Hot Best Seller

Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood

Availability: Ready to download

Life for emerging adults is vastly different today than it was for their counterparts even a generation ago. Young people are waiting longer to marry, to have children, and to choose a career direction. As a result, they enjoy more freedom, opportunities, and personal growth than ever before. But the transition to adulthood is also more complex, disjointed, and confusing. I Life for emerging adults is vastly different today than it was for their counterparts even a generation ago. Young people are waiting longer to marry, to have children, and to choose a career direction. As a result, they enjoy more freedom, opportunities, and personal growth than ever before. But the transition to adulthood is also more complex, disjointed, and confusing. In Lost in Transition, Christian Smith and his collaborators draw on 230 in-depth interviews with a broad cross-section of emerging adults (ages 18-23) to investigate the difficulties young people face today, the underlying causes of those difficulties, and the consequences both for individuals and for American society as a whole. Rampant consumer capitalism, ongoing failures in education, hyper-individualism, postmodernist moral relativism, and other aspects of American culture are all contributing to the chaotic terrain that emerging adults must cross. Smith identifies five major problems facing very many young people today: confused moral reasoning, routine intoxication, materialistic life goals, regrettable sexual experiences, and disengagement from civic and political life. The trouble does not lie only with the emerging adults or their poor individual decisions but has much deeper roots in mainstream American culture--a culture which emerging adults have largely inherited rather than created. Older adults, Smith argues, must recognize that much of the responsibility for the pain and confusion young people face lies with them. Rejecting both sky-is-falling alarmism on the one hand and complacent disregard on the other, Smith suggests the need for what he calls "realistic concern"--and a reconsideration of our cultural priorities and practices--that will help emerging adults more skillfully engage unique challenges they face. Even-handed, engagingly written, and based on comprehensive research, Lost in Transition brings much needed attention to the darker side of the transition to adulthood.


Compare

Life for emerging adults is vastly different today than it was for their counterparts even a generation ago. Young people are waiting longer to marry, to have children, and to choose a career direction. As a result, they enjoy more freedom, opportunities, and personal growth than ever before. But the transition to adulthood is also more complex, disjointed, and confusing. I Life for emerging adults is vastly different today than it was for their counterparts even a generation ago. Young people are waiting longer to marry, to have children, and to choose a career direction. As a result, they enjoy more freedom, opportunities, and personal growth than ever before. But the transition to adulthood is also more complex, disjointed, and confusing. In Lost in Transition, Christian Smith and his collaborators draw on 230 in-depth interviews with a broad cross-section of emerging adults (ages 18-23) to investigate the difficulties young people face today, the underlying causes of those difficulties, and the consequences both for individuals and for American society as a whole. Rampant consumer capitalism, ongoing failures in education, hyper-individualism, postmodernist moral relativism, and other aspects of American culture are all contributing to the chaotic terrain that emerging adults must cross. Smith identifies five major problems facing very many young people today: confused moral reasoning, routine intoxication, materialistic life goals, regrettable sexual experiences, and disengagement from civic and political life. The trouble does not lie only with the emerging adults or their poor individual decisions but has much deeper roots in mainstream American culture--a culture which emerging adults have largely inherited rather than created. Older adults, Smith argues, must recognize that much of the responsibility for the pain and confusion young people face lies with them. Rejecting both sky-is-falling alarmism on the one hand and complacent disregard on the other, Smith suggests the need for what he calls "realistic concern"--and a reconsideration of our cultural priorities and practices--that will help emerging adults more skillfully engage unique challenges they face. Even-handed, engagingly written, and based on comprehensive research, Lost in Transition brings much needed attention to the darker side of the transition to adulthood.

