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

3.11  ·  Rating Details ·  1,618 Ratings  ·  350 Reviews
This shocking, surprisingly entertaining romp into the intellectual nether regions of today's underthirty set reveals the disturbing and, ultimately, incontrovertible truth: cyberculture is turning us into a society of know-nothings.

The Dumbest Generation is a dire report on the intellectual life of young adults and a timely warning of its impact on American democracy and
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Kindle Edition, 284 pages
Published (first published May 15th 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Danielle
Sep 29, 2008 Danielle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nathan
Dec 13, 2008 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Matthew Ciarvella
Feb 13, 2013 Matthew Ciarvella rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
"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
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Derek
Jul 19, 2010 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lining
Apr 24, 2009 Lining rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Amy
Jul 21, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
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
Mike (the Paladin)
I'm of the generation who's members (not me personally by the way) were noted for saying, "don't trust anyone over 30". It seems that that may have flipped to "don't trust anyone under 30". From Jay Leno's "Jay Walking" to general scholarship and willingness to think this is an interesting book.

Try it yourself.
Sophia.
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.
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
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Darcy
Jan 27, 2014 Darcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Scot McAtee
Sep 20, 2011 Scot McAtee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ian Zimmerman
Jul 16, 2013 Ian Zimmerman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Craig
Oct 13, 2008 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Diana
Dec 20, 2011 Diana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mitzi Moore
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
BC
Jan 28, 2009 BC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lilian
Dec 21, 2011 Lilian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Brenda
Apr 22, 2010 Brenda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bauerlein is a crotchety old republican bragging about is own "intelligence" and ragging on, "those darn kids."
Jeff
Jan 01, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mel
Jul 24, 2011 Mel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is without a doubt the worst book I read all year. I read it for library school, thinking that it, like Jackson’s “Distracted” might have something useful to say on the subject of information literacy, or at least what skills people needed, but no. It was so poorly written and poorly argued. It was just tirade after tirade about how teens today are stupid and lazy and don’t appreciate the arts and books the way they should. It blamed technology for all of students’ ills, when it wasn’t blam ...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
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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
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
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Keith
Jun 24, 2013 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Megan Saia
Feb 01, 2015 Megan Saia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this ridiculous book less than one star, I would. Bauerlein is an inconsiderate, uninformed prick who contradicts himself throughout the book and chooses to include only negative statistics in hopes of persuading some moron that technology has ruined every person under the age of 30. To him, there are no exceptions to this devastation, none of use enjoy a good book, a visit to a museum, or care to learn about our nation's history. I'm thinking that Bauerlein should invest in a co ...more
Marjorie
Feb 04, 2009 Marjorie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy, I didn't even get all the way through this book and I am not even PART of the dumbest generation! It was chock-full of statistics and that is partially what made me sleepy about this book. Yawn - boooring. Yeah, some people are dumb - fact. Some people are not - also a fact. Ignorance does not discriminate by generation. Lumping an entire generation together and adorning them with a dunce hat, well that is just not fair. I think more needs to be addressed in terms of what part the school ...more
Petra Willemse
Jul 30, 2011 Petra Willemse rated it did not like it
I read this book knowing I wouldn't agree with its premise, but hoping to still be convinced by some of Bauerlein's points. Unfortunately, I found his generalizations to be as sweeping and irrational as the 'techno-cheerleaders' he accuses of promoting the 'Dumbest Generation'. Without going into great detail, those that agree with Bauerlein before they pick up his book are going to find arguments to complement their point of view; the rest of us - the techno-cheerleaders - will fail to be convi ...more
Sara
This year, if you have the chance to read only *ONE* hand-wringing book about today's stupid kids who are engrossed in their stupid technology with stupid results, written by a crabby, smug, envious, out of touch, statistic-spewing Baby Boomer, do yourself a big favor and choose one other than this.



Loveliest Evaris
Two spiteful stars

Oh I have so much beef with this book, you have no idea. Let me preface this review with the fact that it will come off as "I'm not like those teenagers. I'm super special you guys!" but I truly do not mean to; it just will look and sound like I am.

I love reading. I always have and I always will, even if I may not divest a lot of personal time in the activity as of late.

In this spoiler there is a rambling of my history with books and reading in general (view spoiler)
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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...

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“For education to happen, people must encounter worthwhile things outside their sphere of interest and brainpower.” 2 likes
“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
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