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Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations

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Bridge the Gap and Reach the Why Generation  If you've ever struggled to motivate the young people in your sphere of influence, Answering Why is the game-changer you've been looking for. From the urgent skills gap crisis to the proven strategies to inspire our youngest generations, Answering Why addresses the burning questions faced by educators, employers, and parents eve Bridge the Gap and Reach the Why Generation  If you've ever struggled to motivate the young people in your sphere of influence, Answering Why is the game-changer you've been looking for. From the urgent skills gap crisis to the proven strategies to inspire our youngest generations, Answering Why addresses the burning questions faced by educators, employers, and parents everywhere. Author, CEO, and generational expert Mark C. Perna shares his wide experience and profound success as both a single dad and performance consultant for education and workforce development across North America. Readers will be empowered to: • Embrace the branch-creak crisis moments of life • Make meaningful, productive connections with the Why Generation (anyone under 40 today) • Bring relevance, self-discovery, and passion to the learning process ​The Why Generation is asking a serious question, and it’s time to answer it. This book will help awaken the incredible potential of young people everywhere and spur them to increased performance on all fronts, so they can make a bigger difference—which is exactly what they want. 


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Bridge the Gap and Reach the Why Generation  If you've ever struggled to motivate the young people in your sphere of influence, Answering Why is the game-changer you've been looking for. From the urgent skills gap crisis to the proven strategies to inspire our youngest generations, Answering Why addresses the burning questions faced by educators, employers, and parents eve Bridge the Gap and Reach the Why Generation  If you've ever struggled to motivate the young people in your sphere of influence, Answering Why is the game-changer you've been looking for. From the urgent skills gap crisis to the proven strategies to inspire our youngest generations, Answering Why addresses the burning questions faced by educators, employers, and parents everywhere. Author, CEO, and generational expert Mark C. Perna shares his wide experience and profound success as both a single dad and performance consultant for education and workforce development across North America. Readers will be empowered to: • Embrace the branch-creak crisis moments of life • Make meaningful, productive connections with the Why Generation (anyone under 40 today) • Bring relevance, self-discovery, and passion to the learning process ​The Why Generation is asking a serious question, and it’s time to answer it. This book will help awaken the incredible potential of young people everywhere and spur them to increased performance on all fronts, so they can make a bigger difference—which is exactly what they want. 

30 review for Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: Argues that behind the skills gap between unfilled jobs and Why Generation job-seekers is an awareness gap about possible careers that fails to answer the "why" question. Mark Perna thinks we are at a "branch creak" moment, where employers struggle to find people with requisite skills to fill critical positions while Generation Y and Z youth often have no clear idea of what they want to pursue as a career and end up racking huge college debts. One of the problems he observes across indus Summary: Argues that behind the skills gap between unfilled jobs and Why Generation job-seekers is an awareness gap about possible careers that fails to answer the "why" question. Mark Perna thinks we are at a "branch creak" moment, where employers struggle to find people with requisite skills to fill critical positions while Generation Y and Z youth often have no clear idea of what they want to pursue as a career and end up racking huge college debts. One of the problems he observes across industries is the 1:2:7 ratio in which there is one job requiring a masters degree or higher to two requiring a bachelor's degree and seven that require technical training and certification that may be completed in a year or two, often through internships, apprenticeships, or while working in entry level roles. As the title suggests, the critical failure Perna sees is one of failing to answer "why" work, and why the requisite courses and other preparation is necessary. He argues that this generation needs to "see the Light at the End of the Tunnel" and if they do, and it connects to things they care about, they will work hard to pursue their goal. What this translates into is career education that begins as early as middle school that helps students become aware of different careers, as well as alternatives to college, which Perna believes is often presented as the only path to career "success." In Perna's work with school systems and employers, he overcomes the awareness gap through the use of the Career Tree. It has three levels for each career field: entry-level careers, technical careers accessed via associate degrees, certification, or experience, and professional careers most often accessed via a bachelor's or other specialized training. Students often research these trees, including the "roots" of academics, experiences, professional skills and passions that position them to reach their own "leaf"--the career they find attractive. In the process, they come to their own answers to the why question, and what it takes to pursue their passion. Employers can do this as well, mapping the Career Tree in their business or industry which Perna believes creates Employment with Passion, a planning culture that offers young employees a better understanding of the opportunities for growth in an organization and how to pursue them. I found myself getting pretty excited as I read this book. I have watched too many college students incur debt, and graduate students pursue rabbit holes, because they lacked clear ideas of what they cared about, what a job doing what they cared about looked like, and what the best way to pursue that job was. Too often, they were doing "the next thing" encouraged by parents and the colleges themselves. I'm also keenly aware of the scramble to find qualified workers in many skilled positions. It just makes sense that one of the most critical pieces of education is career education--youth just do not come by this instinctively, any more than they do calculus. Whether or not schools and employers use Perna's training and materials (which I thought quite clear), his challenges and insights ought to be front-burner material for everyone concerned--most of all students and parents. The branch is creaking. ____________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Donna Smith