30 review for Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Quenton

    I wish that he'd kept the religion out of his sociology. Considering that such a minority of the sample of emerging adults he chose to study don't feel like religion is significant in their moral decision making at all, why would it be a running theme throughout the book? Probably because Christian Smith is the director of Center for the Study if Religion and Society and the Principal Investigator of the National Study of Youth and Religion. His promises to disclose the "values" in their sociolo I wish that he'd kept the religion out of his sociology. Considering that such a minority of the sample of emerging adults he chose to study don't feel like religion is significant in their moral decision making at all, why would it be a running theme throughout the book? Probably because Christian Smith is the director of Center for the Study if Religion and Society and the Principal Investigator of the National Study of Youth and Religion. His promises to disclose the "values" in their sociology ring a little hollow when he excludes any mention of his apparently significant dedication to his religious perspective. I wish that this was mentioned earlier or in the jacket blurb without having to read the author bio. I prefer not to judge a book exclusively based on who wrote it, but after the significant emphasis put on the lack of a religious grounding in young people I had to check. Tere are man more examples, but I was only able to find two in my cursory review: "It is merely a caution against assuming that simply because emerging adults make reference to them [religion, God, or the Bible] as moral sources, they are necessarily living lives with a high degree of religiously grounded moral knowledge, coherence, or consistency. Very many are not." I think that the rumbling sense of warning, the superiority of the religiously grounded framework, the judgment of Christian Smith's first, hypercritical and derogatory sort is clear. If he had left religion out of it this could be a fair criticism -- a morality that is coherent and consistent is a tremendous boom if one can reason her way to it, but it seems to me that listing religiously grounded here is an example of over-judgment. The second example was in an excerpt of his national survey that provided much of the groundwork for this book, a question about making a decision in a morally ambiguous situation is given as such: "If you were unsure o what was right or wrong in a particular situation, how would you decide what to do? Woul you most likely (1) do what would make you feel happy, (2) do what would help you get ahead, (3) follow the advice of a parent or teacher or other adult you respect, or (4) do what you think God or the Scriptures tells you is right?" I have read the footnote on his choice of phrasing, but I still feel like he could have at least made lip service to a nation of more than Christians without ruining the scientific credibility of his survey. Why no just say "religious authority" or something to that effect? What would a Buddhist say, with no god or capital S Scriptures they look to as literally the word of a god, but still motivated by a religious conviction? Perhaps my beef is with a Christian bias, but I feel like there is a tone problem as well. It is clear that the authors of this study felt they had reached the pinnacle of moral philosophy, and were beyond any shadow of their own doubt correct. It is never explicit, but there are subtle judgments of young people whose morality disagrees with the authors'. I should have just put the book down when they aired their disagreements with "values-free" sociology. His frail, self-deprecating jokes about baby boomers were not nearly enough to keep me, one of those rare emerging adults interested enough and skilled enough to read, understand, and judge sociological research like this. I picked this up after reading "Coming Up Short", an interesting series of interviews with the whole population of emerging adults, specifically aimed at examining the darker side of those with working-class backgrounds, and entirely sand religion. I would highly recommend that book if you found this one disappointing for the reasons I list above. I understand the ardor of the study that create tho book. 250 some in depth interviews in 49 states is no cakewalk. I just feel like there was a dimension of this study that was intentionally obfuscated and that, once exposed, explains many quirks and, to my mind, flaws in the book. If you are Christian and comfortable in that definition, and preferably not an emerging adult, this book might give you some insight. If you are neither Christian not Gen X+, I hope there are resources more suited to you and I, because tho one was unusually for me. I was excited for this book, and was disappointed with it's quality once I began reading. EDIT: In one final attempt to understand him I skimmed the conclusion. Suffice it to say that is don't change my opinion of the work. He suggests encouraging more relationships with older adults (and where is there a dearth of young people an an over abundance of older people? Church!). Maybe if we weren't so alienated by adults like you we would be friends with you. But books like this aren't the key to bridging the generation gap.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Father Nick

