Grown up Digital by Don Tapscott, a book review

Book Review / Knowledge and Intangibles

Grown up Digital by Don Tapscott, a book review
M. Damen , Student (Other), Netherlands

Book review of 'Grown up Digital', Don Tapscott's book about the so called “Net Generation”.

Literature review
Title: Grown up digital
Autor: Don Tapscott
Year: 2009
Publisher: Mc Graw Hill
ISBN: 978-0-07-150863-6
Grown up digital is a book about how the so called “Net Generation” (first Netgener is born in 1977) is growing up, how they differ from “Baby Boomers” and therefore how this generation is lost in organizations and institutions build by the Boomers (or even generations before). The book is based on eight values the Net Generation has. These values are of great importance in everyday life and differ a lot from the Boomers’ values. One can understand that these differences cause conflicts.
This book is written for boomers to understand, learn and embrace the Net Generation.
When I started reading this book I recognized myself in the description of a Netgener. Moreover I recognized the conflicts I have with many organizations and institutions. The first part of the book is about who the Net Generation is, why they actually differ from their parents and even that their brains have developed differently than those of the boomers. Especially that last issue was interesting to read. Taspscott refers to several brain studies where he mentioned that because of the activities children execute nowadays more and more links are made in the brain. Which makes it for them easier to multitask, make links, be curious and discover. An example is given about adolescent gamers, scientists ran a test and it became clear that they process visual information more quickly, which means that they notice more than non gamers.
So it is clear that the Net Generation have developed differently in comparison with the generations before. Then the eight Net Generation norms are stated and since they really are the core of this book I would like to mention them:
1. Freedom,
2. Customization,
3. Scrutiny,
4. Integrity,
5. Collaboration,
6. Entertainment,
7. Speed, and
8. Innovation.
I think these aspects do cover the most important aspects of my generation. Tapscott uses these values throughout the whole book over several disciplines like education, work life, consuming, family life, politics and social responsibility. And I must say it totally makes sense. It actually is clear that when organizations in these disciplines anticipate to the eight values, success is more likely to happen than when one sticks to traditional ways of doing business.
In my opinion Don Tapscott has made it very clear why the Net Generation is different from older generations and what this means for the world. This is of course the foundation of my study Imagineering. Imagineering is created because the world has changed more than organization on which the world relies. Therefore I think every Imagineer should be aware of the differences between the Net Generation and the Baby Boomers and what this means for society and organizations. Moreover, the digitalization, which caused the current generation to be this different from their parents, has been the catalyst of all changes that are occurring. Therefore it is of great importance to understand what actually changes within society and how the Net Gener society is going to look like.
However I believe we as Imagineers should also be aware of the changes to come. The generation that is born right now, 2011, is probably going to have also loads of impact for the world. Innovations run faster than ever and we stand just in the beginning of this era.
For me personally this is very important too, the research I am conducting is amongst the Net Generation. Therefore it is very important for me to understand and to submit the eight values in approaching them and to activate them to get involved and to co-create.
So I can conclude that the message Tapscott shares with the world is of great importance. Especially for leaders in society like: CEO’s, presidents, entrepreneurs and even parents. Though, when I read this book nothing has surprised me. I am a “netgener” and I knew this all. The book was slow and way too extensive, which made it sometimes very boring. Though I believe that when an ignorant Baby Boomer reads the book, he/she will be reading with an open mouth. It can be a shocking message that everything you build and thought worked is in need of drastic change.
I imagine a 45 year old CEO of a national company reading this book, when he finishes it he is activated. He knows that actually whole society needs to change their logic, every domain from education to politics, to his own family life and also His organization. He wants the company to be more engaged with the Net Generation and use the eight net values as a foundation for the future of his company. Though I think he will get lost, lost in ideas without knowing How to actually change. He knows that it needs to happen but he has no clue how. And this is the true gap of the book.
Tapscott gave core ideas and pinpoints of what and where to be aware of. However I missed the How. Although I must admit the How part could be an whole other book, he could also have chosen to be less extensive, give less examples and refer to the How more. It would give a deeper meaning for the book and it could be used as a guideline for change.
To summarize my opinion, I believe this book contains a valuable lesson for every person in the world, for the Net Generation is it also important to understand why they are different from older generations and cope with that respectfully. For the older generations the lesson is very valuable, they should after reading be happy with the Net Generation, learn from them instead of being resistant and therefore embrace the future.

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