Book Review: (sort of) Grown Up Digital – Part 1

January 13, 2009

grownupdigitalI recently finished Don Tapscotts Grown Up Digital.

In my opinion it definately one of his best.

I pulled enough out of that text for several posts. Each will be part review, part random thoughts.

The book is about the impact that the Gen – Y, or the Millennial, or in Mr. Tapscotts’ term, the Net generation will have on the world as we know it. From retail, to education to the workforce.

It defines the criticisms often levelled at Gen-Y (IE entitled) and then provides evidence that the future is not as bleak as many of these criticisms would imply.

There are a couple of key generalizations in the text;

* that we can wrap a neat box around generational boundaries. I don’t think we can be that precise.

* the examples, anecdotes and interviews with Gen-Y are all primarily knowledge workers.

* the examples also are slanted towards leading edge Gen-Y, those already well into the workforces, with less emphasis on the trailing edge.

One of the issues often assigned to Gen-Y is a casual attitude towards work. Mr. Tapscott tackles that one head on and extensively documents throughout the text that the Gen-Y generation does not want the same ball and chain working environmemnt that their parents and grand parents had. But that it is not necessary to consider that a problem.

Woo Hoo!

I consider this a benefit that has been too long in coming.

Those of us above a certain age will remember mandatory 6 PM Friday do nothing meetings.

Will remember eight hours work deposited on your desk at 3 PM to be completed next morning for 8

Will remember phone calls at all hours demanding useless results for a particular period if time.

I for one am really looking for a change in that corporate ball and chain. If it takes Gen-Y resurgent to make it so;

so be it.

Traditional HR Recruitment – shelve it

Also in the workplace, Mr. Tapscott advocates that the traditional tactics of HR are broken, and should be shelved. He proposes a new paradigm of;

initiate, engage, collaborate, and evolve

My Take?

Why did it take Gen-Y to do this?

One random thought

Mr. Tapscott also mentions that it is increasingly common for Gen-Y to move back into the family home after graduation. A common criticism of this trend is the supposition that with their helicopter parents, the kids are just unable to make it on their own. Mr. Tapscott’s view it is not necessarily that way. His research implies that it is being more comfortable with the peer parent relationship, and taking advantage of the leg up.


I know my wife and I will argue about it, but just about every species from Penguins to wolves sacrifices to get their young out on their own.

So for me it is purely selfish – I don’t want them back!

I remember reading a statistic years ago that it could cost up to 100 grand to raise a child to age 18. Accounting for today’s dollars and a firmly middle class family with Gen-Y kids – that is probably low.

Extending that age to 26 or 27 would probably double it.

My winter coat is 20 years old, because the cubs want trendy new coats every year. My cell phone & plan are dinosaurs because they need to be on the latest and most expensive. I am tired of the family hauling car and feel that it is now my turn for an empty nester toy. Not to mention university and college costs etc etc.

I admit, it is selfish, but when they spread their wings and fly; fly far, fly fast!

And I still have pages of notes and random thoughts to go!

I think that is the sign of a great book don’t you?


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