11 Best Books on Generation X

Best Books on Generation XT

he baby boomer’s children have grown up into a unique generation themselves. They surround themselves with technology and develop a multitasking personality, able to download music, send text messages, watch TV, and study all at once. The jobs that they expect are to not only be stimulating and well paying but entertaining as well. Who are these people with a radical and life-altering work ethic? Discover the generation x, a tech-savvy people group that is different than any previous generation prior. This list of the best books on generation x will show you just what you need to know about them and even yourself in the workplace, labor force, and culture.

What is Gen X Known For?
Best Books on Generation X: The List
Final Thoughts on Best Books on Generation X

What is Gen X Known For?

Individuals that were born between 1965 and 1980 are categorized under Gen Xers or latchkey generation (having lesser supervision of their adults). Gen X is best known for being the first individuals to experience the development of music videos and MTV, which also gave them the name MTV Generation. They are also known for their alternative rock movement that happened in the 1990s and 2000s. 

Best Books on Generation X: THE LIST

1.  The Millennial Myth
2.  Clash of the Generations
3.  The XYZ Factor
4.  Born Digital
5.  Generations Inc. 
6. The Big Shift
7. The 2020 Workplace
8. Grown Up Digital
9. Keeping The Millennials
10. Retiring the Generation Gap
11. Bridging the Boomer-Xer Gap
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1 – The Millennial Myth | By Crystal Kadakia

Millennials have been condemned as lazy, entitled, disloyal, and disrespectful, and needing constant hand-holding. But Crystal Kadakia—a Millennial herself as well as an organizational development consultant and two-time TEDx speaker—shows that not only are these negative stereotypes dead wrong, but each one conceals a positive workplace practice that forward-looking companies must adopt if they are to endure. She illuminates how the advent of digital technology is the crucial root cause of many Millennial behaviors and offers a guide for what our traditional workplace needs to do to attract, engage, and retain modern talent.

Quotes from The Millennial Myth;

“Companies, being profit-focused, have lost their way when it comes to earning the loyalty employees gave them in the past.”

“Today, respect is not given solely because of the demographics we can easily put on paper – age, level, role – but is given for what you authentically contribute every day.”

“While we all need to make a living to survive, millennials and especially gen Z are more willing to experiment with how to gain that living.”

“From a traditional perspective, because millennials desire to work when, where and how they want and feel okay asking to work outside the normal structure, they are perceived to be lazy.”

“If you identify with a particular millennial behavior, all that means is that you identify strongly with modern perceptions of work.”


 2 – Clash of the Generations | By Valerie M. Grubb

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Clash of the Generations explores this new and increasingly common workplace phenomenon and provides strategies to help managers navigate this ever more complex maze. Traditionally, older workers would retire and make room for the next generation; instead, Baby Boomers are now prolonging their time in the workplace, yet the successive generations are still coming in. Senior leaders are now left to manage a blended workplace comprised of up to four generations―each with their own ideas of work ethic, work/life balance, long-term career goals, and much more. Management is challenging at the best of times, but the new prevalence of generation gaps―sometimes even layered―add an entirely new dimension to an already complex responsibility. This book presents case studies and interviews with representatives of companies with age-diverse workforces, detailing innovative strategies for smoothing out the bumps and helping everyone work together.

Managers have long wished that their positions came with an instruction manual, and this book delivers with a host of effective inter-generational management strategies illustrated by real-world companies.

  • Manage the multi-generation workplace more effectively
  • Navigate the generational culture clash
  • Adopt proven strategies for helping everyone get along
  • Promote a more positive culture amidst clashing expectations

Every generation in the workplace has value, each has its own strengths, its own weaknesses, and its own unique talents. Each is indispensable, and when they come together as a synergistic force, they can be unstoppable. Effective management means bringing out the best in your workforce, and the strategies presented in the Clash of the Generations help you streamline your varied workforce into a team more valuable than the sum of its parts.

Quotes from Clash of the Generations;

“Figuring out what makes each person perform at his or her best is one of the most satisfying experiences a manager can have.”

“Each generation has its own learning styles, often shaped to a large degree by the technological innovations during that generation’s formative years.”

“When managers don’t delegate effectively, they aren’t empowering their employees – which in turn can strongly influence how motivated those employees are to accomplish their goals.”

