The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30)

3.09 of 5 stars 3.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,129 ratings  ·  279 reviews
This shocking, lively exposure of the intellectual vacuity of today's under thirty set reveals the disturbing and, ultimately, incontrovertible truth: cyberculture is turning us into a nation of know-nothings.

Can a nation continue to enjoy political and economic predominance if its citizens refuse to grow up?

For decades, concern has been brewing about the dumbed-down popu...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 15th 2008 by Tarcher
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert GreeneThe Pact by Sampson DavisThe Shack by Wm. Paul YoungHoly Bible by AnonymousThe Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel
Men's Leadership Retreat
15th out of 22 books — 12 voters
The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen's Land by Paul ChristensenGeneration Me by Jean M. TwengeAdulting by Kelly Williams BrownThe Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. TwengeLean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Millenial Generation Books
18th out of 20 books — 2 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,553)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Danielle
This book was full of generalizations and sloppy assumptions. Bauerlain better hope this generation is dumb so that they actually buy what he's saying. He spends the beginning of the book spouting results from all kinds of surveys and studies indicating how poorly educated the Millenial generation is, which I don't doubt. However my issue is that he doesn't compare the results to any other generation. Seeing as how I recently read an article indicating that 44% of our elected officials couldn't...more
Shelley
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who plays a role in the education of teens - parents, teachers, administrators, pastors, etc - as well as anyone concerned about the intellectual well-being of our country.

His premise is simple but chilling. Bauerlein argues that on a daily basis "The Dumbest Generation" willfully abandons the kinds of intellectual pursuits that typically transform immature youths into responsible, sophisticated citizens, exchanging them for the alluring, yet mind-n...more
Nathan
Baulerlein has the statistics, but what he lacks is nuance, tact, and ultimately, objectivity. Under his steely eye, anyone under 30 is magicked into a mouthbreathing, illiterate cross between Britney Spears and Dennis the Menace. The shrillness of his rhetoric borders on ageism, sure to offend anyone under 30 who doesn't get all their information from Wikipedia or base their value on the worth of their iPod.
Lining
Okay, so...

I feel horribly insulted.

I mean, seriously. Are you saying that ALL young people today are dumb? That's pretentious and arrogant. Excuse me, but I don't spend all my time on social networking- in fact, very few hours indeed. And when I do, it's to talk to people who have similar interests, and who post in a very dignified, informational way.

HUGE eye-roll at the no-reading section. I'm 13 years old, and I've read more than 50 books this year, and I have the second highest point scor...more
Sophia.
May 22, 2012 Sophia. marked it as no-way-in-hell
Who the fuck is this guy anyway? Just the title of this book makes me wanna burn it. Mark Bauerlein, you and your stupid generalizations can fuck off.
Amy
This book was a particularly pertinent read for me since I find myself on both sides of Bauerlein's audience. Being under 30, I am as the title suggests, "not to be trusted" but as a teacher of today's youth, I see the repercussions of our society on education and am almost as frustrated as Bauerlein. (I truly believe no one could be MORE frustrated than Bauerlein; which may be a turn-off to some readers, but I find it refreshing in light of how our districts and administration tell us what meth...more
BC
I really enjoyed this book, and it provided some proof of what I have been experiencing as a teacher at a university. Students - even at a university - are reluctant to read any more than they must, don't take an interest in the material, and don't take an interest in the world around them. As a university professor, Bauerlain has experienced all these things himself, and now has the research to back it up.

As Bauerlain states, younger people (and I'm one of the under-30s; just barely, though) ha...more
Craig
The Dumbest Generation's premise is that today's kids are sorely equipped to handle the challenges of the lives they have ahead of them. The primary reason behind this, Bauerlain states, is that this upcoming generation (broadly people under 30 but more specifically people in high school) spend an ever decreasing amount of time reading. This rationale should come as no surprise when you consider that the author is an English professor. The author sees this decline first-hand in the classroom and...more
Matthew Ciarvella
"Kids today! They've been ruined by Dungeons & Dragons, comic books, rock music, not working in the steel mill for sixteen hours a day, computers and technology!"

I was going to tell you all the reasons why this book fails to prove itself as anything more than typical generational angst and ageist fear mongering.

Unfortunately for me, I am illiterate due to the Internet.

It is also the fault of the Leftists. And the video games. And the iPods. And MySpace. Etc.

