Generation iY

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Book Reviews, Generations

Almost summarizing the purpose of the book in one sentence, Cathy D.T. gives his supportive statement and sets the tone of the book, by writing in the forward, that “we all have an influential role to play in nurturing this next generation” (2010, p9).

‘Generation iY’ draws a picture of the challenges faced by the next generation of leaders, as well as to what might happen if insufficient attention is given now at an early stage of their development. ‘Generation iY’ is written by Tim Elmore who served as the vice-president of leadership development at EQUIP (a John Maxwell company) for seven years before founding and still acting as president of ‘Growing Leaders’; a non-profit with the mission to develop young leaders who will transform society. Elmore has written more than 20 books and speaks regularly to students at campuses across the USA using principles, images, and stories to strengthen leaders (Source: growingleaders).

Taking the reader through a series of phases, Elmore highlights some of the realities the iY Generation deals with on a daily basis as they make numerous complex, career, social, and spiritual decisions. Elmore describes this generation as “short on patience, listening skills, and conflict resolution” (2010, p21), having “way too much confidence and far to little experience to be left to their own devices” (2010, p18).

Starting with a glimpse of what the year 2030 might look like when many of the iY Generation has moved into leadership positions, Elmore continues to elaborate in his understanding and view that helped to form and shape the iY Generation. He captures practical tools throughout the chapters and in an interview on ‘Fox and Friends’ Elmore gives four principles, taken from the book, that will help each reader to be better equipped as a “parent, teacher, coach, employer, youth worker, retailer, pastor, non-profits, and anyone who will make the necessary changes to lead this generation well” (2010, p5). These four principles are; ‘Let kids fail’, ‘Be a velvet covered brick’, ‘Let kids be independent according to their age’, and ‘When a child is young, parents should impart in them that they are loved and special’ (Source: Fox and Friends).

A personal favorite in the book is the chapter on “A Compass, Not a Map’. Coming from the understanding that the forward movement of the iY generation is unstoppable, Elmore suggests that by giving more direction and less structural indication on how to go ahead step by step, the iY Generation will gain more experiential knowledge as they identify and discover their own unique pathways and methods in reaching their destination.

Elmore strongly expresses the need for mentors. He strongly speaks out against the view that many things in life are optional, and in the real world some things just needs to be done whether we like it or not. He speaks out against the lie that you are a winner just because you participated, because if everyone is a winner then no one is a winner (Source: Leadershipnow).

Although great focus and attention has gone into the identifying and discussion around these presumed issues and challenges, there is an undertone that the iY generation are in serious trouble. A picture is continuously drawn of a generation that is doomed to fail unless the current influencers do something now; hence the subtitle of the book, “Our last chance to save their future”. Another point of critique is the continuous mention of “they are”, and “we have to”, confirming the already existing gap between generations. It may have been beneficial for younger readers if the author had elaborated on some of the iY generations strengths. This could assist the younger readers to seek ways to bridge the gap between generations.

In closing, I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is connected in any way with the emerging generation of leaders. Despite the books limitations it gives an indication that we all have a role to play. Whether they are to be called the iY Generation, Nexters, Mosaics, Millennials, etc., these young people are the leaders of tomorrow, and we have a moral obligation to ensure that we create the best possible platform for them to launch from.

Book available in both ‘paperback’ and ‘kindle’ from

  1. marknehrenz says:

    I just spoke at a student conference two weeks ago here at OU where Tim Elmore was the morning Keynote. He was a great presenter and left us all with a lot! Glad you are reading his stuff Adriaan!

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