“Baby boomers want respect for their experience, generation Xers want autonomy and money, and millennials want a team experience coupled with more frequent recognition.”

“Companies that achieve long-term success share one vital characteristic: They are full of employees and managers who feel valued and constantly push themselves to meet – and exceed – their goals.”


 3 – The XYZ Factor | By Nancy Lublin and Alyssa Ruderman

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The XYZ Factor isn’t a place or a company or an age. It’s a new kind of culture where innovation, accessibility, and transparency are the norm. It’s an environment created on the principles of the Millennial generation to foster intergenerational productivity in a new kind of office culture. An XYZ organization’s employees are challenged, engaged, and excited to produce. Simply put, XYZ companies have an “it” factor that helps them rise above the competition.

Any company can become an XYZ company. This book is your blueprint.

Each chapter is written by a DoSomething.org staff member. Their firsthand experience with DoSomething.org, an organization that helps young people make the world suck less, gives them exceptional insights into working magic in the corporate world. And with over 3 million members and more than 200 active campaigns, such as collecting clothes for teenagers in homeless shelters, helping older adults learn to use technology, and creating anti-bullying comics, DoSomething.org is a standout organization—not only for its message, but for the way it operates.

When you open The XYZ Factor, you’re getting the recipe for the awesome sauce that has driven the success of the world’s largest organizations for young people and social change. This guidebook is your key to answering the questions your company has looming over its cubicles, such as:

  • How do I create an office environment that fosters collaboration and creativity?
  • How do I form the right partnerships that appeal to our brand and our audience?
  • How do I authentically reach the Millennial generation?

If you want to take your business or organization from okay to amazing, you need The XYZ Factor.

Quotes from The XYZ Factor;

“To build for scale and inclusion, we work hard to craft something that is truly accessible – campaigns anyone can take on if they want to, from wherever they are.”

“Our all-access office environment and culture of celebration suits extroverts – those who are energized by social connections with co-workers.”

“The first thing you have to do if you want to be an XYZ company is create a physical environment where your staff wants to spend their days and weeks.”

“Just as you would forge a relationship in real life, you can build rapport with your member base by showing them you’ve listened to what they’ve said.”

“XYZ companies create an avenue for constant and consistent feedback.”


4 – Born Digital | By John Palfrey and Urs Gasser

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The first generation of children who were born into and raised in the digital world are coming of age and reshaping the world in their image. Our economy, our politics, our culture, and even the shape of our family life are being transformed. But who are these wired young people? And what is the world they’re creating going to look like? In this revised and updated edition, leading Internet and technology experts John Palfrey and Urs Gasser offer a cutting-edge sociological portrait of these young people, who can seem, even to those merely a generation older, both extraordinarily sophisticated and strangely narrow. Exploring a broad range of issues — privacy concerns, the psychological effects of information overload, and larger ethical issues raised by the fact that young people’s social interactions, friendships, and civic activities are now mediated by digital technologies — Born Digital is essential reading for parents, teachers, and the myriad of confused adults who want to understand the digital present and shape the digital future.

Quotes from Born Digital;

“Young people – among many others – are using the Internet to share more personal information about themselves than ever before.”

“A study…showed that 41% of Facebook users were willing to give up personal information to a complete stranger – even to a person who was completely made up.”

“Creativity is the upside of this brave new world of digital media. The downside is law-breaking.”

“The more sophisticated the young person is about online life in general, the less likely he or she seems to be to trust other people online.”

“The problem with the rapid growth of digital dossiers is that the decisions about what to do about personal information are made by those who hold the information.”


5 – Generations Inc. | By Meagan Johnson and Larry Johnson

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Now that five different generations are on the job simultaneously–from Traditionals to Generation Y to Millennials–it’s more important than ever for companies to understand how their people can not only coexist and cooperate but thrive together as a team. Written by a father-daughter team of two-generational experts, Generations, Inc. offers the perspectives of people of different eras to elicit practical insights on wrestling with generational issues in the workplace. The book provides Baby Boomers and Linksters alike with practical techniques for addressing conflicts, forging alliances with coworkers from other generations, getting people with different values and idiosyncratic styles to work together, and running productive meetings where all participants find value in each other’s ideas. The generation we were born in influences our expectations, actions, and mindsets. Generations, Inc. includes realistic strategies for relating to your team members’ different views of loyalty, work ethic, and the definition of a job well done–and tips to make those perspectives work together to strengthen your workforce and grow your business.

