Heather Havrilesky, Salon:
“I’m fascinated by Lisa Chamberlain’s funny, thoughtful and surprisingly thorough examination of the forces that shaped Gen Xers’ unique perspectives on the world. … Weaving together pop culture, statistics, observations and anecdotes, Slackonomics is the sort of resonant, witty, highly readable cultural commentary that we were way too self-involved to read (or write) 15 years ago …”
The take-away from Publishers Weekly, May 26, 2008:
Knowledgeable and well-written … Slackonomics is full of interesting mini-arguments [and] serves to illuminate the many disparate pockets of a group that continues to resist easy categorization.
The full review:
Freelance writer Chamberlain’s exploration of the social and professional choices of Generation X is a knowledgeable and well-written addition to the growing library of books devoted to the “alternative” generation. The author focuses primarily on the way that the young men and women of the 1990s made their money, and does a nice job conveying the tough economic fortunes of the beginning of that decade and the creative and financial boom of the Internet’s early days, as well as the eventual fallout when it went bust. Chamberlain uses each chapter of the book to address a specific aspect of the generation in question, often using a combination of cultural touchstones and sociology books to illustrate her point; a chapter about Gen-X relationships ponders the Richard Linklater film Before Sunrise and quotes extensively from Stephanie Coontz’s Marriage, a History. Often, the text is taken over by monologues from Gen-Xers themselves, who
narrate their winding paths through the job market, usually ending in creative and relatively fulfilling jobs as a result of their ingenuity. While the book is full of interesting mini-arguments, including an entertaining takedown of Ethan Watters’s Urban Tribes, it doesn’t present a cohesive vision. Rather, it serves to illuminate the many disparate pockets of a group that continues to resist easy categorization.
I made a point of not focusing on Xers v. Boomers in my book Slackonomics (for a humorous take on that angle, read X Saves the World by Jeff Gordinier). But at some point while I was researching various Gen X topics, I heard about Google Trends and decided to compare Generation X to Baby Boomers, and got an interesting result, which I just repeated and got essentially the same thing. The verdict? Slackonomics is going to Australia! The top three cities from where people search Generation X the most are Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Even more interesting, there are more searches for ‘Generation X’ than ‘Baby Boomer,’ yet there are many more articles about Boomers than Xers. Indeed, the number of articles about Xers is practically flat-lined. So apparently, there’s an interest here that is not being served by the media. Let’s hope Slackonomics fills that desire!
Media Bistro’s Galley Cat had a little item about my book and another Gen X book that came out last month, X Saves the Day by Jeff Gordinier (who I will be reading with at KGB Bar on April 29). We ate a rather fancy lunch at Savoy on Media Bistro’s tab, so I guess being a broke writer does have its perks once in a blue moon.
A quote from the item:
“I didn’t want to sound whiny,” Chamberlain says of her handling of the economic crises Generation X has faced; instead, she focuses on how growing up under such conditions has provided her peers with “a unique skill set to deal with big problems.”
See the whole thing here (including a dorky photo).