Kids These Days – Malcolm Harris
Kids These Days – Human Capital and the Making of Millennials.
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 hard-working 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.
Named one of Fall 2017’s most anticipated books by New York Magazine, Nylon, and LitHub.
“A landmark…Harris is a peerless observer of the harrowing economic costs of ‘meritocracy’.”―n+1
“The first major accounting of the millennial generation written by someone who belongs to it.”―Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
“Malcolm Harris’s thesis is the kind of brilliantly simple idea that instantly clarifies an entire area of culture: Millennials are the way they are-anxious, harried, and ‘narcissistically’ self-focused, though hardly lazy or entitled-because the neoliberal economy has made them so. When we raise children in a world that reduces people to ‘human capital’, then bids down the price of that resource, what else should we expect? Kids These Days is deft, witty, unillusioned, and brutally frank. Read it and weep, puke, scream.”―William Deresiewicz, New York Times bestselling author of Excellent Sheep
“Kids These Days is the best, most comprehensive work of social and economic analysis about our benighted generation. Malcolm Harris matches Naomi Klein for depth of research and Jane Jacobs for systemic vision. If you’re a millennial who feels economically jinxed and unfairly spat-upon, but can’t say why, cram this book in your brain; if you think millennials are lazy and entitled, cram this book in your mouth. Fascinating, infuriating, and bulging with receipts, Kids These Days shows us why no space is safe.”―Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens
“This fiercely smart book is not just another ‘millennials killed 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
“An informative study of why the millennial generation faces more struggles than expected, despite the hard work they’ve invested in moving ahead.”―Kirkus
“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
“Malcolm Harris restores a good deal of precision to the business of defining the millennial and generational discourse in general. Adhering to a Marxian and behaviorist account of society, Harris argues that you cannot understand millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000, which include him, and me for that matter – without examining the political, economic and social institutions that nurtured them… Through this lens we get a sweeping sketch of the bleak, anxiety-ridden lives of young Americans… Harris is at his most forceful when arguing that society conspires to make life worse for young people.”―Financial Times
Malcolm Harris is a freelance writer and an editor at The New Inquiry. His work has appeared in the New Republic, Bookforum, the Village Voice, n+1, and the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Philadelphia.
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