    Christian Smith and his team of researchers have done an outstanding job in their published work by communicating their findings from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) in a series of books released for the general public. Anyone interested in the true state of American religion should be familiar with this work, which now has shifted from a study of teens aged 13-19 to a longitudinal study that notes how these beliefs and practices shift over time. You may already be familiar with S Christian Smith and his team of researchers have done an outstanding job in their published work by communicating their findings from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) in a series of books released for the general public. Anyone interested in the true state of American religion should be familiar with this work, which now has shifted from a study of teens aged 13-19 to a longitudinal study that notes how these beliefs and practices shift over time. You may already be familiar with Smith's not-so-pithy but strikingly insightful summary of the de facto religious beliefs of American youth as "moralistic therapeutic deism", a term he coined when doing his original study published in Soul Searching: The Religious Lives of American Teenagers along with Melinda Denton. In Lost in Transition, his attention has shifted to a later cohort of 19-24 year-olds first interviewed in the earlier study. Now, they are what are known as "emerging adults", a life stage that has come into being on account of postponement of marriage and childbearing, less stable career paths in a global economy, and a greater willingness of parents to continue to support their children after they leave the home (among other things). There are the typical challenges most people may already recognize in the lives of emerging adults, particularly college students, including the hook-up culture, binge drinking, and drug use. These are all too familiar, unfortunately. But what was surprising about these findings were the attitudes that also showed up among emerging adults: uncritical embrace of mass consumerism, almost total disengagement from civic and political life, and an inability to aspire to much beyond the limited horizon of a secure job and good relationships. Some of these things are not terribly important in the short term, but do not bode well for the future of our republic, and so should be of concern to all, not just those who are actively engaged in education or ministry. The importance of Smith's published work is not in any proposed solutions to these developments; none, in fact, are offered. Rather, his more modest goal is simply to communicate that what is happening in the lives of emerging adults in 21st century America does not serve them well and does not contribute to their flourishing or to the common good. The more we can be persuaded that this is the case, the better. Without agreement that something must change in the short term, youth and emerging adults will continue to suffer the dire consequences of inaction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Reid Mccormick

    Millennials are probably the most researched generation ever and they are probably the most criticized generation ever. It seems like every week there is a new story about millennials not working hard enough, taking on too much debt, expecting too much from their bosses, etc. Lost in Transition is a substantial qualitative study of 18-23 years old or emerging adults and how they interact with their environment. The study covers the areas of morality, consumerism, intoxication, sexuality, and civi Millennials are probably the most researched generation ever and they are probably the most criticized generation ever. It seems like every week there is a new story about millennials not working hard enough, taking on too much debt, expecting too much from their bosses, etc. Lost in Transition is a substantial qualitative study of 18-23 years old or emerging adults and how they interact with their environment. The study covers the areas of morality, consumerism, intoxication, sexuality, and civic and political engagement. The results of the research were not surprising. Emerging adults are morally confused, advocates for capitalism and consumerism, frequent users of alcohol and drugs, sexually promiscuous, and civically detached. It was interesting to read the stories of the emerging adults and how hear their perspectives. I would really enjoy seeing comparative studies that compare 18-23 adults today to 18-23 adults from twenty or so years ago. Obviously there would be some changes like media and technology, but would the heart of the matter change? Are emerging adults today significantly different from emerging adults of the past? Additionally, a comparative study that shows how 18-23 adults measure up to other older and younger generations would be interesting. One example, emerging adults are morally confused. They are gaining their independence from the parents and have very little responsibilities, meaning their attachments to others are minimal and their moral code has little impact on their life. However, are adults over the age of 23 better at morality and are they able to communicate morality any better? Most philosophers and theologians have a difficult time defining a universal morality. I enjoyed this book, but I felt like it was a little too critical of emerging adults. Emerging adults are in a time of transition. They do not comprehend the complexities of life and it should not be expected. Anyone interested working with emerging adults would benefit from reading this book, but I think they should understand that this is only a tiny snapshot of college aged students.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This book reveals in detail what is going on in the minds and lives of “emerging adults” those between the ages of 18-23. The first chapter is, in my opinion, the most important. It serves as the lynchpin to the rest. Chapter one reveals what this group thinks about morality. What is moral, how they determine right from wrong, and what is the source or basis for morality? What is revealed is disturbing, disappointing but not socking. What comes out is their basic philosophy of living which is, m This book reveals in detail what is going on in the minds and lives of “emerging adults” those between the ages of 18-23. The first chapter is, in my opinion, the most important. It serves as the lynchpin to the rest. Chapter one reveals what this group thinks about morality. What is moral, how they determine right from wrong, and what is the source or basis for morality? What is revealed is disturbing, disappointing but not socking. What comes out is their basic philosophy of living which is, most things are simply a matter of personal choice. That there is no real objective reality, so there is no obligation to help others in need other than if you want to then go ahead. One way to sum up their view of society is that it is a national mega-supermarket of endless products & services where shoppers seek human fulfillment through mass consumption. The authors are very careful to point out along the way that there are several reasons for this. They do not jump to conclusions and try to put all the blame on any one group or institution. In the end the book is very sobering, abundantly informative, and richly beneficial. If you have read The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Robert Lasch, then this is the appropriate follow-up and outflow of that work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    If you want to know what emerging adults (18-25 year olds) are dealing with, then read this book. There are positives of emerging adulthood as well but this book exposes the negatives, so that we can better understand and help.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    2/3 of my punishment books Yeah, no. Like okay, but also no.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mar

