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Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World
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Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World

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SELECTED AS A 2008 BEST BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE ECONOMIST

The Net Generation Has Arrived.
Are you ready for it?

Chances are you know a person between the ages of 11 and 30. You've seen them doing five things at once: texting friends, downloading music, uploading videos, watching a movie on a two-inch screen, and doing who-knows-what on Facebook or MySpace. They're the first generation to have literally grown up digital--and they're part of a global cultural phenomenon that's here to stay.

The bottom line is this: If you understand the Net Generation, you will understand the future.

If you're a Baby Boomer or Gen-Xer: This is your field guide.

A fascinating inside look at the Net Generation, Grown Up Digital is inspired by a $4 million private research study. New York Times bestselling author Don Tapscott has surveyed more than 11,000 young people. Instead of a bunch of spoiled “screenagers” with short attention spans and zero social skills, he discovered a remarkably bright community which has developed revolutionary new ways of thinking, interacting, working, and socializing.

Grown Up Digital reveals:

  • How the brain of the Net Generation processes information
  • Seven ways to attract and engage young talent in the workforce
  • Seven guidelines for educators to tap the Net Gen potential
  • Parenting 2.0: There's no place like the new home
  • Citizen Net: How young people and the Internet are transforming democracy

Today's young people are using technology in ways you could never imagine. Instead of passively watching television, the “Net Geners” are actively participating in the distribution of entertainment and information. For the first time in history, youth are the authorities on something really important. And they're changing every aspect of our society-from the workplace to the marketplace, from the classroom to the living room, from the voting booth to the Oval Office.

The Digital Age is here. The Net Generation has arrived. Meet the future.

Product Details:
Author: Don Tapscott
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Publication Date: October 24, 2008
Language: English
ISBN: 0071508635
Product Length: 9.22 inches
Product Width: 6.3 inches
Product Height: 1.16 inches
Product Weight: 1.43 pounds
Package Length: 9.1 inches
Package Width: 6.1 inches
Package Height: 1.3 inches
Package Weight: 1.45 pounds
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Customer Reviews:
Average Customer Review:4.0 ( 51 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 found the following review helpful:

3Long on description short on prescription -- good reference not a must read now  Dec 23, 2008
By Mark P. McDonald
I had high expectations for this book based on Tapscott's prior work, the fact that this is based on a multi million-dollar study, and that Net Generation is coming into the workforce. I did not think that my expectations were too high, but I may be wrong, as Grown Up Digital did not deliver for me. It is long on description and short on prescription.

It's a good book, but not one that shapes your thinking like Tapscott's Wikinomics book, nor does it break significant new ground relative to all the other books covering this subject. I put this book down several times for weeks, to read other books, so it is more of a reference than a must read.

I would recommend reading Plugged In by Tamara Erickson as I think it's a better business book, one that is more focused and more valuable to readers than Grown Up Digital. I reviewed that book as well and found some issues, but it provides a more succinct, actionable and insightful focus - which were things that I had hoped for here.

Strengths:

The book is comprehensive in its description and treatment of the Net Generation and describing this generation as a group with its own values and behaviors that will have in impact on society.

The book looks at the Net Generation from different perspectives in terms of their impact on the workplace, society, education, etc.

The book provides some brief caricatures of the net generation so they are able to speak in their own words what is going on.

Challenges:

The primary challenge is the books single dimensional view of the net generation in terms of their adoption and use of technology. It does not take into account that this group grew up under a period of relative social, political and economic stability. Nor does it consider the future of being anything but a straight-line progression of the world in 2006. The economic conditions will be definitional to this generation, but unending growth and prosperity was an assumption beneath this book.

The book treats this generation as a single block; they are all well educated, western leaning, capitalism supporting, environmentally conscious individuals. Such stereotyping does not take into account the fact that any generation is made up of diverse people, with different backgrounds, needs and ambitions. I had hoped that the breadth of Tapscotts research would have done more than paint every net generation person the same.

The book repeats itself using the same assertions as answers for the different chapters. The fact that the net generation wants choice, customization, freedom and the like are all true, but Tapscott uses choice as the answer for every problem ranging from the workplace to society. That broad brush is too simplistic.

The book fawns over the net generation believing that they can do no wrong. This is a critical challenge in the book, as Tapscott does not seem able to look at this generation from an unbiased perspective. You see this in Tapscotts' response to people who have been critical of this generation; he basically dismisses these comments or explains them away. He labels people who have a less than rosey view as nGenerationphobic -- this labeling is a bad sign not found in his other work. Tapscott has personalized the 'do no wrong" in this generation throughout the book by referring to his children as the epitome of this generation and all that it can do. That personalization limits his objectivity and colors the value of the insights.

Tapscott frequently refers to his project being `definitive on this generation' however he does not show much if any of the data from this multi-million dollar study. He does quote data from other people's studies to the degree that it supports his argument. It would have been nice to see some of the data that is so definitive.

