested in sociology of class, economic history, and the millennial generation will find plenty of fascinating food for thought here." ( Booklist)

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A devastating dream of revolution

My generation desperately needs to organize and tear down the neoliberalism which is crushing our spirit and future. Look on our works and despair indeed...Kids These Days is a powerful reality check and call to revolution.

3 people found this helpful

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The time to read this book has already been stolen from you

This book will blow your mind and give you an urgent sense of responsibility for the future. Highly recommended reading for teachers, students and educators of all ages.

4 people found this helpful

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Wonderfully Depressing

This book will fill you with joyful depression as you realize the state of everything

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A hugely important topic, not a strong book

Millennials are in a terrible position. Job security is almost non-existent. Housing costs are out of control and with every passing year, affordable, dignified housing becomes harder to find, or even non-existent in some cities. The need to go to college or university just to get a job a few dollars above minimum wage is leaving new graduates with crippling debt. The precarious situation this generation faces is becoming borderline tragic and fact based, detailed knowledge of how it happened, and what they face, is something that needs to be spread far and wide.

The subject needs a timely, well written book, but this one is not that book. There need to be more facts, more numbers, more reference, and more excitement. It often has the tone of a sober academic book, which is fine for some subjects, but not this one.

You can see the potential in this book. The basis for something really great is there. But it lacks polish and depth. I suppose if you are passionate about understanding millennials and the struggles of this generation, then why not give it a listen, just as another resource. But for everyone else, I would suggest skipping over this book.

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Interesting View of the Millennial Generation

I might be biased given that I, myself, am a millennial...however, I think this was an incredibly thought-provoking look at how (and really why) we have grown into the generation that the older generations so vehemently despise, yet undoubtedly need. Harris really touched on multiple issues I have encountered throughout my 27 years and the grievances we share as a whole being a part of the millennial generation. I can also appreciate the obvious level of focus and time Harris must have spent gathering all of this factual information from several generational groups in an effort to compare and contrast to discover why we are the way we are and act the way we do. Every generation is a product of their upbringing, and the Millennials are no exception to this, yet we still differ greatly due to an exceptional number of circumstances that followed every decision and shift in political and economic power the generations before us created.

Beyond appreciating the actual material of the book, the book itself was spectacular! The material flowed gracefully between subjects and everything was connected thoughtfully. Collyer also did an incredible job of narrating this book. He was fluid and easy to understand but also brought an air of conversation and life to already interesting material and information. I would highly recommend every Millennial read this book. It really is almost a necessity because we cannot fix the issues we face today if we do not have a full understanding of how they came to be. I would also recommend it to literally anyone who loves a well-researched book with interesting information, a thought-provoking writing style, and a great narrator to keep you listening well past the time you really had available to read (which for us millennials is next to none at this rate - I technically listened to this while I was either taking a very brief moment to walk my dog, commute to work, or listen to while I was working; millennials really don't know how to just do one thing at a time haha).

If in doubt ‐ just READ (or rather) LISTEN to this book. It is definitely worth every minute!

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So informative!!

Great book!! I think more people should read. It gave a good understanding of our issues and concerns.

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Interesting read and take on millennial.

The author makes some interesting connections and conclusions, not all of which use a complete set of data. Interesting perspective worth reading.

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Need a more contemplative narrator

I'm sure the voice actor is talented and capable but the subject matter is serious and somber while his cadence is jolly and over excited.

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A Mixed Bag

The book serves as more of a commentary of modern society than a real exploration into Millennial culture and norms. It is still an engaging read (or listen, as it were) but it also falls prey to most of the sociology classes I took in college which is that it is highly critical of society and the methods we might try to use to fix the problems and inequalities but offers no insight in how we might actually set about making change. The book literally pokes holes in all methods of change and then implores our generation to act...but doesn't offer us even a first step on the path of a better tomorrow. That's not to say the criticisms are wrong it just gives us nothing to actually go on.

The narrator is awesome. Will Collyer definitely imparts a sense of irony and even sarcasm into the writing that made this an enjoyable listen.

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Light on data

References are used only sparingly, making it hard to recommend this title as much more than anecdote.

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  • Bjørn-Rune Hanssen
  • 07-05-18

Crucially insightful

I like to think of myself as well-read and a critical thinker. Malcolm Harris manages to provide well reasoned and evidenced analysis, using mostly information I already knew, that has made me re-evaluate and (most importantly) re-contextualise my personal analysis of our world and situation. While the focus is squarely on the US, that country functions well as a predictor of developments elsewhere, given that American tendencies to extremity has lead them further down the same path most level 4 countries («the west») are on.

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  • Michael H
  • 05-29-19

Good overview of what millennials face

Millennials are often told they are lazy or selfish, this book explains why they behave the way the do. I often felt this was a collection of facts rather than a book.