    I find these books by Smith and his colleagues interesting to read to get a sense of how and what young people think. At times, some of the data may seem discouraging, however, the authors do give some suggestions for making differences in the future and encourage neither fear nor complacency, but realistic care, mentoring and relationships by adults in their lives. The interviews focussed on early emergent adults between the ages of 18-23, a group characterised by the following social changes: I find these books by Smith and his colleagues interesting to read to get a sense of how and what young people think. At times, some of the data may seem discouraging, however, the authors do give some suggestions for making differences in the future and encourage neither fear nor complacency, but realistic care, mentoring and relationships by adults in their lives. The interviews focussed on early emergent adults between the ages of 18-23, a group characterised by the following social changes: a growth in higher education; a delay in marriage; an undermining of stable careers (replaced by lower security and more frequent job changes with new education and training); a continuation of parental support into one's 20's and 30's; a disconnect b/n sexual intercourse and procreation (due to the wide use of birth control); and a rise in postmodern mindset which manifests in uncertainty, absolute moral relativism, and individual subjectivism (to name a few). Each chapter covers a different issue and includes transcripts of interviews, some insight on the answers and some ways to interact with these young adults if we hope to speak meaningfully into their lives. Chapter 1 on "Morality Adrift" was the most interesting to me. Moral thinking is not particularly coherent, consistent, or articulate. Views are very individualistic--"I may not do it, but it doesn't mean it is wrong for everyone; I don't want to judge others". The authors also note that current adult society has done a poor job of moral education and formation and that young adults haven't been taught to distinguish between what should and should not be tolerated. Chapter 2 "Captive to Consumerism" continues with the theme of individualism and how many are pursuing a middle class or higher financial lifestyle for themselves and their families and don't seem to have concern for the broader global economy or the environment. Chapter 3 "Intoxicants 'Fake Feeling of Happiness'" deals with the use of intoxicants such as drugs and alcohol being quite high in this group. It starts in the teens and increases into early adulthood. For some it is a phase they outgrow, and for others it becomes a lifestyle they don't. Chapter 4 "Shadow Side of Sexual Liberations" explains how there is a disconnect between what emerging adults say and how they may truly feel. Casual sex is routine and the "hook-up" is common for this group. The average age for the first experience of oral sex or physical intercourse is 16. 71% had experienced oral sex and 73% physical intercourse. The disconnect comes when the interviewees claim they have no regrets over this activity, but then ironically express regret and hurts over "misunderstandings", over different views from those of their partners, over sexual activity, over emotional pain, abortions, std's etc. Clearly sex is powerful and often beyond individual control. Chapter 5 covers "Civil and Emotional Disengagement" and explains how most feel disempowered, apathetic, and even despairing about the social, civic, and political world. They are uninformed and distrustful of politicians and don't really believe an individual can make a positive impact on the world. This fact leads to the outcome that most volunteer little if at all and won't give of their time and money. The authors claim that they are disengaged b/c of a lack of moral education and b/c of society's investment in mass consumerism and the focus on individual friends and family rather than a broader view of the world. The book concludes that this group is made up of real complicated people who claim to be happy and hopeful, yet seem to have a darker side of disappointment, grief, confusion and sometimes addiction. They note we are currently failing our teens and need to set our sights higher and give better supports to our young adults when they leave home for college and university. We could also offer classes in moral reasoning and be more intentional about doing activities, including recreation activities, together in a way that encourages conversation and community rather than individuality.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dino