The fact that the current generati...more
Derek
The thrust of the argument behind Mark Bauerlein’s excellent The Dumbest Generation is that the decline of American intellectualism has largely been influenced by the proliferation of technology, both in the classroom and in social settings, and that the main culprits behind the decline are the “Millenials” (my generation) and younger. It’s a well-argued and very well-supported premise throughout, and simply based on the limitations of a “review” such as this, much of the nuance and intelligence...more
Darcy
I would recommend this book to anyone, but it is especially relevant for educators in the liberal arts. Bauerlein makes ample use (sometimes overuse) of statistical data to prove his points, but I was more convinced by the fact that he confirmed much of what I have observed in my capacity as a teacher, advisor, and member of the Millennial generation. Bauerlein’s scathing observations and conclusions came as a confirmation, rather than a revelation.

Bauerlein argues that even though we live in a...more
Diana
Interesting read. I thought it funny how the book spent a great deal of time talking about how people aren't reading (especially the younger generation) and yet the author chose to write a book and...I was reading it! At times in the beginning I felt like I was reading the same information over and over and thinking I had just read this page as it was a lot like the page before and the page before. It got a bit long and dry at times. I found sentences to be very long at times and hard to follow...more
Daniel Solera
I was excited to read this book because I thought it would supplement my own personal theory about human development and the underbelly of technological advance. However, it did so only slightly. It postulates that kids these days are more likely to go to their rooms and watch YouTube videos than read Jane Austen or watch Jackass than listen to Brahms. This is true. In fact, that's something I'd likely do myself. But the book stops short of explaining the obvious in terms of neuroscience or beha...more
Keith
This book is a huge contrast to "The Kids Are Alright". In that book the contention is that technology today - video games, cell phones, computers have made today's younger generation smarter and more able to solve problems than the current generation. However, in "The Dumbest Generation" the argument is exactly opposite. The contention here is that screens - video games, cell phones, computers - have made the current generation one who haven't built the skills necessary to succeed in the world....more
Stewart
Mark Bauerlein's premise that the electronic world (Internet, Facebook, cellphones, iPads, etc.) is dumbing-down and disengaging younger people from the wider world is hard to dispute. "Most young Americans possess little of the knowledge that makes for an informed citizen, and too few of them master the skills needed to negotiate an information-heavy, communication-based society and economy." I have read the surveys and polls over the past three decades, some of which are quoted in the book, t...more
Scot McAtee
This author made me angry. He cited lots and lots of statistics, which can always be interpreted differently by anyone for any reason. While I would agree with a fair number of the generalized observations in this book, the author comes off sounding like one of those old fogeys who believes the young generation are worthless. The "explicit warning" to not trust anyone under 30 on the front cover should have been a tip-off.

I feel like the few hours I spent reading this book would have been better...more
Ian Zimmerman
A bitter, old man laments about the stupidity of the current generation. He shrieks about how the current generation performed worse answering trivia questions about geography, history, and classical literature. This is why this generation can't find jobs! They are uneducated fools! I happen to be very good at this type of trivia, but I know that being able to parrot and regurgitate info like the largest fresh water lake in the US doesn't help in today's job market. Thanks to internet, anyone ca...more
Jay
I am used to books like this describing a problem, discussing what the problem is growing into, and defining solutions. This one starts with some overwhelming statistical evidence of the decline of reading in the young. Frightening stats to be sure. The author takes this problem as a sign, along with other evidence, of a decline of intellectualism in the young. Where is this leading? Seems like the country won't have the people with the intellect and desire to run the country as things are going...more
Laura
"The Dumbest Generation" is a book that refers to the "Millennials" or those born after 1980. I will add my own distinction - it refers to those Millennials who are heavily saturated in the media and social networking culture.

The author reveals some startling statistics about the massive increase in viewing TV, video and internet content, the decline of intellectual pursuits and the attitude of arrogance associated with "alliterates". The word "alliterate" means a person who knows how to read,...more
Mitzi Moore
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chickens McShiterson
There is a slight irony to posting a review of this book on a social networking website (albeit one that focuses solely on literature). While Bauerlein's thesis is solid and most of his contentions are true in some cases, the book offers hardly any solid solutions, and instead comes off as an ivory tower polemic that solidifies one of the author's fears: that those who love literature and believe in its virtues are seen as stodgy fogies unwilling to embrace the digital age. Yes, teenagers utiliz...more
Jud Barry
The author visited my library last night and for the most part delivered the main messages from this book:

1. 24/7 digital connectivity (a.k.a. social networking, Internet 2.0) tends to exacerbate the peer-pressured, anti-intellectual predispositions of American youth. It didn't cause it, but it makes it worse.

