Bill Strauss, generational analyst

Bill Strauss, who co-authored a number of important books on generational dynamics, is dead at 60.

This is a great loss. Strauss and his colleague Neil Howe were responsible for some of the most insightful and important analyses ever done into American generations. Thanks to them we now have a heightened ability to understand the cyclical nature of generations, affording us a tremendous capability to anticipate coming trends.

13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail, their examination of Generation X, literally changed my life. Up until I discovered it in th early ’90s I had no idea about the broad economic and social factors shaping what I thought was my own personal little hell. It seemed to me that there was a rulebook for professional success and that everybody had a copy except me. 13th Gen made clear that it wasn’t just me – I was at the very front edge of a cohort full of people facing the same struggles for the same reasons.

Howe and Strauss’ work (especially Millennials Rising) has since become the cornerstone for a lot of my professional activities, as so much of what I do has major generational implications. Put simply, I could never repay the debt I owe to Bill Strauss, even if I dedicated the rest of my life to trying.

He’ll be missed.

By the way, those unfamiliar with Strauss’ writing may know him as the co-founder of the Capitol Steps, the wildly successful political satire troupe.

4 replies »

  1. Its not that I think he’s wrong – as a theorist, you only have to be more right than wrong anyway, I just don’t know what to do with that – how can I add to what seems like a knee-jerk prejudicial outlook? And does it take any kind of research whatsoever to decide that the next generation is where your market is, therefore sell them as heroes?

  2. Lou: You don’t sound like you’ve read his books. There’s nothing knee-jerk or prejudicial about them, and there’s a LOT more going on than the selling of Millennials as heroes. In fact, if you come at it the right way you see how incredibly nuanced the possibilities with them are.