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X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking
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X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  496 ratings  ·  118 reviews
A shrewd and hilarious call to arms for the generation that fell between the cracks

Jammed in between the garish showboating of the baby boomers and the tabloid- trash stunts of the millennials, the discerning generation that gave us Yahoo! and Nirvana has been quietly and inexorably changing the face of American culture. The men and women who came of age in the era of Lo
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 27th 2008 by Viking Adult (first published 2008)
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3.46  · 
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 ·  496 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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I'm writing this nearly eight years after reading X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking; when it first came out, we had just recently elected our first Generation X president, and, collectively suffused with all the attributes for which this book praises our generation, the U.S. and much of the rest of the world was filled with hope and optimism headed into the future.

Oh, but how far we have fallen. Here we are about to inaugurate another B
Jul 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
I will pretty much listen to anyone who references the Replacements or Douglas Coupland. The focus of this giant essay is that X is still cool and vital. Being sandwiched in between the lame, culture-hogging and past-their-prime boomer generation, and the vapid, techno-dependent, Amererican-Idolizing "millennials," it's hard not to agree with him. One of his main points is illustrated by the notion that our generation was raised on multiple viewings of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which ...more
Nicholas Ozment
Jun 25, 2010 rated it liked it
I agree with many of the points Jeff makes, and share his outlook on issues surrounding contemporary pop culture. I find myself quoting from the book a lot; observations like these are so quotable:

"If Gen-X music tended to sound as though it came from a specific place—Seattle or Manchester, Compton or Minneapolis or the South Bronx—the new millennial soundtrack came across as geographically blank. It didn’t merely sound like something you would buy at Wal-Mart, it sounded like Wal-Mart itself: c
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing! If, after reading this book, you did not feel affirmed in all the choices you have made in your life and rededicated to never doing something that sucked again, then you really aren't a member of that generation. Like Gordinier stated in his book, it's not as much a matter of age but your relationship to the world. My wife and I founded and run a professional, not for profit, theatre company. Our first board of directors was made up of a majority of baby boomers who could not unde ...more
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Quick read that really explains what happened to Gen X. The strange thing was, I woke up one day and no longer was my generation THE generation. The author explains that we're smaller in number and therefore, have less purchasing power. Also, we're such cynics, how fun is it to market to a bunch of smart ass cynics?

A good discussion point would be what our kids will grow up to be like. Will they be cheerier than the bubble-gum-pop Millenials or will they be just as cynical as us GenXers? One cou
Jennifer Arnold
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
On one hand, I sometimes think a lot of this generational stuff is pop culture nonsense. On the other hand, I sometimes want to tell the boomers (peace! love! the 60s!) and the millenials (Look at me! MySpace! I'm special!) to shut it. Seriously. SHUT. IT. I'm tired of hearing about Woodstock, and at least I have an attention span significant enough to read an actual book.

Gordinier's point is that because Gen X is a smaller generation trapped beneath the behemoth boomer and millenial generations
Jason McKinney
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gen-Xers, Fans of Pop Culture, Anyone Who Wants to Laugh
Recommended to Jason by: Nick Hornby
Two phenomenal books in a row...all I can say is WOW! After 'The Way of the World', it comes as a complete surprise that I would so soon read another great one. Jeff Gordinier dissects the Gen X initial impact and how it lingers (Thankfully!) a decade and a half after the release of Reality Bites, long seen as one of the few mainstream pop culture touchstones of the X movement. Socialogically entertaining, funny and smart as hell, this one uses a great amount of cultural guideposts to make its ...more
Apr 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of 80s and 90s music scene
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a great five-page article spooled out into a book.
The first chapter or so are hilarious, and I laughed out loud many times.
Also learned that I could call myself a Gen Xer, which I didn't really know. Too young to be a Baby boomer, sure, but I was sort of proud of not being part of a defined group. Turns out this confirms my X credential.
As the author beats his topic to death, he throws in lots of details about 90s pop culture and rock concerts. I was too busy making a living, getting mar
Loved it. Ok, all of you born between 1964 and 1977, grab this book and read it. Things are not as bad as they seem for those of us caught between aging hippie parents and Generation Jackass. Yeah, we're sarcastic. ironic, and dark, but we are also amazing. This book made me nostalgic and fired me up. I won't change the world but I can change my immediate surroundings. I could completely relate to much of what the author expressed. Slackers unite! And grab a copy of this book and start reading.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not as preachy as I expected, and yet, inspiring and reassuring for someone like me, who often feels completely out of touch with the culture around me. If you were born in the late sixties or early seventies, you should check it out. You'll revel in the nostalgia and take heart in your future.
I loved this book. Though I'm at the tail-end of Generation X, it's ethos and sensibilities and culture have always been mine. This was published on the eve of Barack Obama, and it's my sincere wish to read what Gordinier would write about Xers navigating the tides today.

