Not so long ago I tried my best to work through Timothy Ferriss's The 4-Hour Workweek to no success. I believe this was mostly to the fact that Ferriss seemed to keep on talking about nothing and getting nowhere closer to knowing how to reduce the workweek to as little as possible even if he said this would be explained in every other page. However, he never seemed to reach, or make, any conclusions on how to achieve this "optimal" lifestyle. I remember him at one point explaining that a vague answer is one of the best devices to use instead of a straight, easy answer. For me, this explained most of his book where he did this. Instead of giving concrete solutions to minimize one's work week, he made fleeting suggestions that eventually led me to put the book down.
Linus Jonkman's Generationsanpassat ledarskap focuses on how to manage different generations in the workplace; how to make them produce the best they can. These two works are vastly different, yet alike in a couple of ways. Where Ferriss says no one can enjoy working, Jonkman makes rational arguments about how generations view the workplace in different ways, and that many workers do enjoy their jobs. What's interesting about these two books is that Ferriss pulls everyone over one edge, stating that everyone longs to work as little as possible. Jonkman on the other side says that what people want to achieve with their work varies from generation from generation. What makes Jonkman's work better, in my opinion, is that he draws conclusions about these generations as a group – not as individuals.
Now, on to the more specifics of Jonkman's work.
What first hit me about this book when my mother showed it to me, was how accurate it was. It began with me skimming some of the funnier such as the "statistic truths". For example this one about Generation Y:1982-2002 (my own generation!):
97% of the Y-generation has a potent shortage of Billy Idol in their lives.
And yes, I find this humorous seeing as I have no understanding for the hype for house music among my peers and would love to erase that shortage of Billy Idol in my life.
Aside from the humorous parts, this book is more than just how to support the generations in the work place, it's almost more about where each generation comes from, why we have our different quirks. It explains why my grandma washes her plastic bags and uses them again later on, why some of my friend's parents are untroubled by global warming, and why my own generation behaves the way we do in certain aspects.
Jonkman presents comparisons between the four generations: 1925-1942, 1943-1960, 1961-1981, and 1982-2002. He shows parallels between global events with both political and cultural aspects and how these in turn shapes the generations to its values, and why some generations are less concerned by the future than others due to global events such as a pending World War III while others have much brighter look on the future while growing up from a relative stable world. Also interesting is how each generation acts as parent to the next, thus shaping them and often do this according to a much different style than they were brought up in themselves.
I find the book highly interesting as I for the first time understand how all these events has shaped my older friends and relatives and why some of their jokes are completely lost on me, or why some of my own jokes are so lost on them. Also it gives some great understanding to what drives them in their daily lives and why we value some aspects of life in various ways. Perhaps these generalizations only work for those close to me up here in Sweden, but since many of the influences comes from outside the country, I believe many of these theories can be applied to a greater group of people.
And to summarize:
Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known.
– Ronald Reagan