    The authors, four sociologists, conducted in-depth personal interviews spaced over time with a nationally representative (U.S.) group of 230 emerging adults, aged 18-23. They organize their findings into five chapters - Moral thinking, Consumerism, Intoxication, Sexual behavior, and Political engagement. The authors offer some interesting insights, but by and large the book disappointed me. The section on morality was pretty well done - probably the best chapter. The authors show that emerging a The authors, four sociologists, conducted in-depth personal interviews spaced over time with a nationally representative (U.S.) group of 230 emerging adults, aged 18-23. They organize their findings into five chapters - Moral thinking, Consumerism, Intoxication, Sexual behavior, and Political engagement. The authors offer some interesting insights, but by and large the book disappointed me. The section on morality was pretty well done - probably the best chapter. The authors show that emerging adults lack the intellectual tools to think clearly about moral issues. An overwhelming majority of those interviewed fail to identify moral dilemmas in their own lives, although it is clear from their other responses that they do face them. Morality for emerging adults in America seems to equate to individual choices - what's best for the individual, and does not lend itself to judgment or criticism by others. The authors point a finger at the educational system, which fosters a "culture of respect" to the point that teachers avoid difficult, controversial issues or tiptoe around them. This has resulted in a cohort of emerging adults that lack the capacity to engage in constructive dialogue, or have any real opinions about moral issues. A good example is drug use. Emerging adults think only about the costs and benefits to them personally, but not about the moral issues of taking drugs, which include such considerations as the lives lost by foreigners who produce and distribute drugs at great personal cost, domestic gang warfare, incarceration of those who are dealing, and the tax dollars used to fight the 'War on Drugs' that could be deployed to other purposes. However, the authors reveal their own lack of philosophical grounding in their simplistic handling of Moral Relativism, which they do not take seriously and in fact say that it is "intellectually impossible and socially unsustainable". I would suggest that most professional philosophers on both sides of the Realist/Relativist divide would disagree with the authors' quick dismissal of what is a pretty substantial area of literature within moral philosophy. In terms of the methodology, the authors fall short. Importantly, we have no control group in their study which can be used to support the finding, which the authors take for granted, that the beliefs and behaviors on which they 'zero in' are salient or distinctive among emerging adults. In other words, how can we be sure that interviews of mature adults would not turn up with the same broad themes? I suspect in the area of morality, at least, that general views across society may turn out not to differ that much from those that the authors attach to emerging adulthood. If this were true, the authors' work would be undermined considerably, since the story they tell is largely one where emerging adults choices, beliefs, and behaviors are shaped and influenced by broader social changes in recent decades, such as liberal democratic ideals, mass consumerism, the alcohol industry, mass media, etc. As for accessibility, this book is very readable. The authors write pretty well and do not fall into impenetrable jargon from their field. However, I found it tiresome to read so many quotes from their subjects, which largely fill up the book. There is analysis interspersed between the quotes, but it tends to be repetitive and not always insightful. Perhaps my biggest criticism is just that the authors' findings, even if empirically true, are not particularly revealing or surprising. Emerging adults do make bad choices, which results from social factors as well as personal ones, and often live to regret what they have done. This is indeed unfortunate, but in the end not that surprising.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sverre

    ==A thorough sociological analysis of America's youth== Here we have a new fascinating perspective of the lifestyles, thinking and attitudes of a cross section of America's emerging adults (aged 18 to 23). Superficially--especially before reading the final chapter--it may seem to be a damning indictment of the majority of American youth and the adults who raised and influenced them. The question which can never be answered (but should be kept in the back of one's mind) is: in the five categories c ==A thorough sociological analysis of America's youth== Here we have a new fascinating perspective of the lifestyles, thinking and attitudes of a cross section of America's emerging adults (aged 18 to 23). Superficially--especially before reading the final chapter--it may seem to be a damning indictment of the majority of American youth and the adults who raised and influenced them. The question which can never be answered (but should be kept in the back of one's mind) is: in the five categories chosen to dissect the data, how would the youth of thirty, fifty, eighty or a hundred years ago have fared? Many questions would have had to be phrased or posed differently and some could not even have been asked. Were youth in the past more motivated, level-headed, sober, moral, responsible and exemplary than today's youth? How would the normative standards of past time periods in regard to such diverse subjects as racial relations, same-gender sexuality, cultural pluralism, abortion, divorce, religious intolerance, assisted suicide, widespread starvation, global economic oppression, Jihadist terrorism, environmentalism, tyrannies of fascism or communism, etc. have influenced the lifestyles, thinking and attitudes of emerging adults of former generations? Although today's youth may seem narcissistic, materialistic and spiritually detached, most of them are succeeding in manoeuvring through environments which are just as chaotic, or more so, than was the case decades before. We should acknowledge that American society has progressed in so many ways since the time when societal rules were rigid and attitudes tended to be black or white with no allowance for grey nuance. A study like the one presented can't avoid some judgmental bias in comparing the present circumstances to be less desirable than those of the past, which perhaps can be referenced as more established, stable and statistically safe. But, to be fair, the authors do try hard to be non-judgmental although total objectivity would be too much to expect. Reading this book can be a depressing exercise. If we didn't suspect it at the outset we are quickly faced with the majority of emerging adults as being self-centred, self-indulgent, self-stimulated, sexually irresponsible, substance-addicted, politically illiterate, altruistically absent, morally ignorant, consumer zealots, fanatic individualists and financially incompetent. A lot of them have trouble expressing themselves intelligently. The details are self-incriminatingly disparaging. Fortunately, if you endure the agony, the final chapter, titled Conclusion, provides some illumination on the whole situation and puts the blame where it belongs: on our messed up post-modernistic hedonism (although those are not the words the authors use). The chapter's content is worthy of serious consideration to comprehend the how's and why's of emergent adults and of our contemporary society in general. Smith relates where and how we (the adults responsible) have failed our children. The authors assert that sociologists only have an academic directive to study social situations and their underlying causes but not to provide advice or solutions about how to alter situations. But despite that they can't resist giving some innocuous suggestions which are credibly resourceful and will ring true for most tolerant readers. This book should be read by anyone with a social conscience who hopes to better understand youth culture (or the lack thereof) and the challenges of growing up in today's America/North America.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Lacasse

