The Vanishing American Adult

Our Coming-of-Age Crisis - and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance
By: Ben Sasse
Narrated by: Ben Sasse
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (1,645 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $27.99

Buy for $27.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times best seller - read by the author.

In an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, the country's youth are in crisis. Senator Ben Sasse warns the nation about the existential threat to America's future.

Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America's youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy.

Many of the coming-of-age rituals that have defined the American experience since the Founding: learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant - are being delayed or skipped altogether. The statistics are daunting: 30% of college students drop out after the first year, and only 4 in 10 graduate. One in three 18-to-34 year-olds live with their parents.

From these disparate phenomena: Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse who as president of a Midwestern college observed the trials of this generation up close, sees an existential threat to the American way of life.

In The Vanishing American Adult, Sasse diagnoses the causes of a generation that can't grow up and offers a path for raising children to become active and engaged citizens. He identifies core formative experiences that all young people should pursue: hard work to appreciate the benefits of labor, travel to understand deprivation and want, the power of reading, the importance of nurturing your body - and explains how parents can encourage them.

Our democracy depends on responsible, contributing adults to function properly - without them America falls prey to populist demagogues. A call to arms, The Vanishing American Adult will ignite a much-needed debate about the link between the way we're raising our children and the future of our country.

©2017 Ben Sasse (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Former college president and now U.S. Senator Ben Sasse reads with the clarity and confidence of a voice pro in this friendly warning aimed at America's parents, teachers, and governing officials." ( AudioFile Magazine)

More from the same

Author

Narrator

What listeners say about The Vanishing American Adult

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,212
  • 4 Stars
    298
  • 3 Stars
    88
  • 2 Stars
    26
  • 1 Stars
    21
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,110
  • 4 Stars
    260
  • 3 Stars
    68
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    13
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,036
  • 4 Stars
    276
  • 3 Stars
    93
  • 2 Stars
    25
  • 1 Stars
    21

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A truly non-partisan essay on being an American

I am a Democrat. I have never crossed the party line to vote for a Republican. This book is so visionary and well written that I am seriously reconsidering my absolute unwillingness to do so. Ben Sasse is a historian statesman cut from the same cloth as Cicero. He presents here and argument for America as an idea rather than a legislative agenda, and it is really inspiring. I highly recommend this book.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed this book, even as a socialist.

I enjoy hearing an alternative view even if it raised my blood pressure. Ben helped change my paradigm on lifestyle choices. I disagreed on several aspects but wish more politicians had his character. Thank you for this book.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Literate and Original

Since this will be stuck in many people's minds as a politician's book, and strictly it is, I should say that if it's in that genre it is the best one ever written because the rest are bilge. Better though to think of it as a well above average and sometimes excellent book in the society and parenting genre written by a literate and passionate person whom we hope to hear more from in the future. Very worth your time.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Really Important book about work, kids and school

From a Blue State Progressive Democrat...this is the work of a real conservative politician, but it is sound, brilliant and well informed. Ben Sasse is the kind of conservative liberals can listen to and agree with. He Obviously listens as well and knows his onions. He has a very good moral compass. If Congress were all as bright and decent and willing to take a deep and long view as does as Ben Sasse we would all join hands and agree. As it is this is a very important book by a master historian. All American parents should read this. Senator Sasse has his finger on the button of teenage education like no one else. A little bit too long is the only criticism I have of this excellent work.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I wanted to like it but I couldn't.

When I was in college I had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture from an anthropologist about the lack of "rights of passage" in many cultures today, especially the American culture. That was in 1998. So Mr. Sasse's revelation that this is a problem with millennials is a little late in the game. I agreed with the many differences between how I grew up, which was more than a decade before Mr. Sasse, and how kids today grow up but I'm proud to say that although my children did not work on a farm as he did and did not have a paper route at 5:00am on a cold winter morning, they are hard working and thoughtful individuals.

Too much emphasis in this book is placed on how great things used to be, how wrong they are now, with of course the exception of course with the Sasse family. Things are different, to be sure, and I fully agree with the current blur between childhood and adulthood. But more credit needs to be given to ways in which our young are much more savvy about the world than we ever were.

It may be the first book I ever return to audible

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must-read for every American

This was one of the best books I've read this year! Sasse clearly and eloquently articulates the form is citizenship historically crucial to the flourishing of the republic and he takes great steps forward in working to diagnose the challenges the currently face American society. As well, this book is a substantive contribution to the tradition of conservative political thought, and very enjoyable to read. Certainly a must-read for every American parent but still extremely valuable for any American more generally. I cannot speak too highly of this book! #Sasse2024?

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

old school..a little biased..but good

narrator was the author who was good. makes observations but fails to address deeper causes.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Correct, but Awful

Better titles for this book:
1. How to be Ben Sasse
2. The Solution to America's Maturity Problem: Ben Sasse's Childhood
3. Replace Immaturity with Hypomanic Addiction to Self-Improvement

Sparsely sprinkled with interesting insights, but mostly nostalgic excerpts from a diary, punctuated by quoting lyrics from artists like Tom Petty and Alanis Morissette as a strategy to encourage maturity. Culminates in a bizarre, fictional closing speech from a deceased president. Strange not to have enjoyed a book with which I so thoroughly and emphatically agree.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I'm working tomorrow <3

Loved it! Wise and well spoken, important and igniting. I'm am a 23 year old Dutch boy that just learned a lot, thanks.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoughtful, edifying, a must read for parents

I would recommend this book to every parents as a very thought provoking piece for where we are headed in America (the good and bad), and how we can praise the excellent and steer from the dangerous, and not physically dangerous but the danger of complacency in both work and education. As a farmers wife, raising 3 children (ages 5,4,2) who do varying levels of chores on the farm and in the home, I am saddened by the parents I see in my peer group who do not give their children work to do to contribute to the well being of the family and instead are coddled consumers that are growing up without a sense of what work is (which doesn’t have to be on a farm, but working hard at a task for the greater good). This is the most important non-theological book I’ve read in quite some time. Thank you for penning this, Senator Sasse.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-07-19

Thank you from down under!

I was sharing my thoughts on your book with an acquaintance, and boldly proclaimed I was thinking to write to you personally. After concluding the read I felt compelled. This space is to limited to touch on all the aspects, thought ideas and stories presented. Suffice it to say at 61 I still feel like I am emerging.. ha! I hope to share the love and passion presented in this book to encourage my charges (school teacher I am) be alert, be curious, be a doer be a learner and be alive! Thank you again... no nothing about American politics but you have my vote!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Matt
  • Matt
  • 02-18-18

Thought provoking

An excellent articulation of some of challenges facing youth today. As a high school teacher I am behind this book.