    This was a book that the principal of our high school purchased for our staff. The plan was to do a book study with discussion sessions at monthly staff meetings. Several crisis situations on our campus plus the Covid-19 quarantine prevented us from delving into the book as planned. I completed the book and found it insightful. In part, it shows the need for teachers and the educational community to take responsibility for teaching and guiding students in career paths using what he calls the "Ca This was a book that the principal of our high school purchased for our staff. The plan was to do a book study with discussion sessions at monthly staff meetings. Several crisis situations on our campus plus the Covid-19 quarantine prevented us from delving into the book as planned. I completed the book and found it insightful. In part, it shows the need for teachers and the educational community to take responsibility for teaching and guiding students in career paths using what he calls the "Career Tree." But even more helpful to me was the author's insight into how our current HS and college generation thinks, beginning with the answer to the question, "Why?" Until our students know the answer to why they should listen, why they should care, why they should learn, why they should do---they will not engage. Teachers then, should start everything with the answer to the question, Why? The second most helpful to me was the issue of respect. This generation thinks opposite of how I was raised to think with regard to our elders. This generation demands that others respect them before they will give their respect or attention to anyone. Teachers then, must make serious efforts to truly care and connect with individual students, so that each student will respect and connect back with the teacher. Without this step, learning probably won't happen. One of our campus goals is to focus on relationship building with our students. Now I better understand why!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Todd Glaeser

    Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book should be a must read for anyone who has or who works with young people, from middle school upward, including those already having graduated from high school or are beginning college or any form of post diploma education. It is also a great resource for anyone who has dropped out of high school or is struggling to find a reason to show up. I think anyone involved in hiring for the trades occupations would also find value in this book. Not exactly fitting any of those categories myself, This book should be a must read for anyone who has or who works with young people, from middle school upward, including those already having graduated from high school or are beginning college or any form of post diploma education. It is also a great resource for anyone who has dropped out of high school or is struggling to find a reason to show up. I think anyone involved in hiring for the trades occupations would also find value in this book. Not exactly fitting any of those categories myself, I admit I found this book to be inspirational, motivational and interesting. I know the world of work is nothing like my parents knew, and even different than my own experience as a baby boomer. Staying in one job for 20 years or more is no longer an option. Even staying with one company for more than five years is becoming less frequent. It no longer has the stigma it once had as job hopping. Now it makes sense as a structured career move, as long as there is a plan. The sooner an individual can create that plan, the better prepared he may be for opportunities that arise along the path. As parents and employers, we need to understand the new options and reasonings for those path variations. A student won't know about all their options if no one encourages them to seek them out. Using examples of programs that are working, this book is an eye opener. I can even see the strategies discussed helping persons ready for the second career phase of their life. Many of us were not given the lifestyle option when considering our work options. Written in an easily followed style and format, the author's passion for his work and purpose shines through.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scott Fritz

    Being a member of the Baby Boomer generation who currently works with an office full of employees from the Why generation has been a very interesting experience. Mark Perna’s book Answering Why has been helpful for me to better understand my coworkers. Mark also takes a very hard-hitting look at the countries love affair with college. I worked at a small university for 20 years and during that time felt that many of the students would be better off heading into the skilled labor market instead o Being a member of the Baby Boomer generation who currently works with an office full of employees from the Why generation has been a very interesting experience. Mark Perna’s book Answering Why has been helpful for me to better understand my coworkers. Mark also takes a very hard-hitting look at the countries love affair with college. I worked at a small university for 20 years and during that time felt that many of the students would be better off heading into the skilled labor market instead of becoming a knowledge worker. Mark goes in to different programs his firm has developed to help high school students and parents understand that the skilled labor market can lead to a very promising and fulfilling career. This book should be read by every parent who has children to show that there are other paths that can bring high pay and a great feeling of achievement for their children.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dora Okeyo