    A refreshingly well-researched take on the current culture of young adults, using real interviews to expose rather than sloppy conjecture to complain. Smith, a sociology professor at Notre Dame, and his co-authors interviewed hundreds of people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three and recorded many of their answers to questions on five topics: morality, consumerism, intoxication, sexuality, and civic and political involvement. For the person who works with young adults or who has one tha A refreshingly well-researched take on the current culture of young adults, using real interviews to expose rather than sloppy conjecture to complain. Smith, a sociology professor at Notre Dame, and his co-authors interviewed hundreds of people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three and recorded many of their answers to questions on five topics: morality, consumerism, intoxication, sexuality, and civic and political involvement. For the person who works with young adults or who has one that they care about this book is an excellent way to better understand their world. It deftly sifts through cultural assumptions about "kids these days" and exposes the cultural realities that we thought we new about. For anyone who likes to attach hard statistics to what are usually foggy general notions this is the right book. In terms of the angle of the writing the book pushes toward the thesis that there is a set of alarming trends amongst what it dubs "emerging adults". In each category of interview questions it reveals a lack of direction in thought and standards and penetrates into the often self-centered motives behind the lives of emerging adults. From philosophical perspective the first chapter alone is worth buying the book for. This is the only academic book I have found that pushes the conversation of morality back to the cliff of what the basis for morality is in the first place. The answers and questions illustrate with no uncertainty the lack of any coherent response by young adults and the objective need for an objective answer. The researchers have my gratitude for forcing such an important question.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This book has been really difficult for me to read. As someone who grew up on the edges of mainstream culture, I have often found myself puzzled and confused by the attitudes and ideas of my peers, especially in their perspective on education, success, and morality. The researchers of this book not only interview emerging adults to get their own words about what they believe, the choices they make, and why, but also examine the sociological implications of their findings; they look at the impact This book has been really difficult for me to read. As someone who grew up on the edges of mainstream culture, I have often found myself puzzled and confused by the attitudes and ideas of my peers, especially in their perspective on education, success, and morality. The researchers of this book not only interview emerging adults to get their own words about what they believe, the choices they make, and why, but also examine the sociological implications of their findings; they look at the impact of the community, of teachers, of family and parents, of the media and the surrounding culture to find the foundations of the seemingly adrift emerging adult. They are quick to point out what is researched data, and what is anecdotal from their interviews; however, the interviews make up the bulk of the book, and are fascinating to read. I found much of it to be disturbing, as did the researchers, especially when it came to attitudes towards materialism, consumption, and the cursory mention of conservation by most of the interviewees. The authors provide plenty of references for the research they cite alongside the interviews, so there is a good body of work available for those who wish to continue their studies in this field.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul Mullen

