Q&A with author David Burstein
Author David Burstein, 24, is discussing and signing copies of his book “FAST FUTURE: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World” today at Student Stores.
Staff writer Gabriella Cirelli spoke with Burstein about what inspired him to write the book, what the millennial generation is and its impact on the future.
Daily Tar Heel: Can you tell me a little bit about your book?
David Burstein: My book is one of the first inside looks at this generation that’s actually written by someone in this generation.
I set out to tell the story about how this generation is profoundly impacting our world’s business, economics, politics and global interactions.
DTH: What inspired you to write it?
DB: I read all of these things about how young people are lazy and narcissistic and bored, and I realized that that’s not what I’m seeing.
We are living through an incredible moment. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen more change than in some entire centuries, and the pace of this rate of change is in overdrive, which is driven by the rise of digital technology.
This generation is coming of age in the world knowing that as the reality and knowing nothing but constant change and motion. Because of this, we have the unique ability to be effective in this period.
We understand what’s happening and how to navigate it, which gives us a leg up from other generations. While they’re just learning how to adapt and move and become a part of it all, we’re embracing it and thriving in it and understanding it.
And so I wanted to write about these generations and how they come of age at moments of such transformative change.
DTH: What other work have you done in this industry or in regards to the millennial generation?
DB: I do a lot of consulting on how to understand and engage millennials. My primary work is around young people in politics, so I founded Generation18 to engage young voters and emphasize the importance of young people doing well in politics.
DTH: Have you done visits like this to other college campuses?
DB: Yes, primarily because college students are part of our generation, the generation that I write about.
I’ve done over 75 of these types of events, from college campuses to bookstores to corporate boardrooms to TV and radio. Recently I’ve visited the University of Alabama, the University of Denver, New York University and Harvard.
DTH: What do you hope UNC students and other audience members will take away from the book and your visit?
DB: At UNC in particular — where these are members of our own generation — it’s obvious that we know this stuff. We know that this generation is incredibly socially conscious and mindful and entrepreneurial and ambitious.
So it’s more about how we can move forward together as a generation and how we can affect the ways that other people view us. Because half the battle is how you frame things.
We hear too much of the “kids these days” attitude, and that hurts this generation in the long term.
A big piece of this work is how this affects us long term, about how challenging and frustrating that is, but also about how we face and go up against those charges as a generation.
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