    There's never been a book on connecting with, understanding and exploring the potential of young people as this. It's a must-read. Thank you NetGalley for the eARC, I can't wait to add this to my library. There's never been a book on connecting with, understanding and exploring the potential of young people as this. It's a must-read. Thank you NetGalley for the eARC, I can't wait to add this to my library.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tom Kiefer

    tl;dr: Not perfect, but definitely worth a read. IMO, this book's biggest value is Perna's insightful explorations of: * a growing "awareness gap" among modern youth concerning the broad array of employment and career opportunities in attainable existence and how that gap feeds the growing "skills gap" we keep hearing about as more and more employers lament the shortage of appropriately skilled applicants to fill their evolving needs; * how our schools' evolution into what are often effectively col tl;dr: Not perfect, but definitely worth a read. IMO, this book's biggest value is Perna's insightful explorations of: * a growing "awareness gap" among modern youth concerning the broad array of employment and career opportunities in attainable existence and how that gap feeds the growing "skills gap" we keep hearing about as more and more employers lament the shortage of appropriately skilled applicants to fill their evolving needs; * how our schools' evolution into what are often effectively college-applicant factories, teaching relatively little about life skills and career possibilities (many of which do not require increasingly expensive college degrees) before packaging students for their ultimate goal of college entrance, is a very large contributor of the feeding of this "awareness gap"; * ways of thinking and paths of action that broaden our school experiences to introduce students, as early as middle school, to the enormous breadth of careers and employable skill possibilities out there—not to drown their youth under the looming need to adult, but to sprinkle myriad diverse seeds that could lead to discovery of aptitudes and resonances that could motivate and direct their educations toward real gainful employment and career possibilities. The first five or so chapters focus on various aspects of these concerns in a way that is easily worth the price of the book on their own. The rest of the book continues to explore and reinforce these concepts in various ways. What grew less effective for me later on? Well... * Custom buzzphrases. Perna introduces terms such as "branch creak" and "light at the end of the tunnel" to illustrate and represent various aspects of the issues at hand and his strategies for addressing them, and uses these terms very frequently throughout the text. Perhaps for some this label-repetition is helpfully reinforcing, but for me, at least, it can be overused to the point that it drains away some of the meaning of the terms leaving behind a sense of mindless propaganda mantras. But maybe that's just me. * "Why Generation" Hypergeneralization. I appreciate that he's trying to draw broad cultural patterns about our modern youth from which to advise strategies, and I believe he did state once that not all Why Generation members fit the same descriptions. But I'd suggest a little more care in not painting an entire broad generation as multi-tasking extroverted idealistic new-experience-seekers. * Proprietary solution tools. The strategies discussed for helping the Why Generation find their way in the career opportunity universe depend heavily on Perna's proprietary Career Tree concept, his descriptions of which do illustrate well the nature of the problem, but which none of us can directly use without engaging Perna's professional services and his very-capable team, which may make the latter half of the book feel a little like guerilla marketing. In short, Answering Why is worth the read for the valuable insights and message, even if arguably a little lessened by the buzzword-repetition and interwoven self-marketing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This was one of the books I requested to review for LibraryThing but I did not receive it until just recently. I have no idea where it was for almost two months but I am so glad I finally received it. As a substitute teacher who ultimately desires to teach full time, I spend a great deal of time with students of this generation, too many who question why they are learning what they studying and doing things they feel have no impact or import on their lives. This book provides me with some answer This was one of the books I requested to review for LibraryThing but I did not receive it until just recently. I have no idea where it was for almost two months but I am so glad I finally received it. As a substitute teacher who ultimately desires to teach full time, I spend a great deal of time with students of this generation, too many who question why they are learning what they studying and doing things they feel have no impact or import on their lives. This book provides me with some answers and strategies as to how to make their education correlate directly with their lives and futures. The author also believes, as I do, that simply going to college is not the answer for every student. Having been a substitute teacher at the local BOCES Career & Technical Institute for a year, I know how wonderful these programs can be for students. This is a book I shall keep on my bookshelf to refer to again in the future because of its insights. I plan on checking out the author's free resources available online to gain even more insights and advice. This is a great book for all teachers and businesses that want to reach this new generation of students and future employees.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This book gave me a lot to think about; our son is now in 8th grade and some of what the author has written I have either worried about or have tried to discuss with our son. This book opened a continuing dialogue between us. I like the in-depth diagrams provided. I think this book should be required reading for parents, students, educators, especially Special Ed. There seems to be a real disconnect especially when it comes to SPED, people seem to think that Special Ed students of any degree of This book gave me a lot to think about; our son is now in 8th grade and some of what the author has written I have either worried about or have tried to discuss with our son. This book opened a continuing dialogue between us. I like the in-depth diagrams provided. I think this book should be required reading for parents, students, educators, especially Special Ed. There seems to be a real disconnect especially when it comes to SPED, people seem to think that Special Ed students of any degree of ability with any degree of challenge should only be taught life skills and that they should either have no job, let alone God forbid, a career or are only capable of working a low to no skill job. These children deserve and are capable of so much more. Finally something we parents can refer to for guidance and proof to show to the schools that everyone has a valuable contribution,we only need to be shown a path. There are so many job and careers out there that the majority of us are not aware of, once we are shown the opportunities, we can strive toward them whether we are special needs or not.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This was a 99 cent daily Kindle deal. I highlighted quite a few things in it - it had a lot of information relevant to my work in that it talked a lot about how we have such a shortage of skilled labor for many reasons but one is that every child is pushed to get a college degree before knowing what they want to do. Many then drop out with student loan debt because they didn't have the "why" for going to college. Kids are told by their parents to NOT go into "dirty jobs" but what if someone LIKE This was a 99 cent daily Kindle deal. I highlighted quite a few things in it - it had a lot of information relevant to my work in that it talked a lot about how we have such a shortage of skilled labor for many reasons but one is that every child is pushed to get a college degree before knowing what they want to do. Many then drop out with student loan debt because they didn't have the "why" for going to college. Kids are told by their parents to NOT go into "dirty jobs" but what if someone LIKES manufacturing and working with their hands? We can show kids a path where they start in a job where they are working with their hands and then show them the path to rise within that industry. Once that path is laid out, the student is more committed to their education. They also can often better afford to pay for it by getting a decent paying industrial job that teaches them things that will be good to know and understand later when they graduate and seek promotions or shifts within the industry to engineering, product development, etc... It was an interesting point of view and one that could help solve the utter lack of qualified talent in the industrial arena.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I wanted to read this book because the description said if you’ve ever struggled with motivating younger people this book is what you are looking for. I have four boys and I hoped this book would give me insight on how to motivate them. The description also says it will address the questions parents have. The author makes a lot of good points and suggestions for working with t I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I wanted to read this book because the description said if you’ve ever struggled with motivating younger people this book is what you are looking for. I have four boys and I hoped this book would give me insight on how to motivate them. The description also says it will address the questions parents have. The author makes a lot of good points and suggestions for working with the younger generation and motivating them. I think this is a great book for a parent or an employer to get some insight. I wish I had read it when my kids were younger. You don’t realize how small things you say can be misconstrued. The career tree the author provides has valuable information for a parent helping to guide their child. If this review was helpful to you please click the link below.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I won a copy of this book in a GoodReads giveaway. As it turns out, I'm part of the Generation Why that Mark creates for everyone under the age of 40. I have to say that I agree with a large part of what he says is a growing problem in the US wherein we push young people to go to college instead of considering other careers and paths. I went to college right after high school, but never considered another option. Having been saddled with debt and not finding a career that I truly love, I wish I I won a copy of this book in a GoodReads giveaway. As it turns out, I'm part of the Generation Why that Mark creates for everyone under the age of 40. I have to say that I agree with a large part of what he says is a growing problem in the US wherein we push young people to go to college instead of considering other careers and paths. I went to college right after high school, but never considered another option. Having been saddled with debt and not finding a career that I truly love, I wish I had been aware of the other opportunities out there. This book is great for anyone who wants to help younger generations forge a new path that will ultimately help the American economy and help people live fulfilled lives.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vernon Stinebaker