    This is a troubling account by a group of sociologists of those between 18 and 23 years old. Unfortunately, it is not surprising in its details of this group's attitudes toward consumerism, alcohol, sex, and civic engagement. The attitudes toward the first three seem to be dominated by a short-cut approach (buy to satisfy, easy sex, dulled experience through alcohol) to achieving a satisfactory existence. As there is no short-cut pill or credit card to improve our common civic engagement, the res This is a troubling account by a group of sociologists of those between 18 and 23 years old. Unfortunately, it is not surprising in its details of this group's attitudes toward consumerism, alcohol, sex, and civic engagement. The attitudes toward the first three seem to be dominated by a short-cut approach (buy to satisfy, easy sex, dulled experience through alcohol) to achieving a satisfactory existence. As there is no short-cut pill or credit card to improve our common civic engagement, the response among this group seems to be ignorance, apathy, or despair. The book itself is very coherent, though the examples are often too lengthy to be taken in their entirety. The commentary comes from a generally conservative perspective. The observations that young adults cannot make decisions with moral skill (regardless of their moral moorings) is particularly frustrating. This would be a great group discussion book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul Kelly

    This is both an insightful and disturbing book. Based on the follow-up study with participants in the National Study of Youth and Religion, this book on young adults raises some significant questions about the health of our culture and the damage we may be doing to young adults. While Smith poses some suggestions for change, he seems to believe that change will be long in coming and the best we can do is focus on helping individuals to avoid the dangerous cultural scripts that will engage most o This is both an insightful and disturbing book. Based on the follow-up study with participants in the National Study of Youth and Religion, this book on young adults raises some significant questions about the health of our culture and the damage we may be doing to young adults. While Smith poses some suggestions for change, he seems to believe that change will be long in coming and the best we can do is focus on helping individuals to avoid the dangerous cultural scripts that will engage most of their peers. As a teacher of youth ministry, I am concerned about how we help the church to address young people in ways that will provide them with the best chance for success. I'm bothered by many of the assumptions of this generation and hope we will be able to see movement toward a healthier perspective on life.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This sociological book looks at emerging adults, those ages 18-23, and talks about the problems that they are having. The authors are particularly interested in the loss of moral and religious authority in this generation, the moral confusion, and the cynicism about public life. The difficulty is that the authors never really explain what is unique about this generation, and in fact often compare it to earlier generations. So, it seems like the authors wanted to write a book about young adults, This sociological book looks at emerging adults, those ages 18-23, and talks about the problems that they are having. The authors are particularly interested in the loss of moral and religious authority in this generation, the moral confusion, and the cynicism about public life. The difficulty is that the authors never really explain what is unique about this generation, and in fact often compare it to earlier generations. So, it seems like the authors wanted to write a book about young adults, but didn't really find that much different from older generations, but tried to publish their conclusions to sound more striking than they actually are.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Natalia

    This book is as quaking as it is informative; Christian Smith and his team of sociologists explore the lives of emerging adults in America to better understand this unique generation of Americans. What the sociologists find are emerging adults far from understanding morality, let alone their own morals, many of whom subscribe willfully to the mantras of worldly scripts: buy all you want, climb to the top by yourself, casual sex and drunkenness are without consequence or casualty. Using quotes fr This book is as quaking as it is informative; Christian Smith and his team of sociologists explore the lives of emerging adults in America to better understand this unique generation of Americans. What the sociologists find are emerging adults far from understanding morality, let alone their own morals, many of whom subscribe willfully to the mantras of worldly scripts: buy all you want, climb to the top by yourself, casual sex and drunkenness are without consequence or casualty. Using quotes from real interviews, Smith records his findings in this enlightening, harrowing nonfiction.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Rankin

    Again, Smith and his co-contributors shine light on emerging adults. As with the other books in this collection stemming from their work with the National Survey of Youth and Religion as well as face to face interviews over a period of almost 10 years, this work helps us understand how larger cultural forces of the "adult" world of the older generations have helped to shape the values of today's emerging adults. Again, Smith and his co-contributors shine light on emerging adults. As with the other books in this collection stemming from their work with the National Survey of Youth and Religion as well as face to face interviews over a period of almost 10 years, this work helps us understand how larger cultural forces of the "adult" world of the older generations have helped to shape the values of today's emerging adults.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    I have read two other books by this author that were about the religious lives of teenagers in the US. This book was interesting but quite academic. I found myself reading some parts in detail and skimming over other parts. The authors use a lot of direct quotes from the lives of "emerging adults" 18-23 year-olds. It is an interesting window into the lives of this age group that talks frankly about many of the challenges they are facing. I have read two other books by this author that were about the religious lives of teenagers in the US. This book was interesting but quite academic. I found myself reading some parts in detail and skimming over other parts. The authors use a lot of direct quotes from the lives of "emerging adults" 18-23 year-olds. It is an interesting window into the lives of this age group that talks frankly about many of the challenges they are facing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marshall