Quotes from Generations Inc.;

“Each generation has…differing sets of expectations of…how they should behave as employees, how managers will manage them and how they will manage others.”

“As Generation Xers and Generation Yers become the core of the world’s workforce, their values, likes and dislikes will determine how they respond to any efforts to direct, motivate and inspire them to perform.”

“Given what happened to their parents…[Generation Xers] tend to respond cynically to talk about company loyalty, team spirit and being one big, happy family.”

Although Generation Y is accused of being spoiled by caring, but sometimes overprotective, parents, they are poised to contribute significant value to any organization.”

“Generation Xers have little patience with the concept of ‘paying your dues,’ believing that ‘If I can do the job, I should get the promotion, regardless of my seniority’.”


6 – The Big Shift | By Marc Freedman

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In The Big Shift, Freedman bemoans the fact that the discussion about longer lives in America has been entirely about the staggering economic costs of a dramatically aging society when, in reality, most of the nation’s 78 million boomers are not getting old — at least not yet. The whole 60- to 80-year-old period is simply new territory, he writes, and the people in this period constitute a whole new phenomenon in the 21st century.

The Big Shift is animated by a simple premise: that the challenge of transitioning to and making the most of this new stage — while deeply personal — is much more than an individual problem; it’s an urgent social imperative, one affecting all generations. By embracing this time as a unique period of life — and providing guidance, training, education, and support to the millions who are in it — Freedman says that we can make a monument out of what so many think of as the leftover years. The result could be a windfall of talent that will carry us toward a new generation of solutions for growing problems in areas like education, the environment, and health care.

Quotes from The Big Shift;

“Individuals left…in this unstable space that has no name, no clear beginning or end, no rites or routes of passage, face a contradictory culture, incoherent policies, institutions tailored for a different population, and a society that seems in denial that this period even exists.”

“Never before have so many people had so much experience and the time and the capacity to do something significant with it.”

“There are a growing number of us who can be classified as neither-nors. Neither young nor old. Neither retirees nor of traditional parenting age.”

“We need to construct a deal around these kinds of longer working lives that’s as powerful as the one we crafted to realize shorter working lives a half-century ago.”

“All those years that have been added to life spans haven’t simply been tacked onto the end. They have been contributed to the middle.”


7 – The 2020 Workplace | By Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd

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According to getAbstract, “Corporate learning professionals Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd bravely predict the nature of the workplace in 2020 despite the current white-hot pace of change – or, perhaps, because of it. They base their bold prognostications on two global surveys, one asking 2,200 working professionals what they want from their employers and the other asking 300 employers how they are preparing for the future. The authors also created case studies based on more than 100 interviews with the leaders of innovative organizations, including Cisco, NASA and Deloitte. They learned how progressive firms and their human resources departments plan to recruit, develop, and retain top employees.”

Quotes from The 2020 Workplace;

“The 2020 Workplace: An organizational environment that provides an intensely personalized, social experience to attract, develop and engage employees across all generations and geographies.”

“Your honesty – or dishonesty – will be quickly noticed in the social media environment.”

“Preparing for the future is best accomplished by shaping it yourself.”

“Most employees desire a company name on their résumé that gives them a sense of pride.”

“Growth in new technologies and increases in the speed of business will mean a need to develop skills as rapidly as possible.”


8 – Grown Up Digital | By Don Tapscott

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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 that 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.

Quotes from Grown Up Digital;

“The stakes in risk problems are high – product viability, jobs, energy costs, the willingness of patients to accept treatments, public safety and health, and so forth. Potential conflicts of interest abound.”

“By assuming that managers are rational and that they act according to the same decision criteria that public agencies prescribe, government programs to reduce hazards have been based upon predictions that often failed to materialize.”

“Disagreements about risk should not be expected to evaporate in the presence of evidence. Definitive evidence particularly about rare hazards is difficult to obtain. Weaker information is likely to be interpreted so as to reinforce existing beliefs.”

“Sex is strongly related to risk judgments and attitudes. Several dozen studies have documented the finding that men tend to judge risks as smaller and less problematic than do women.”

“Scientific analysis of risks cannot allay our fears of low-probability catastrophes or delayed cancers unless we trust the system.”

