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Generations, Part 1

Amidst all the noise about Millennials, Xers and Boomers there's a real theory about generations and their power over business. Bestselling author Neil Howe explains it all for us on the latest podcast.

Run Time: 32 minutes

Generational labels are typically eye-rolling buzzwords thrown about in marketing conversations, but the labels are connected to a bigger model of consumer behavior. Much of that model was pioneered and evangelized by Neil Howe and the late William Strauss. In the first of a special two-part edition of The Findings Report podcast we sit down with Neil Howe to frame up the essentials. What is generational marketing and why does it matter at all?


Neil Howe

Neil Howe is the Demography sector head at Hedgeye Risk Management, an independent financial research firm. Howe is a renowned authority on generations and social change in America. An acclaimed bestselling author and speaker, he is the nation’s leading thinker on today’s generations—who they are, what motivates them, and how they will shape America’s future.

A historian, economist, and demographer, Howe is also a recognized authority on global aging, long-term fiscal policy, and migration. He is currently a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Global Aging Institute, both in Washington D.C. Howe has co-authored numerous studies for CSIS (including the Aging Vulnerability Index and pioneering studies on pension reform in China and South Korea).

Howe has written over a dozen books on generations, demographic change, and fiscal policy, many of them with William Strauss. Howe and Strauss' first book, Generations (1991), is a history of America told as a sequence of generational biographies. Vice President Al Gore called it “the most stimulating book on American history that I have ever read” and sent a copy to every member of Congress. Newt Gingrich called it “an intellectual tour de force.” Of their book The Fourth Turning (1997), The Boston Globe wrote, “If Howe and Strauss are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets.”

Howe and Strauss originally coined the term “Millennial Generation” in 1991, and wrote the pioneering book on this generation, Millennials Rising (2000). His work has been featured frequently by media outlets including The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Previous works include On Borrowed Time (1989; reissued 2004), a pioneering call for budgetary reform Howe co-authored with Peter G. Peterson, as well as The Graying of the Great Powers (2008) with Richard Jackson.

Howe received his B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and later earned graduate degrees in economics and history from Yale University.

Generational Ambassadors

Special thanks to our generational ambassadors who participated in our audio survey of attitudes and opinions. Each of them was asked the same 10 questions about their lives. A selection of their responses were featured in the episode.

  • Baby Boomer — Roger Holzberg
  • Generation X — Robyn Ward
  • Millennial — Roarke Walker
  • Homelander — Daniela Risner

Links to Material Mentioned in the Episode

Show Credits


  • Clip from CSPAN courtesy of CSPAN


The Findings Report theme song was composed by Daniel Munkus

Other music heard in this episode:


  • Transcription: Lydia Ward
  • Production Support: Amanda White


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