I get asked all the time to recommend the best books on the generations. There are 20 more that could’ve made the list, but I’ve kept it to 19 in five categories. Happy reading!
- Shaw, Haydn. Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12
Places They Come Apart. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013.
- Taylor, Paul and Richard Morin. Forty Years After Woodstock, a Gentler Generation Gap. Pew Research Center, August 12, 2009, 8.
- Smith, J. Walker and Ann Clurman. Rocking the Ages. Harper Business, 1997.
– Classic book from generational marketing pioneers. It is out of print, but used copies can be found online and it is in most libraries. Does not include Millennials, but still worth the read.
- Randstad, The World of Work 2009, 7.
– See also 2007 and 2008’s issues as well for detailed generational comparisons.
- Allen, Frederick Lewis. The Big Change: America Transforms Itself 1900–1950. New York: Harper and Row, 1952.
– Classic book on the changes that shaped the Traditionalists as well as the world we live in today.
- Taylor, Paul et al. America’s Changing Workforce: Recession Turns a Graying Office Grayer. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center, September 3, 2009.
- Cappelli, Peter and Bill Novelli. Managing the Older Worker. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2010.
– Research-based, but with many practical ideas on how to engage this valuable employee group.
- Smith, J. Walker and Ann Clurman. Generation Ageless: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Live Today…And They’re Just Getting Started. Collins, 2007.
– Great marketing research on how Boomers think today.
- Gillon, Steve. Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation Ever and How It Changed America. New York: Free Press, 2004, 51.
– Respected historian overviews the Boomers.
- Jones, Landon Y. Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1980.
– Award-winning and typically considered the best history of the Boomers; this book is often credited with coining the term Baby Boomer.
- Hewlett, Sylvia Ann and Lauren Leader-Chivée et. al. The X Factor: Tapping into the Strengths of the 33- to 46-Year-Old Generation. Center for Work-Life Policy, 2011.
– One of the best recent summaries of research into this often overlooked generation.
- Ryan, Rebecca. Live First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next Generation. Next Generation Consulting, 2007.
– A leading Gen X research and consulting company summarizes their work in a short book.
- Gordinier, Jeff. X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything From Sucking. Viking, 2008.
– A tongue-in-cheek analysis of how Boomers dominate the political and cultural landscape and how Gen X is creating their own way forward.
- Tapscott, Don. Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.
– Based on an extensive, $5 million worldwide research project. Still the best book on Millennials.
- Pew Research Center. Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next. February 24, 2010, 135.
– The most recent extensive Pew report on Millennials. But best of all, like the other Pew reports, it’s free.
- Rainer, Thom S. and Jess W. Rainer. The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation. Nashville: B&H, 2011.
– Based on a wide-ranging research project. Great data on many topics and easy to read.
- Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen. Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens through the Twenties. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
– An in-depth look at emerging adulthood—the new life stage from 18-28.
- Howe, Neil and William Strauss. The Next 20 Years: How Customer and Workforce Attitudes Will Evolve. “Managing for the Long Term.” Special issue of Harvard Business Review 50. July–Aug. 2007.
– Easily downloaded summary of what to expect from all four generations over the next 20 years, as well as Howe and Strauss’s patterned approach to history.
- Howe, Neil and William Strauss. Millennials Go to College, Second Edition. LifeCourse Associates, 2007.
– A great overview of foundational research on Millennials.