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June 10, 2010 Volume 31, No. 31

MU reads Generation Me

Is narcissism pervasive among the younger generation — those between 11 and 40 years old? The growing obsession with one’s self is examined in the book Generation Me by Jean Twenge, which MU freshmen will be encouraged to read for the 2010 Freshman Summer Reading Program. The campuswide program is designed to unite diverse students with common literature before they arrive on campus.

In her book, Twenge examines the lives of those born in the 70s, 80s and 90s — the generation she labels “Generation Me.” In her research, Twenge found that the individuals of Generation Me are expected to be higher-achievers and more independent than previous generations, but also suffer more from cynicism, depression and loneliness.

“This book allows for a wide range of discussion topics and should spark a lively debate between faculty, staff and students,” says David Rielley, director of new student programs at MU. “Even though you may not fall into that generation stereotype, it helps you understand their perspectives.”

Freshman and undergraduates will have the opportunity to participate in small book discussions led by MU staff and faculty members during Fall Welcome on Aug. 19. Twenge will visit the MU campus on Sept.  9 and will hold a book signing, attend a public reception at Ellis Library, and present a lecture that will be free for students and $10 for the public.