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A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby…

A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America (edition 2018)

by Bruce Cannon Gibney (Author)

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Title:A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America
Authors:Bruce Cannon Gibney (Author)
Info:Hachette Books (2018), Edition: Reprint, 464 pages

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A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney



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In A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America, Bruce Cannon Gibney presents an economic history from the postwar years to the present that explores the social developments that linked a generation and how, more than any right or left divide, the generational bonds shared by Boomers characterize their political policies. He writes, "The central theme of this book is that America's present dilemma resulted substantially and directly from choices made by the Baby Boomers. Their collective, pathological self-interest derailed a long train of progress, while exacerbating and ignoring existential threats like climate change. The Boomers' sociopathic need for instant gratification pushed them to equally sociopathic policies, causing them to fritter away an enormous inheritance, and when that was exhausted, to mortgage the future" (pg. xxvi). Gibney uses the DSM-V for his definitions before drawing upon a close reading of economic policies over the past forty years that undid much of the work of the Greatest and Silent Generations to save for the future and invest in prosperity in favor of immediate gains. These careful examinations can get a little bogged down in the details and statistics at times, but they help to illustrate the larger points. Rather than simply castigate the Boomers, Gibney does offer a way forward. He concludes, "The goals of this cultural reorientation are straightforward. The first is to provide a foundation for unity against the Boomer agenda, and to do it quickly... The second is to remember that the anti-anti-social agenda is, at heart, a prosocial agenda, one that strengthens the ideals of a commonwealth" (pg. 356). It is not yet too late to undo Boomer malfeasance, but the deadline is fast approaching. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Apr 24, 2018 |
As a history book regarding how we got to the mess our country and economy are in now, this is a pretty good book. As far as blaming an entire generation that is where this book has a problem.
The problem is, the author thinks that by citing examples of everything he has made a point of in the book is enough to convince the reader, that what he says is true. But his points often waver in far to many places or he glosses over areas and topics that don’t support his narrative, which makes it highly difficult to take the premise of the book seriously.
It’s hard to blame an entire generation when that generation does not think uniformly nor vote uniformly. In addition many of the chapters don’t hold up to critical analysis.
For example the chapter on education, while doing an excellent job, pointing out what a train wreck it is in this country and the many reasons why, there are no solutions but it contains a misguided belief that somehow government can fix it.
He also has some sinkhole sized holes regarding his chosen field and the kinds of companies he has invested in to get as rich as he has, PayPal- his Stanford college roommate invented it, Facebook (a ground floor investor), and Lyft to name a few. A number of books have pointed out the damage Wall Street has done to this country.
He also makes the asinine claim on page 297 of the paperback version (while talking about monopolies), that Facebook isn’t a monopoly, and doesn’t perpetrate evil.
He, I believe,truly thinks government is capable of fixing most things if they do it correctly, he makes the claim that Obviously climate change is real but that baby boomers are deniers of science, and doesn’t see any conflict in interest between having an organization who believes something to be true (even though every prediction they have made regarding man made climate change has been wrong) paying for said research.
He also believes that we need to tax people far more than we do ( I love when rich people preach about how taxes need to be higher, just not theirs).
Lastly they was a very large omission- in my opinion regarding very little was said about Barack Obama, the a consummate baby boomer, who was the president for the 8 years prior to the book being written.
In the end the author try’s too hard to blame way too many policies, decisions, laws, etc, on a single generation who doesn’t vote, believe, or care about the same things the same way. ( )
  zmagic69 | Apr 16, 2018 |
A lot of good points but the book fails to take into account the social limitations of the times. For example, the chapter on hedonistic tendencies makes the case that the generation before boomers were much more content and willing to stick it out when it came to marriage. Our grandmothers never had a choice the way our boomer mothers did. In other chapters, the author is spot on but then suddenly falls into sweeping generalization that does not distinguish between the haves and the have nots in the boomers which is a huge difference.

I'm personally sick to death of my parents' generation wondering why we're so forlorn and pissed off about the state of things. Boomers don't see how the lack of opportunities, outrageous student loans, and zero safety net, compared to what they had all their lives, has any bearing. We're all just entitled and trying to keep them from living out their lives in peace with all their drugs and needs covered. I truly get where the author is coming from, I do. But the book comes off a tad too cherry-picked and overlooks important contextual details. ( )
1 vote taraWritesSci | Mar 31, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316395781, Hardcover)

"Sure to be controversial."--Fortune magazine

What happens when a society is run by people who are anti-social? Welcome to Baby Boomer America.

In A Generation of Sociopaths, Bruce Cannon Gibney shows how America was hijacked by the Boomers, a generation whose reckless self-indulgence degraded the foundations of American prosperity. A former partner in a leading venture capital firm, Gibney examines the disastrous policies of the most powerful generation in modern history, showing how the Boomers ruthlessly enriched themselves at the expense of future generations.

Acting without empathy, prudence, or respect for facts--acting, in other words, as sociopaths--the Boomers turned American dynamism into stagnation, inequality, and bipartisan fiasco. The Boomers have set a time bomb for the 2030s, when damage to Social Security, public finances, and the environment will become catastrophic and possibly irreversible--and when, not coincidentally, Boomers will be dying off.

Gibney, whose 2011 essay "What Happened to the Future?" transfixed the investment world, argues that younger generations have a fleeting window to hold the Boomers accountable and begin restoring America. Distilling deep research into a witty, colorful indictment of the Boomers and an urgent defense of the once-unquestioned value of society, A Generation of Sociopaths is poised to become one of the most controversial books of the year.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 08 Feb 2017 22:26:18 -0500)

Gibney shows how America was hijacked by a generation whose reckless self-indulgence degraded the foundations of American prosperity. Acting without empathy, prudence, or respect for facts-- acting, in other words, as sociopaths-- they turned American dynamism into stagnation, inequality, and bipartisan fiasco. In the 2030s damage to Social Security, public finances, and the environment will become catastrophic and possibly irreversible. Gibney argues that younger generations have a fleeting window to hold the boomers accountable and begin restoring America.… (more)

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