12 Classic Books Bringing Millennial Ideas Ahead of Time
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Some of the books written many, many years ago, have the contains so fresh that they resonate better with the newer generations rather than their coevals. If you want to enjoy the perfect writing style while recognizing millennial ideas on every page, upload these classic novels into your e-reader. They’re oh so good.
W. S. Maugham “The Razor’s Edge”
The spiritualism in Millennials is stronger than ever. It pushes our generation to discover self in spiritual practices and journeys. The today’s reader might recognize himself in W.S. Maugham’s character Larry Darrell. He denied possessions and social status to pursue the philosophy revelations. The trip across India is also definitely something one would do now.
George Orwell “Keep The Aspidistra Flying”
Putting purpose over money became a distinctive feature of the modern generation. That differs us from the baby-boomers and the Silents, who rated jobs their #1 priority. In Orwell’s less known novel, main character leaves his well-paid position in advertising to make money with his literature. Sounds familiar? You bet.
Jack London “Burning Daylight”
The work-life balance became so important for millennials. Personal life now beats the business all the time. And this is exactly what Jack London’s character Elam Harnish came to, as well. But only after a heap of adventures on Yukon followed by a career on Wall Street. Which also pretty much resembles a millennial life path.
Sei Shonagon “The Pillow Book”
The 11-century Japanese high court lady filled her diary with meticulous observations. She sang the beauty in small things. This book is mindfulness itself, harmonious and satisfying. Yet, author’s thinking sounds so modern you can’t believe it was written almost a thousand years ago. An absolute must for everyone who is into journaling and meditation.
Jules Verne “Around The World In Eighty Days”
This adventure book brought us the image of backpacker way before the first low-cost took off. What Fileas Fogg and his valise did in 80 days would take you less than a week now. Including several 12-hours overlays. Really, can you value the modern freedom of travel enough?
J.D. Salinger “The Catcher In The Rye”
Researchers report the unsettling high risks for the mental health of our generation. Being constantly connected to other people’s opinions leads to anxiety crisis. Now every other millennial can relate to Holden Caulfield’s emotional numbness in the center of New York City.
Boris Vian “Froth On The Daydream”
The consumerism is the air we breathe. Funny how even frugal millennial ideas like minimalism are still based on having things. Nowadays community mirrors the Vian’s characters. His easy-going consumers are obsessed with cars and robotized appliances. Yet, same as in real life, it turns out to be the least meaningful part of their existence.
Arthur C. Clarke “2001: A Space Odyssey”
The technological exceptionalism is the staple characteristic that defines the generations distinctive identity. The world is saturated with the modern gadgets. Wouldn’t it surprise Arthur C. Clarke back in 1964 if someone would tell him that he envisioned the future. In Space Odyssey 2001, writer predicted the Internet, RSS feeds and iPad. It was 46 years before tablet invention.
Graham Greene “The Quiet American”
Working abroad became a popular choice for the young millennials. We opt to be the global citizens rather than dwell in home cities for the decades. Find expat insights from the British journalist in Saigon during the Vietnam War. You’ll see that expat blues have been there long before the internet forums.
Sophia Tolstoy “The Diaries”
The women’s empowerment have gone a long way to what we have today. Yay to birth control, equal opportunities and women’s rights. Sofia Tolstoy could only dream about it. Read the diary of a woman who bore 13 children, and re-wrote loved by many War and Peace manuscript by hand seven times. And you think your life is hard.
Mark Twain “Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn”
No generation before was as tolerant as millennials are today.
While this book stirs a lot of controversy, above all it’s a great story about never letting your friend down. An adamant supporter of abolition of slavery, Mark Twain did make this world a better place.
Emile Zola “The Ladies Paradise”
Entrepreneurial passion pushes the millennials to invest in personal start-ups like never before. Zola’s epic novel tells about the rising of the first department store in France. Read it to get the idea of what made the world embrace the benefits of added value and high turnover.
The abundance of world-changing millennial ideas probably come from the fact that we’re the most educated generation ever. A unique privilege like such should never be underrated. So, keep reading.
Sam Engman is a seasoned marketing pro who switched to a brand journalism field. When not writing, she is probably running another 5-miler. Feel free to keep an eye on her writings on her blog and say hi on twitter.