This title is not available in our membership service

We’re working with the publisher to make it available as soon as possible.

Request Title
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 culture.

For decades, concern has been brewing about the dumbed-down popular culture available to young people and the impact it has on their futures. But at the dawn of the digital age, many thought they saw an answer: the internet, email, blogs, and interactive and hyper-realistic video games promised to yield a generation of sharper, more aware, and intellectually sophisticated children. The terms “information superhighway” and “knowledge economy” entered the lexicon, and we assumed that teens would use their knowledge and understanding of technology to set themselves apart as the vanguards of this new digital era.

That was the promise. But the enlightenment didn’t happen. The technology that was supposed to make young adults more aware, diversify their tastes, and improve their verbal skills has had the opposite effect. According to recent reports from the National Endowment for the Arts, most young people in the United States do not read literature, visit museums, or vote. They cannot explain basic scientific methods, recount basic American history, name their local political representatives, or locate Iraq or Israel on a map. The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future is a startling examination of the intellectual life of young adults and a timely warning of its impact on American culture and democracy.

Over the last few decades, how we view adolescence itself has changed, growing from a pitstop on the road to adulthood to its own space in society, wholly separate from adult life. This change in adolescent culture has gone hand in hand with an insidious infantilization of our culture at large; as adolescents continue to disengage from the adult world, they have built their own, acquiring more spending money, steering classrooms and culture towards their own needs and interests, and now using the technology once promoted as the greatest hope for their futures to indulge in diversions, from MySpace to multiplayer video games, 24/7.

Can a nation continue to enjoy political and economic predominance if its citizens refuse to grow up? Drawing upon exhaustive research, personal anecdotes, and historical and social analysis, The Dumbest Generation presents a portrait of the young American mind at this critical juncture, and lays out a compelling vision of how we might address its deficiencies. The Dumbest Generation pulls no punches as it reveals the true cost of the digital age—and our last chance to fix it.
Published: Penguin Group on
ISBN: 9781440636899
List price: $12.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Bauerlein pulls together some compelling statistics and makes some interesting observations. Anti-intellectualism in American society is a very real crisis, and he does a good but incomplete job in pointing to some of the reasons why. The issues he discusses regarding the impact of the Internet and other technologies are more thoughtfully addressed in Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. For an astute critique of the American education system, see Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System.more
The optimist in me sure didn't want to believe many of the clas in this book, but the realist in me did. Unfortunately for my children it provided me with reasons to continue limiting screen time and being an old fogey.more
Despite its regrettable title, this book delivers, not only a clear definition of the problems of the igeneration, but also an insightful approach to mending the digital age's neuroses and harnessing its greatest contributions.more
A lot of statistics, not enough analysis of them. Read like a research report. Not as thought-provoking as I'd hoped. more
I am so tired of sensationalist, chicken little, sky is falling books like this.According to the author,Mark Bauerlein, the internet is making young people ignorant about just about anything, and destroying their ability to read. As a society, we are apparently doomed.I would be worried, but at 55 years of age I have heard it all before.When I was a kid it was television that was turning children away from books. Before that it was crime and horror comics (remember "The Seduction of the Innocent"?). And before that it was radio.In 1955 "Why Johnny Can't Read" was the eighth best selling non-fiction book of the year. It was a "shocking" expose of how the suburbs were failing our children, and how suburban schools were churning out kids who didn't know how to read.That was 54 years ago, for the love of heaven. And in spite of the claims of Bauerlein and his many predecessors more books are being printed and sold (and presumably read) than ever before.In his book Bauerlein points out that many high school graduates today do not have the basic reading and writing skills that are needed to succeed in university and, later, in life.That is true, and it's a concern. I am frequently stunned by the poor quality of the resumes that potential job seekers submit to my office.But it is not, as Bauerlein wants us to believe,a new problem that has arisen since, and because of, the birth of the internet.In my first year of university well over half of the first year students were sent to remedial reading and writing classes. That was 37 years ago, in 1972 (this review is really starting to make me feel old).Another point that the author of The Dumbest Generation tries to make is that young people do not "read" the internet in the same way that older people read books. Instead, they quickly scan a web page and, if nothing catches their interest, move on. They also bounce back and forth from site to site,instead of focusing on one at a time. From this and similar data the author jumps to the conclusion that young people are losing the ability to focus and, therefore, are losing the ability to read books.Well, I'm 55 years old and read web pages in pretty much exactly the same way that the author complains that the internet generation does. That hasn't stopped me from reading the better part of 100 books each year.There have always been kids who love to read, and kids who hate it. My brother has probably read less than 20 novels in his life, but he still managed to obtain a degree in engineering and is extraordinarily bright.He has three sons. They all grew up with the internet, love computer games, and text constantly.The 17 year old is a strong reader. The 15 year old doesn't read a lot of books, but he devours the daily newspaper. And the best word to describe the 12 year old's reading habits is "voracious". He always has his nose in a book.My clerk's 8 year old daughter also loves to read. Her birthday is approaching, and she gave her parents a list of 10 books that she wants.In my job I regularly deal with a lot of young people, and my personal experience after 30 years is that they are no different today than they were when I started. Most are great, some are rotten. Some are brilliant, most are bright, and some are "intellectually challenged". The Dumbest Generation is yet another book that relies on scare tactics and slanted research to rack up sales and make money for the author. I never felt that Bauerlein actually believed what he was writing- he's just out to make a fast buck.He is, by the way, a professor who is paid to teach the dumbest generation. Must be a real joy to be one of his studentsmore
Read all 7 reviews

