Reviews and Reflections About Baby Boomer Stuff

Rosie's Boomer Review

January 13th, 2008 at 12:28 am

Generation Ageless-A Bold Book About Boomers

“Baby Boomers are rejecting a view of themselves as old people.” This and other powerful insights can be found in the must have book called Generation Ageless. The authors, J.Walker Smith and Ann Clurman, have produced a work of bottomless information for anyone who wants to sell to or just plain understand the boomer market.

The term baby boomer was coined in 1960 by the Yankeovich Company. Since then they have compiled a wealth of information about baby boomers. They have divided baby boomers into six segments. Due diligents, maimizers, sidelineers, straight arrows, diss/contenteds, and re-activists.

The book is divided into two sections which focus on the immortality and morality focus of baby boomers. You may not agree with many of the perspectives but they come from loads of research based on surveys conducted on baby boomers.Do not be surprised, if you are reading it as a baby boomer, that you find yourself reflected in the book.

As for marketing to boomers, one point made is that boomers are more concerned about the experience of the product than the product itself. Umm, something to think about.

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    This book is fundamentally flawed because it lumps together two seperate generations as if they are one. Yankelovich, J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman all have a vested interest in continuing this myth because they sell books and other products which build on the original faulty deinition of the “Baby Boom Generation”, they’d lose money and reputation to now admit they’ve been wrong all along.

    But the truth is the truth. And the truth is that generational personalities stem from shared formative experiences, not head counts. The original observation that there was a demographic boom in births following WWII was never intended to describe a cultural generation, it was merely noting a demographic phenomenom of high fertility. Lazy members of the media mistakenly referred to this birth chart bubble as a generation, and it stuck, creating a whole industry around this blatantly mistaken concept.

    The truth is that there was a boom in births from 1946-1964. But this wasn’t, isn’t, and never will be, a generation. Fortunately, many objective experts are now realizing this, and a concensus of sorts is emerging that there was a Baby Boom Generation from around 1942-1953, and then another wholly distinct generation from around 1954-1965, which is usually referred to as Generation Jones. If you look at most recent books about generations, they now more times than not use this Boom/Jones construct these days.

    Barack Obama’s candidacy will likely finally put the last nail in the almost sealed coffin of this old, discredited 1946-1964 definition of a Boomer Generation. I’ve seen, just in the last few weeks, several major media outlets, including The New York Times, NBC, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek magazine all make the case that Obama–born in 1961– is not a Boomer nor a GenXer, but is instead specifically a member of Generation Jones. This is on top of a ton of major media attention and acceptance that Generation Jones has already received, from a GenJones cover story in American Demographics Magazine, to many pieces about GenJones on national TV/radio.

    Anyone can combine any groups together and then spit out stats about this combined grouping, but that doesn’t mean that these groups should be combined! When you break out Boomers and Jonesers seperately, you quickly see how utterly different these two groups are. On the vast majority of categories re. attitudes, values, etc., you find that Jonesers are much closer to Xers than they are to Boomers. And look at these two generations politically: Boomers tend to be the most Dem-leaning generation in the US, while Jonesers are the most GOP-leaning generation. So the two opposite generations politicaly in the entire electorate are lumped together as if they’re one generation! All because Boomers’ parents and Jonesers’ parents both happened to have a lot of kids.

    Boomers and Jonesers had dramatically different formative experiences, which created two dramatically differnt genrations. Shame on you, Smith and Clurman, for putting your own financial priorities ahead of truth. Fortunately, the momentum is on the side of those admitting that these are two distinct generations, and even though you’ve fought hard to maintain the myth of a Baby Boom Generation, that old 1946-1964 definition is heading faster and faster toward its inevitable and deserved obsolete place in cultural history.

    Stacy Z. on March 1st, 2008
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