It's probably not normally the sort of book that I would give five stars, but it spoke to me so clearly and directly that I couldn't help myself.
David Rullo
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
An extremely quick read that does what you'd expect--talk about the great things about being part of Generation X, explains some of the contributions we've added to culture and society and briefly touches on how we can continue to make an impact now that we've been surpassed in the media by the millennials.

Reading more like a long essay, Gordinier fills his writing with pop references and important Gen X'ers in the world of technology and business. The book is only a few years old but already s
George Hunger
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
X Saves the World is a book written by a Gen Xer and written for Gen Xers. As a fellow traveller of the same underwhelmed and under appreciated generation, I have to say I had a hard time relating to the author on several fronts. Perhaps it was his fascination with Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit and the impact it had on American society...or maybe it was his love for the jarring effects of off beat movies like Pulp Fiction and Being John Malkovich...I dunno. Either way the author is a good wr ...more
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
I was really disappointed in this book. The author is pretentious, incredibly pretentious. To be fair, I am highly suspicious of "generational" talk anyhow - I tend to find it stereotypical and insulting. The beginning was kind of fun - lots of talk about what I remember of the 90s - but as the book moved on, I failed to see any point of its existence. The author definitely cherry-picked his events and pop culture that he felt defined Gen X. I only finished it because of my 2010 A-Z Titles chall ...more
Kate Sherrod
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My best friend from college and I were just across the Hudson River from Saugerties, NY the weekend of Woodstock '94, snarling and sneering the whole time at what we'd been very, very sure was going to be a mountain of suck, the Baby Boomer Generation having yet another stab at putting us in our place. We passed around a cartoon that his co-worker had drawn of what Woodstock '94 should really be like: mohawked punk stick figures stomping hippies into the ground, black helicopters spraying machin ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm a young Xer, but an Xer I remain, so this book had me laughing out loud at lot as he lampoons the more irritating foibles of our surrounding generations. And then the book takes a turn and instead of only poking fun, also takes a look at some of the Xers who are making the world a less sucky place, but are doing it without trumpet blasts and press releases and "everybody's doing it"s. Really enjoyable read, if you fall into this particular demographic. Older and younger folks are not likely ...more
Lori S.
Mar 23, 2016 rated it liked it
3.25 stars

How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking - I don't know, can we? I'm all for the smaller movements, of course, playing on the edges and gently steering people toward new ideas and paths, but do we Gen Xes actually have the voice loud enough to be heard over the Tweets? This book left me with more questions than answers to be honest.
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Some of this really made me "amen!" esp. the Millenial and Boomer bashing (something I've been feeling for some time but never felt articulated in the media). But the overemphasis on Nirvana was a little much (John Donne? Really?) and lost some of my interest, much as I love Nirvana. Ultimately, though, this book made me proud to be a member of Generation X and that is something. Yay, X.
Cecily Walker
May 20, 2008 rated it liked it
A little light on substance, but Gordinier's basic premise - that Generation X is quietly saving the world -- is an attractive one. Worthy of a read, especially if you're bored with boomers or terrified of tweens.
We Are All Mad Here
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I guess I just don't have the generational team spirit required to despise other generations quite so thoroughly as Jeff Gordinier does. Nor do I feel nearly as superior to "the masses" -- there are frequent mentions of "the masses." Supposedly, Generation X is above all that. We don't conform, we cringe at the concept of changing the world, we idolize Kurt Cobain for all he represented while we hate Americal Idol, for the same reason. We like things called "indie" quite a bit. We are so outside ...more
I’m at the tail end of GenX. This might be a 10 year old book written on the cusp of Obama’s election, but it still holds true (mostly) today. We are very much the forgotten generation. It’s scary to think that people are hoping that a generation raised on American Idol, bubble gum pop, and participation trophies is the hope of the future. Granted, many of my younger peers and the older millennials are turning into eco and bioterrorists while aping the Baby Boomer generation’s tactics of protest ...more
Tim Ford
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I whizzed through this like no one's business. Very funny. Also quite true. I would recommend to anyone.
Kathleen Jones
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
way too long, would have worked better as an expanded the essay/too much emphasis on alternative music and too political/very funny and in some parts/saved a lot of quotes
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
VERY good book about Gen X. Well written and overall a great read. I am fascinated by the study of generations, and this is a fantastic book to look at in that context. Recommended!
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sociology
Much Ado About NOTHING …