    (Much) longer than it needed to be. I prefer more evidence based books, whereas this title is predominately related to the author's own experience as a father and consultant. While many of the ideas are positive -- individuals should be exposed more early to a broad range of career options including non-college degree options -- some of the concepts are cliche and culture bound. I would recommend this title to teachers or parents who are struggling to help young individuals find direction, but I (Much) longer than it needed to be. I prefer more evidence based books, whereas this title is predominately related to the author's own experience as a father and consultant. While many of the ideas are positive -- individuals should be exposed more early to a broad range of career options including non-college degree options -- some of the concepts are cliche and culture bound. I would recommend this title to teachers or parents who are struggling to help young individuals find direction, but I'm not confident it's panacea for helping individuals find their path nor did it, for me, come anywhere near close to addressing the "Why" for the "y" generation.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Giveaway - Thank you for the opportunity to read this book! Answering Why explores the current employment gap and how it relates to Generation “Why.” It offers well researched insights and strategies to bring about change. Education and job training must evolve along with the new generations. This is an interesting topic that is very important and definitely needs more more discussion and awareness these days. I highly recommend this book to anyone raising children, business owners, and anyone in Giveaway - Thank you for the opportunity to read this book! Answering Why explores the current employment gap and how it relates to Generation “Why.” It offers well researched insights and strategies to bring about change. Education and job training must evolve along with the new generations. This is an interesting topic that is very important and definitely needs more more discussion and awareness these days. I highly recommend this book to anyone raising children, business owners, and anyone in education.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mark Higbee