    Read this for my Sociology 151 class. Just a sort of intro to Sociology/a core class. Don't really plan on taking any other Sociology courses, but this was an interesting read. I did skim some, but I read the majority of the text. Don't particularly agree with all of Smith's views and ideas, but he definitely raises a great number of good points and issues that must be addressed, or at least considered. Read this for my Sociology 151 class. Just a sort of intro to Sociology/a core class. Don't really plan on taking any other Sociology courses, but this was an interesting read. I did skim some, but I read the majority of the text. Don't particularly agree with all of Smith's views and ideas, but he definitely raises a great number of good points and issues that must be addressed, or at least considered.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Although the writing style can be somewhat dry and academic, the issues that the researchers have study are fascinating and worth reading about. The book addresses the attitudes of emerging adults, ages 18-22, on a variety of topics from morality to consumerism to substance use, sexuality, and political involvement. The conclusion raises some concerns about ability of this group to make informed, positive choices in these areas.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Rapp

    Basic premise is that the next generation are moral relativists, who are pathologically individualistic, over-abuse substances, and have separated sex from emotion. While I agree with many of the points, and do think our culture is poorly equipped to face coming challenges, sometimes the book came across as 'hating on Millenials'...as though our current anomie is concentrated just within the very young. Basic premise is that the next generation are moral relativists, who are pathologically individualistic, over-abuse substances, and have separated sex from emotion. While I agree with many of the points, and do think our culture is poorly equipped to face coming challenges, sometimes the book came across as 'hating on Millenials'...as though our current anomie is concentrated just within the very young.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    This surprisingly engaging (secular) report, using survey and interview research on emerging adults, examines the data in five areas: moral reasoning, mass consumerism, intoxication as a lifestyle, sexual behavior and civil and political engagement. The results are sobering. Well written and I doubt you'll forget what they find. This surprisingly engaging (secular) report, using survey and interview research on emerging adults, examines the data in five areas: moral reasoning, mass consumerism, intoxication as a lifestyle, sexual behavior and civil and political engagement. The results are sobering. Well written and I doubt you'll forget what they find.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hinsche

    Enlightening of the dark This book is good as another view of emerging adulthood and its issues. It is informative but sadly only constructive at the end in the conclusion. Only then do we get to see the author's imagination and some potential solutions. However, the book is still well worth the read. Enlightening of the dark This book is good as another view of emerging adulthood and its issues. It is informative but sadly only constructive at the end in the conclusion. Only then do we get to see the author's imagination and some potential solutions. However, the book is still well worth the read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Very comprehensive analysis of the darker side of emerging adulthood. Could probably be the basis for some serious cultural and political movements if we took the connection between some of the challenges and shortcomings of emerging adulthood and larger cultural trends seriously.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amy Jacobsen

    hard to read because it was mostly depressing. brought up feelings of hopelessness due to complexity of problems. stark contrast to more hopeful books about this generation like The Millennials and The Next Christians.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    A really helpful sociological look at "emerging adults" ages 18-23 and their opinions about civic engagement, addictions, morality, and sexual liberation. Intriguing and doesn't offer a lot of hope, but good to know when working with this age group. A really helpful sociological look at "emerging adults" ages 18-23 and their opinions about civic engagement, addictions, morality, and sexual liberation. Intriguing and doesn't offer a lot of hope, but good to know when working with this age group.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tom Milton

    I recommend this book to parents, teachers, uncles, aunts, and grandparents of young adults who are members of the millennial generation.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Reviewed for the Jan/Feb 2013 edition of Books and Culture: "The Kids Aren't All Right." Reviewed for the Jan/Feb 2013 edition of Books and Culture: "The Kids Aren't All Right."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nini

    great read... very true and enlightening about people in my age group. makes me see a lot of them in different ways.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Madeline Baker

    Very interesting book. It's from a sociological standpoint yet still very easy to follow along. Very interesting book. It's from a sociological standpoint yet still very easy to follow along.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Was wordy and I didn't really see anything "new" to me. Was wordy and I didn't really see anything "new" to me.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...