Good old Generation X, a mere pamphlet between the monstrous volumes that represent the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. While Boomers and Millennials get most of the press and glory (good and bad), there are “Gen X’ers” like Jeff Gordinier who are not happy with his perception that Generation X is dismissed as being insignificant. In his book, X SAVES THE WORLD, Gordinier makes a semi-humorous attempt to hang a relevance label on Generation X that comes across mor
Bob Redmond
In the last review, we were discussing THE GREAT FUNK, author Thomas Hine's boomer self-hatred and his dismissal of Buckminster Fuller (inventor of the geodesic dome).

How satisfying, then, to find in the midst of Jeff Gordinier's smart and enlightening book X SAVES THE WORLD, a description of regular gatherings at Fritz Haeg's "Sundown Schoolhouse" in Los Angeles. Sundown Schoolhouse is a place--a geodesic dome, in fact--where artists, designers, performers and writers gather. Haeg describes the
Aug 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: pop-culture
By all accounts, I'm the target audience for this books. I was born smack in the middle of GenX (and does it get any GenXer than that), a writer, and I grew up devouring the works of Douglas Copeland and the like.

Despite all that, I was never entirely engrossed in X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking. At its best, the book is a well-argue long-form essay about how Generation X views the phrase "changing the world." There are stories of regu
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Aimee by: the X-er librarian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a book that I want to share with my friends. Gordinier does a FANTASTIC job of capturing the thoughts, discussions, issues and music that I had all throughout my school days.

Gordinier does a good job of outlining the media's fascination with the tsunami that is the Baby Boomer generation and the lurid news fix on the youngest generation, the Millennials. Sandwiched between these two spotlight hogging masses is Generation X.

If you're looking for a strong call to action to save the world a
Amy Formanski Duffy
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Parts of this book were insightful, but a lot of it came off as whiny. Wah wah, no one realizes how awesome Gen X is. The boomers ruined everything! Gen Y is, like, OMG, SO SHALLOW! Gen Xers are the only people in the whole world who are clever, cynical deep thinkers! The generational stereotypes don't really work for me.

I'm technically part of Gen X...I think...The stats on what birth years are considered X vary, but I have a lot of the traits. I am wary of any big organizations, be they gover
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Jeff Gordinier is the food and drinks editor of Esquire and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. A product of Southern California and a graduate of Princeton University, he wrote 2008’s X Saves the World and co-edited the 2015 essay collection Here She Comes Now. He lives north of New York City with his wife, Lauren Fonda, and his four children.
“Generation X has marinated in the fat of boomer mythology for so long now that we're like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix when he's hooked up to all those tubes and wires in a tub of gelatin. We don't even notice.” 0 likes
“Viewed from the outside, fine, let people think we're an army of yupster antique dealers, puttering around in granny glasses and moth-eaten cardigans, fishing through a milk crate for that pristine vinyl copy of Daydream Nation while everybody else rushes home for the Clay Aiken Thanksgiving special. We know what's really going on. We're the ones lying in wait like a parking lot full of Trojan horses.” 0 likes
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