NOT LIKE OUR PARENTS: How the Baby Boom Generation is Changing America by D. Quinn Mills

NOT LIKE OUR PARENTS: How the Baby Boom Generation is Changing America

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A soft, indulgent overview of baby-boomer attitudes and their effect on American culture, by Harvard Business School professor Mills. Meet Biff a financial manager handling pension-fund investments for a rapidly growing company. Here comes Sue: a professional woman who runs her very own advertising agency. Mills has his two archetypal boomers, Bif and Sue, engage in a conversation (actually a reconstruction of many conversations with many characters) to focus on some central boomer traits and ""values""--never beliefs. By baby boomers--never yuppies, which Mills considers derisive--the author means that heaping chunk of the population born between 1946 and 1966. The Bif-Sue conversation, occasionally including the archetypal fogy views of 53-year-old ""Gary,"" frames Mills' much wider but often no less shallow classification and study of boomer culture. Mills identifies five distinct types: the competitors (the business-obsessed); the pleasure seekers (striving to enjoy life); the trapped (can't get out of a bad job or marriage); the contented; and the Get Highs (strung out on booze or dope). Mills examines each group in turn, but, despite his reliance on data culled from at least eight surveys, fails to avoid the generalizing and banal thrust of the Bif-Sue exchanges, or the interviewee who, sounding like something straight out of a baby-boomer soap commercial, stated without irony that ""I've gotten older, but I've gotten better."" Not so much a study of boomers in America as boomers in the American workplace--and a disappointingly insubstantial one at that.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1987
Publisher: Morrow