David Burstein is the founder and executive director of the youth voter engagement organization Generation18 and director of two documentaries on them. In this wide-ranging book, he presents an overview of the Millennial Generation of 80 million (larger than the Baby Boomer Generation of 60 million) people born between 1980 and 1994. Today these individuals are between 19 and 33 years of age.
Millennials have a resilience that has grown out of their experience of the 9/11 attacks and two wars. They have witnessed the impeachment of one president, the dysfunctional economy, the Columbine shootings, and the environmental decline. Burstein states that this generation of men and women have grown up in "the fast future" and think of the world pragmatically. He has spent six years traveling America and having conversations with Millennials about the trends and topics that influence and interest them.
Although careful to make it clear that there is no one-size-fits-all description of this generation, Burstein sees their mindset as one of pragmatic idealism. He claims that the 9/11 attacks animated Millennials to service and civic duties. This generation is also the first one to grow up with digital technologies and the Internet playing a dominant role in their lives. Recent polls show that 58 percent create some form of Internet content each week and 71 percent engage with peer-created content on a regular basis. No wonder they have been described as the first "always connected" generation.
Burstein goes on to explore the response and involvement of Millennials with twenty-first century capitalism, politics, and global challenges. Disagreeing with those who have written off this generation as shallow, apathetic, and narcissistic, the author defends his age cohort as engaged, optimistic, and geared up to handle the crises of the future.