The Time of Our Lives

The Time of Our Lives

Book - 2011
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Tom Brokaw, known and beloved for his landmark work in American journalism and for the New York Times bestsellers The Greatest Generation and Boom!, now turns his attention to the challenges that face America in the new millennium, to offer reflections on how we can restore America's greatness.
 
"What happened to the America I thought I knew?" Brokaw writes. "Have we simply wandered off course, but only temporarily? Or have we allowed ourselves to be so divided that we're easy prey for hijackers who could steer us onto a path to a crash landing? . . . I do have some thoughts, original and inspired by others, for our journey into the heart of a new century."
 
Rooted in the values, lessons, and verities of generations past and of his South Dakota upbringing, Brokaw weaves together inspiring stories of Americans who are making a difference and personal stories from his own family history, to engage us in a conversation about our country and to offer ideas for how we can revitalize the promise of the American Dream.
 
Inviting us to foster a rebirth of family, community, and civic engagement as profound as the one that won World War II, built our postwar prosperity, and ushered in the Civil Rights era, Brokaw traces the exciting, unnerving changes in modern life--in values, education, public service, housing, the Internet, and more--that have transformed our society in the decades since the age of thrift in which he was raised. Offering ideas from Americans who are change agents in their communities, in The Time of Our Lives, Brokaw gives us, a wise, honest, and wide-ranging book, a nourishing vision of hopefulness in an age of diminished expectations.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2011.
ISBN: 9781400064588
9780679643920
Characteristics: xxii, 291 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm

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dixithanoop
Sep 08, 2020

The first impression is that this book is very political (and by that, I don't mean biased), and attempts to highlight as well as uplift American values, and what better time to read this than during the weeks of DNC and RNC?!

The Time of Our Lives by veteran journalist Tom Brokaw touches upon various basic aspects that citizens of a country need to contemplate - the nation's education system, healthcare, the policies in the internet era, housing and spending in general, the lives and future of the elderly etc, and analyzes each subject by categorizing it into its past, present, and future (which is termed 'promise' euphemistically). The "fact" at the beginning of each chapter offers a nice base to the analysis in the rest of it.

The book is teeming with interesting information and innovative ideas about various cultural aspects and their impact on the American society, which the author refers to as "daring new ideas tested in the laboratories of everyday life". To name a few, the Tunisian fruit vendor which became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring; the Nation at Risk report that compares American education system with the rest of the world, and with the elite C9 of China in particular; the extremely competitive and demanding Korean school system where kids wait in front of the school gates at 6:30 AM in the morning; Michele Rhee's controversial "Capital Gains" program where students received money for good grades and behavior; author's own suggestions to extend the school hours to 11 months; the curious McKinsey report that highlights that only 10% of Chinese trained in their country were ready for the demands of the global workspace; Start-up Nation and the story of Israel's economic miracle and IDF's role and influence in shaping an Israelite; the concept of "Silver Tsunami", a generational shift in the age gaps; the widespread prevalence of coupons in American shopping; volunteering; the story of the Robin Hood Foundation etc.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some Google interview questions in the book - like the puzzle to find out the heavier of the eight balls, sorting a million integers, even hash-tree and a binary search tree references!!

In conclusion, I'd recommend giving this book a chance, and if nothing else, it would certainly feed you with a lot of information about the evolution of current affairs (as in, what has constituted historically, and what constitutes current affairs now) in the US.

r
rspanny
Apr 18, 2013

Pleasant (like Tom Brokaw himself) to read, but this book just amounts to a series of simple essays covering the author’s observations on the national topics of the day. A book of straightforward reporting on current American affairs circa 2011, but without many deep insights or analysis. Unfortunately, the whole book consists of mostly forgettable material, really.

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