“The public is not irrational. The public is influenced by emotion and affect in a way that is both simple and sophisticated. So are scientists.”


9 – Keeping The Millennials | By Joanne G. Sujansky and Jan Ferri-Reed

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According to getAbstract, “The baby boomers’ children have grown up to be master multitaskers, able to send text messages, download music, watch TV and study at the same time. They’re entering the labor pool in droves, and they expect their jobs to be not only stimulating and well-paying but also (if you can imagine it) fun. Who are these extraordinary people with their radical work ethic? They are the “Millennials,” the second wave of baby boomer children who are questioning the way their parents do business. Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky and Dr. Jan Ferri-Reed caution managers that they must cater to millennials or risk losing billions in employee turnover and unachieved productivity. The authors explain how the members of this over-nurtured, well-educated, technology-savvy generation differ from their parents and grandparents. They also explain how to make workplaces hip enough to attract and retain this new talent.”

Quotes from Keeping The Millennials;

“There’s a generational tidal wave coming that’s threatening to shake up workplaces throughout the world.”

“Technology is at the heart of the Millennial generation’s work ethic.”

“If companies don’t make an effort to create the type of work climate that appeals to [Millenials], these organizations could find themselves in the shallow end of the talent pool in coming years!”

“The Millennials are bringing to the workplace a new type of work ethic and a very different perspective than that of their Baby Boomer parents.”

“Like no generation before them, they grew up with sophisticated technology, and it has come to define their lives.”


10 – Retiring the Generation Gap | By Jennifer J. Deal

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Written in a highly accessible (and often witty) style, this groundbreaking book addresses a number of generational issues. Deal provides a description of each issue, a summary of the relevant research results, a principle that can be applied to resolve (or at least mitigate) the issue, and practical advice for applying the principle in the workplace.  Applying these principles will help everyone to work with, work for, attract, manage, retain, and develop leaders of all generations.

Quotes from Retiring the Generation Gap;

“Comments about unacceptable behavior on the part of another generation often stem from a particular group’s notion that it gets to make the rules and that the other group has to follow the rules.”

“Employees lower in organizations often think that people at higher levels are functionally incompetent.”

“People of all generations are concerned about the effects of organizational politics on their careers, on being recognized for the work they are doing and on getting access to the resources they need to do their job.”

“Just because you don’t supervise someone doesn’t mean you’re not a leader in your organization.”

“In essence, the generation gap appears when the younger people stop accepting everything the older group tells them and starts believing that their own opinions, perspectives, and attitudes have validity equal to those of the elders.”


11 – Bridging the Boomer-Xer Gap | By Danilo Sirias, Connie Fuller and Hank Karp

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According to getAbstract, “The three authors – consultant Hank Karp, organizational development executive Connie Fuller and academic Danilo Sirias – admit they began their project with some hypotheses about the differences between Boomers and Xers. One of the most powerfully suggestive was the theory that Xers are much more individualistic than Boomers, which has the potential to create some worrisome issues for managers. Although their statistical analysis found some support for this notion, it also revealed, paradoxically, that Xers are real team players, perhaps even more so than Boomers. The authors do their best to write around that awkward fact, but the fact stubbornly remains: when it comes to working on teams, only seemingly subtle differences separate Boomers and Xers. The book offers a lot of reliable, proven tips about team management, so it is worthwhile. However, its credibility is somewhat damaged by the authors’ repeated references to differences and gaps whose existence seems pretty minimal, even in the eyes of their own research. While that may make this seem like a curious book about a solution to an elusive problem.”

Quotes from Bridging the Boomer-Xer Gap;

“Listen to the water cooler or break room discussions in any organization in the country and you will hear stereotyping about your own peer group that probably doesn’t apply to you and about others that probably doesn’t apply to them.”

“This is what authentic teams are all about – real people doing real work that benefits them and the company for which they work.”

“Individual autonomy is the key value.”

“Boomers are in positions of power in their organizations, and they are setting policies that will govern the workplace for the next several decades.”


Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Generation X

For the first time in US history, the population has five generations in the workplace. They range from the Eldest or traditionalists, the Linksters, Baby Boomers, and Generation X and Generation Y groups. How does Generation X respond, correlate, and interact with other generations, i.e. in the workplace?

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

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