    ****I received this book as a Goodreads Advanced readers copy. I would give this a 3.5 stars if I could. He is a good writer and I appreciated the concepts taught/explored in the narrative. However, I just personally could not into the subject that much. I don't believe it was the author's fault. It was simply not a passionate subject of mine. I lead Why Generation members and have kids the same age. But I really struggled to get engaged in this book. I appreciated what I learned and things that ****I received this book as a Goodreads Advanced readers copy. I would give this a 3.5 stars if I could. He is a good writer and I appreciated the concepts taught/explored in the narrative. However, I just personally could not into the subject that much. I don't believe it was the author's fault. It was simply not a passionate subject of mine. I lead Why Generation members and have kids the same age. But I really struggled to get engaged in this book. I appreciated what I learned and things that I can apply, however. I thank you for the opportunity to explore this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    John

    Being Baby Boomer in management, who is a fan of Simon Sinek's "Start with Why", and having many "Generation WHY"employees I found "Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations" interesting. This will one of those books I ask my supervisors to read and have added to our office Learning Library. I won this book book on GoodReads and will be referring back to it from time to time. Being Baby Boomer in management, who is a fan of Simon Sinek's "Start with Why", and having many "Generation WHY"employees I found "Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations" interesting. This will one of those books I ask my supervisors to read and have added to our office Learning Library. I won this book book on GoodReads and will be referring back to it from time to time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tina Luey

    Highly recommend this book for anyone with a child in the Why Generation, anyone who works in education, anyone who works with people in the Why Generation, actually I recommend this book to everyone! Great perspectives on education and career readiness. Tons of strategies for yourself or others regarding work today!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Craig Statucki

    I think that if I had read the book prior to seeing the author present at multiple conferences, I may have rated this slightly higher. Mr. Perna is a gifted speaker and is passionate about connecting students to career pathways. The book is good but seeing Mr. Perna in person multiple times over the last few years is better.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Critical information regarding the skills gap, getting kids involved in jobs in construction and manufacturing. Listening to our kids light at the end of the tunnel, not all should go to college. Amazing insight on what millenials want in a job, especially understanding why they are doing a specific job.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Abbe

    Paid 8 hours to read it and write a comment on a discussion board on Canvas for 2020 July/Summer Academy. Most of it is not new information, but there's a few things in there about the Why Generation that are helpful to keep in mind. Some of the book is a way to sell the Career Tree idea that MCSD is adopting. So some propaganda there. Easy, fast read. Paid 8 hours to read it and write a comment on a discussion board on Canvas for 2020 July/Summer Academy. Most of it is not new information, but there's a few things in there about the Why Generation that are helpful to keep in mind. Some of the book is a way to sell the Career Tree idea that MCSD is adopting. So some propaganda there. Easy, fast read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Should be required reading for all parents, teachers, and hiring managers. I am none of those things, so it didn't speak as highly to me. Not a lot of groundbreaking ideas, but they're nicely summarized and condensed. Should be required reading for all parents, teachers, and hiring managers. I am none of those things, so it didn't speak as highly to me. Not a lot of groundbreaking ideas, but they're nicely summarized and condensed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Excellent book

  23. 5 out of 5

    M.

    An interesting read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    While overall I enjoyed the book and some of the ideas, I couldn't help but feel that it was one big sales add for other products of Perna's and him bragging about his success. While overall I enjoyed the book and some of the ideas, I couldn't help but feel that it was one big sales add for other products of Perna's and him bragging about his success.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Riley

    Both practical and inspiring 👍

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I can't wait to reread this book again.I won this book for an honest review from goodreads first reads. I'm so happy I won this book.very informative and insightful.I recommend this to everyone. I can't wait to reread this book again.I won this book for an honest review from goodreads first reads. I'm so happy I won this book.very informative and insightful.I recommend this to everyone.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Good read for future or current teachers to understanding the younger generations of present day.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mike Radue

    Fantastic way to rethink the way we do things.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    A few takeaways, but very surface-level content and felt like a sales pitch for Perna's company and their resources/services. A few takeaways, but very surface-level content and felt like a sales pitch for Perna's company and their resources/services.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Great information about the Y generation . How kids today think and the best ways to help them discover their educational goals. Not every child is geared towards a college degree.

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