The whole issue of the Net Generation has been the focus of Don Tapscott's work for most of his career. I was hoping for more in this book, the result of a multi-million dollar study that seeks to be definitional about this generation. I have great hopes for the Net Generation, as do we all. This book is helpful in understanding that generation, but not powerful enough to define a generation that holds the future in their hands.

31 of 33 found the following review helpful:

3Good information but seriously flawed  Jan 08, 2009
By John C. Stepper
Like "Wikinomics" before it, "Grown Up Digital" is full of interesting and relevant facts, examples and quotes. It also gave me several things to think about or to research (including shelfari.com now owned by Amazon).

For example, I liked the 8 "net generation norms" - freedom, customization, scrutiny, integrity, collaboration, entertainment, speed and innovation - and how they're applied to various topics throughout the book including the workplace and consumerism. These 8 norms provide a useful framework for examining how the net generation may view or seek to change other areas.

However, for all the useful information, I find the style and tone of the book to be that of a self-aggrandizing cheerleader rooting for a cause than that of a serious analyst.

Examples:
- Applying the woefully over-hyped and overused "2.0" label to yet more areas (and even claiming credit for some as original thoughts) - "The 2.0 School", "Consumers 2.0", "Leadership 2.0", "Film 2.0", "Talent 2.0", "Democracy 2.0" and "Marketing 2.0, as I call it."

- Promoting that the book is based on a $4 million research study, then littering the book with 38(!) references from his 2 children as exemplars of the net generation plus more quotes from his wife, daughter's boyfriend, and kids' friends.

- Making broad sweeping statements with little or no backing. There *are* many useful statistics in the book but there are many claims which are backed up only by an anecdote or a quote from his children. In a section on memory and internet use, for instance, it is ridiculous to list "learning a new language of acronyms, like OMG and LOL" as evidence. Or, in telling one of several Best Buy stories in the book he labels all of the employees as being "vibrant and artistic and are into the latest and greatest technology and extremely passionate about storytelling (p. 150)" That's downright silly. (Clearly, the author has never been to Best Buy!) Why not just stick with the useful facts or stories and leave the pseudo-science and hyperbole aside?

- Employing an informal writing style undermines what are, in places, serious hypotheses. Combined with all of the familial references, it makes it unclear what is fact-based analysis and what is just first-person experience. There are far too many grating references to "net geners" and "boomers" as if they're two sports clubs. And, phrases like "this ain't your daddy's Internet" or "these kids are alright" or "Give us a break!" make the book feel more like a tract defending "the kids" than a serious work.

Despite its flaws, the book is still useful, but the hyperbole and cheerleading cause it to be less than it might have been.

21 of 24 found the following review helpful:

3Saved  Nov 29, 2008
By T. Johnson
While I fouund Mr. Tapscott"s book interesting I got a little tired of reading how the net generation is the answer to the world's present and future problems. It seemed to me that Mr. Tapscott's purpose for writing this book was to debunk any negative comments or research that he had ever heard or read regarding the net generation. According to Mr. Tapscott, other then their one negative of sharing too much personal information on facebook, the net generation will make all other generations pale in compaison.

13 of 15 found the following review helpful:

4A Net Genner on the Net Generation  Nov 28, 2008
By Quantum "neophyte"
I'll admit, I didn't read this book cover to cover. I spent about 3 hours reading it, which probably means that I `read' about half and skimmed the rest. This speaks both to the book's strengths and its weaknesses. On one hand, the book is clearly organized, with three levels of subtitles within the book making skimming much more efficient. On the other hand as a member of the generation that Tapscott is trying to describe, at least 60% of the information is intuitive to the point of banality.

What Tapscott does bring to the table, however, is a quantitative approach to how the Net Generation is truly different from those preceding it, with some concrete information deeper than our ubiquitously cited ability to multitask or our improved hand eye coordination. His chapter on "The Net-generation Brain" contained some interesting statistics. For example, he discusses how 10,000 hours of video games and 20,000 hours of internet before age 20, have a positive effect on our ability to process visual information in rapid and complex ways. Additionally, like the Economist review that introduced me to the book, I believe the chapter on `Obama, Social Networks, and Digital engagement' is the primary selling point for the book with interesting anecdotes and a broad view picture of its effectiveness, although the book was published too early to claim it was the reason for his victory.

In the end, there's not enough new information contained in this book for a blanket recommendation. It is has enough to interest genre hacks willing to wade through the banalities, or those who have not yet been exposed to Net Gen ideas. I guess that means I should recommend this book to my mother.

5 of 5 found the following review helpful:

2Repetitive and Lacking Evidence  May 07, 2009
By Amazon Customer
I was assigned to read this book for a college course and after reading the Introduction I was looking forward to it. The first few chapters provide intriguing incite on the next greatest generation, the Net Generation. After the author presents his main arguments, my interest took a sharp turn downward. In the middle chapters, I find Tapscott to be VERY repetitive. He keeps repeating his arguments over and over with no newly found evidence to support them. Also, I was disappointed when he constantly referred to his kids as a prime example of the "smartest generation." He does use the findings of some interesting studies, but then immediately brags about how his kids use technology and how he is amazed at how they understand it so easily. I was personally unimpressed.

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