David Burstein has become a recognized, leading expert on how millenials are transforming technology, culture, politics, and every aspect of the world in which we live today. Burstein conveys his message through film, political advocacy, TV commentary, and other forms of media, and most recently, he has published a book, ‘Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World’. He illustrates the way the millennial generation is changing the way people engage in business, politics, and culture. The Bootstrapper Team was lucky enough to interview Burstein about his new book.
1. What is your vision for the book?
This book is a comprehensive firsthand account of how this generation is changing business, technology, culture, politics and the world we are all living in. This generation has come of age in a remarkable time, and this is really an important time to tell our story. If we don’t tell our own story, we’ll get written off as the things we have already been called: apathetic, narcissistic, entitled, etc. I think this generation has earned the right to be taken seriously, and I hope this book conveys to everyone who reads it just what a group of game changers we are. We are pragmatic idealists, we want to make big change in the world, and we believe we can. We’re leading the way towards a more socially minded world and pulling other generations along with us. We’ve built companies that have affected the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world; we’ve toppled dictators, and elected a president. I really wanted the book to convey the range and impact of what we’ve done as an indicator of what’s to come.
2. Who is your target market? & 3. Why would they want to read it?
The millennials are the largest generation in history, and they are changing almost every aspect of our world, which means that there is something relevant in this book for everyone. If you are a teacher, this book will help you understand your students better. If you work for a consumer goods or services company, you need to understand what this generation wants from its brands and how you can reach them. If you work for any company, you’ll want to understand how to work with this generation as employees. This generation thinks and acts differently as millennials and consumers, and understanding our perspective is essential for navigating the current landscape.
If you’re a politician, you really need to understand this generation’s view when it comes to politics because we’ll be one third of the electorate in 2020. For millennials, in the book they will discover fellow members of their generation who will inspire and energize them. And, of course, they’ll also have a good way to counter criticisms they face from other generations. For the more general reader, through the prism of the millennials, this book tells the broader story of the changes in our world and simultaneous revolutions that are taking place every single second in the fast future age.
3. What are 3 key takeaways someone will get from your book?
The book lays out the case for pragmatic idealism as the millennial theory of change and shows the powerful impact of merging pragmatism and idealism. It’s exemplified by the everyday stories of millennials who are making change in their communities and around the world. People like Mark Rembert and Taylor Stuckert of Wilmington, Ohio who, when they saw unemployment in their hometown, decided to start an organization called Energize Clinton County, which has brought young people back home and created new jobs in the region.
The book speaks powerfully to the changes the millennials have made in the business world. Despite the economic crisis, millennials remain optimistic about their economic future. Because of the lack of jobs available in the wake of the economic crisis, millennials have learned to be entrepreneurial and are beginning to favor big corporate jobs less. Millennials have also taken the lead on forcing businesses to become more socially conscious, by choosing their brands and purchases more and more around the causes they support.
Millennials are marrying, buying homes and cars at the lowest rates ever for a youth demographic. This is a reflection of millennials’ preference for finding love over marriage, finding community over home ownership, and wanting to live more mobile environmentally conscious lives. All of these things, as well as the millennials’ approach to finding more meaningful work and careers are remaking the American Dream, prompting a shift in American society and the American economy.
4. What are you most proud of about it?
For the first time in this book, we are hearing the story of the millennial generation in their own words. There has been a great deal written about this generation, but until this book, no one in the generation has written a cohesive story of this generation from this generation’s perspective. I’m incredibly proud to be able to do that in the book.
5. What lesson did you learn writing it?
I wrote the book on and off over a two and a half year period, and one of the interesting things about that process was that as I was writing, I was having conversations with people about the issues and ideas in the book. So, I would test ideas out in conversation and then workshop them so to speak and put them into the book. It was incredibly valuable to me to have a constant sounding board, and it really taught me that to write a book about the world we are living in; you have to live in the world while writing it.
7. Who should not read your book?
There is a message in this book for everyone. I welcome readers who might disagree with the thesis or content in the book, and I would very much like to hear from those people. I would encourage those who have a negative impression of millennials to come into reading this book with an open mind.
About David Burstein:
David D. Burstein is a millennial writer, filmmaker, and advocate. He recently authored, ‘Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World’. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Generation18, a nonpartisan young voter engagement organization. He has directed and produced political films and media content including: 18 in ’08, get-out-the-vote PSA series, and Up to Us. He received a 2009 DoSomething Award, and his story was featured on several million bags of Doritos. He has appeared on CNN, FOX News, NPR, ABC Evening News, and C-SPAN, and in The New York Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe among many others as a commentator and is a contributing writer to Huffington Post and Fast Company. David serves as the Co-Director of the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship @ Chicago Ideas Week and is on the advisory boards for UniversityX, The Civic Life Project, and The Westport Youth Film Festival. Finally, he is a proud graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.