2. Facility with technology is not the same thing as intelligence.

3. Reading books and reading online aren't the same. Reading books both encourages and requires long periods of focused att...more
Tim
On some levels, this is one of the more thought provoking books I have read in a while-- but often for the wrong reasons. Some of the author's observations seem inescapable realities, but I would like to have seen him spend more time on reasons:why is the youth of America "dumbing down?" How did we let this happen, and where can we go from here? As a kid, I it always seemed to me that my parents' generation was so much "smarter" than mine, their parents' smarter than their's, and so on. I still...more
Stephanie
Ironically enough, I think Bauerlein effectively and indirectly summed up the general feeling of his own book by his criticism of another critic on page 184, saying that the language used was "so elevated, so melodramatic, aims more for affect than information".
It made me laugh so I made sure to underline it.
I'm not afraid of being analyzed by the former generation, and as it is, this book didn't personally offend me for my own sake, but it did offend me for the sake of his own charge. It was sl...more
Lilian
A word of warning, I am under 30, so according to the cover, you shouldn't trust me.


Two chapters in and I already feel like hurling this book out the window. I felt bombarded with a staggering number of statistics, all basically telling me that my generation is spoiled rotten with entertainment while we cease to retain anything worthwhile for the "adult" world, turning us into ignorant, insolent people.

This book feels like it was not intended to be read by "The Dumbest Generation." I roundly sus...more
Colin Price
My first reaction to this book was a picture of Andy Rooney engaging in yet another curmudeonly rant about some absurd irritant at the end of 60 Minutes. I suspected I would find more Luddite assertions about how the students of yesteryear were so much brighter and more capable than today's youth.

I was wrong.

The year of my birth puts me right on the borderline between Gen X and the Millenials, and as a teacher, I work with this generation every day, so I have something of a vested interest in th...more
Jeff
May 17, 2011 Jeff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of generational non-fiction studies; non-Millenials
Recommended to Jeff by: my big sister
Warning: one o' my typical reviews follows—i rate the book 4 stars (i.e., really liked it) but i have written almost nothing positive about it. Beware.

In my "review" of Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation, i wrote that the first 2 chapters of The Dumbest Generation felt like a complete 180: whereas Brokaw provided no data to support the titular thesis that everyone of the generation that preceded his was inherently worthwhile and therefore should be revered as The Greatest, i anticipated (admit...more
Brendan
I’m going to characterize the book in a couple sets of bullets — things I think the book says, things I dislike about the book, and things I like about the book.

Things the book says

* Bauerlein argues that digital technology does not deliver on the promises its promoters have made. The millennials are told, from the moment they start mixing and Facebooking, that they see things in a different way, they are the digital generation, and that they are great. But these new skills don’t translate into...more
Seamus Enright
Synopsis:

Kids these days...playing around with their ipods and updating their myspace pages all day.

When I was their age I was reading The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom...it made a big impression on me as I've rehashed more or less the whole book here.

I used to listen to Jazz when I was a kid. My parents didn't get it because they were squares. Now kids listen to Rock which is a much less intellectually rich form of music...I assume so because I don't listen to any of it myself.

Kid...more
John Gillespie
The title of this book makes me wince, and I feel almost too embarrassed by it to post on Goodreads. Still, the book's premise is not as pessimistic as it appears. Bauerlein counters the grandiose hopes that technology will inspire a generation of geniuses with copious research that unanimously chronicles the struggles students experience with critical thinking, reading, writing, and more. I've never met a teacher who has worked with Millennials that hasn't compiled anecdotes to confirm the grow...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 85 86 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Empire of Illusion: what is the greatest casue for the failing of America? 1 12 Aug 13, 2012 04:58PM  
  • Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives
  • The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory
  • Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future
  • iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind
  • Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything
  • Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World
  • The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia
  • Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: How Self-Education and the Pursuit of Passion Can Lead to a Lifetime of Success
  • Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning)
  • Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
  • The Schools We Need: And Why We Don't Have Them
  • The Global Achievement Gap: Why Our Kids Don't Have the Skills They Need for College, Careers, and Citizenship—and What We Can Do About It
  • What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy
  • The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
  • And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture
  • Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality
  • The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom
  • The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
1023205
Mark Bauerlein earned his doctorate in English at UCLA in 1988. He has taught at Emory since 1989, with a two-and-a-half year break in 2003-05 to serve as the Director, Office of Research and Analysis, at the National Endowment for the Arts. Apart from his scholarly work, he publishes in popular periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, TLS, and Chronic...more
More about Mark Bauerlein...
The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking Negrophobia: A Race Riot in Atlanta, 1906 Literary Criticism: An Autopsy Civil Rights Chronicle: The African-American Struggle for Freedom Whitman and the American Idiom

Share This Book

“When a journalist in the audience asked if sticking solely to RSS feeds made her miss the “broader picture,” she snapped, “I’m not trying to get a broader picture.” 1 likes
“You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” 1 likes
More quotes…