Reviews

Bauerlein pulls together some compelling statistics and makes some interesting observations. Anti-intellectualism in American society is a very real crisis, and he does a good but incomplete job in pointing to some of the reasons why. The issues he discusses regarding the impact of the Internet and other technologies are more thoughtfully addressed in Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. For an astute critique of the American education system, see Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System.more
The optimist in me sure didn't want to believe many of the clas in this book, but the realist in me did. Unfortunately for my children it provided me with reasons to continue limiting screen time and being an old fogey.more
Despite its regrettable title, this book delivers, not only a clear definition of the problems of the igeneration, but also an insightful approach to mending the digital age's neuroses and harnessing its greatest contributions.more
A lot of statistics, not enough analysis of them. Read like a research report. Not as thought-provoking as I'd hoped. more
I am so tired of sensationalist, chicken little, sky is falling books like this.According to the author,Mark Bauerlein, the internet is making young people ignorant about just about anything, and destroying their ability to read. As a society, we are apparently doomed.I would be worried, but at 55 years of age I have heard it all before.When I was a kid it was television that was turning children away from books. Before that it was crime and horror comics (remember "The Seduction of the Innocent"?). And before that it was radio.In 1955 "Why Johnny Can't Read" was the eighth best selling non-fiction book of the year. It was a "shocking" expose of how the suburbs were failing our children, and how suburban schools were churning out kids who didn't know how to read.That was 54 years ago, for the love of heaven. And in spite of the claims of Bauerlein and his many predecessors more books are being printed and sold (and presumably read) than ever before.In his book Bauerlein points out that many high school graduates today do not have the basic reading and writing skills that are needed to succeed in university and, later, in life.That is true, and it's a concern. I am frequently stunned by the poor quality of the resumes that potential job seekers submit to my office.But it is not, as Bauerlein wants us to believe,a new problem that has arisen since, and because of, the birth of the internet.In my first year of university well over half of the first year students were sent to remedial reading and writing classes. That was 37 years ago, in 1972 (this review is really starting to make me feel old).Another point that the author of The Dumbest Generation tries to make is that young people do not "read" the internet in the same way that older people read books. Instead, they quickly scan a web page and, if nothing catches their interest, move on. They also bounce back and forth from site to site,instead of focusing on one at a time. From this and similar data the author jumps to the conclusion that young people are losing the ability to focus and, therefore, are losing the ability to read books.Well, I'm 55 years old and read web pages in pretty much exactly the same way that the author complains that the internet generation does. That hasn't stopped me from reading the better part of 100 books each year.There have always been kids who love to read, and kids who hate it. My brother has probably read less than 20 novels in his life, but he still managed to obtain a degree in engineering and is extraordinarily bright.He has three sons. They all grew up with the internet, love computer games, and text constantly.The 17 year old is a strong reader. The 15 year old doesn't read a lot of books, but he devours the daily newspaper. And the best word to describe the 12 year old's reading habits is "voracious". He always has his nose in a book.My clerk's 8 year old daughter also loves to read. Her birthday is approaching, and she gave her parents a list of 10 books that she wants.In my job I regularly deal with a lot of young people, and my personal experience after 30 years is that they are no different today than they were when I started. Most are great, some are rotten. Some are brilliant, most are bright, and some are "intellectually challenged". The Dumbest Generation is yet another book that relies on scare tactics and slanted research to rack up sales and make money for the author. I never felt that Bauerlein actually believed what he was writing- he's just out to make a fast buck.He is, by the way, a professor who is paid to teach the dumbest generation. Must be a real joy to be one of his studentsmore
Load more
scribd