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a time of creative destruction


Slackonomics: Generation X in the Age of Creative Destruction is a smartly written book that doesn’t go over your head. With references to Alex P. Keaten and Melrose Place, Lisa Chamberlain deftly defines a post-boomer generation driven by economic insecurity and the flood of human potential unleashed by new technology.

“Slackonomics is not an academic white paper; it is written for people who … understand family dynamics from watching Married With Children and The Simpsons. It is written for women who got in touch with their post-feminist rage through riot grrrl music and Thelma and Louise. It is written for people who might have dabbled in Corporate America, but found themselves working at one time or another in an entirely new arena or as free agents without having exactly planned for it. It is written for people who, regardless of whether they have taken a traditional route to marriage, parenthood, and homeownership, still don’t exactly fell (or look or act) like ‘grown-ups.’”

“After spending years in the shadow of baby-boomers only to find themselves facing the prospects of economic ruin and environmental meltdown, Xers are realizing the time may finally have arrived for them to be in charge.”

This book is not just economic babble. Chamberlain sprinkles chapters with the stories of real Xers: “from artists unwilling to starve to MBAs unwilling to be corporate tools, economic instability inadvertently created an entire generation of practical risk-takers.”

She also cites many noted economists, studies, news reports and relevant pop culture references, including Oprah, Reality Bites, Seinfeld, Donnie Darko, Beck and Guns ‘N Roses.

“… one definition of happiness for Gen X is the ability to translate creative freedom into market share.”

Chamberlain talks about love, money, McMansions, suburbia and why marriage isn’t the household staple it used to be. More women are waiting to have kids, Chamberlain says, and men are more involved in child rearing. Gender neutrality is a growing theme.

Everything Chamberlain discusses seems so familiar, but she takes it further into an analytical state, giving more meaning to what is happening in the world today.

“Yes, markets are self-correcting – eventually. But how devastating the correction will have to be is, like it or not, up to us: a generation that started young adulthood as outliers and losers, but has since bridged the analog and digital worlds, created alternatives to Corporate America, endured the dot-com and real estate bubbles, adapted to and even pioneered the technological revolution and globalization without much in the way of security (i.e., universal health insurance, pensions, etc.), transformed long-standing institutions such as married and parenthood – and all the while maintaining our sense of humor. We’re going to need it.”

Rarely do you find a fluid and entertaining book of great intellectual value. You’ll feel comforted, enlightened and validated when you pick up Slackonomics (and don’t let the title distract you).

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“a time of creative destruction”