Hayim Herring

In Connecting Generations, Hayim Herring examines generational stereotypes and how the disconnect between generations contributes to loneliness and social isolation. Through telling Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer stories, and examining the work of experts working in the field of intergenerational issues, he offers ways we can work on strengthening intergenerational communities.

"Herring’s words add a lot to our understanding of generational perspectives." — Library Journal

In this Q&A, we asked Hayim 3 questions for our readers to get a glimpse behind the scenes.

1) What’s the most surprising fact you learned when researching your book?
I was really taken aback by the lack of empathy that Baby Boomers have for Millennials and Gen Xers. Decades ago, when Boomers were young, we confidently declared “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” So why are we often reluctant to a trust Millennials (ages 22-37) and Gen Xers (ages 38-53)? At the same time, while Baby Boomers feel entitled to create new “off-ramps” from the world of paid full-time work (“Don’t call me retired, I’m productive in different ways!”), they are skeptical about the new “on-ramps” into adulthood that Gen Xers and Millennials have needed to invent.

2) What’s another surprising observation you made while developing your book?
Being a digital migrant, I’ve noticed over the years that we’ve become faster with our thumbs but heavier with our eyes. Our thumbs nimbly skip across small screens as we have more apps to connect with one another. But we’re increasingly intimidated about making eye contact with others, in face-to-face conversations, especially if they’re from different generations. I’ve coined a term for this reality: “social in-app-titude” ― gaining more digital ways to connect, but losing deep interpersonal relationships.

"Without harking back to 'the good old days,' Herring understands the human need for connection." — Booklist

3) Do you have a method, tool, hack, or quirk that helps you write? (Also known as: Tell us about your writing process.)
Before I begin writing, I visually imagine the person or persons to whom I hope to dedicate my book. I haven’t found a more powerful personal motivator than envisioning the joy on the faces of the people whom I love and care for when they read how profoundly grateful I am for their love and friendship in a few dedicatory sentences. Also, I select one album that I listen to until I turn in a completed manuscript. Yes ― that means listening to the same songs thousands of times.

Want to read more 3 Questions features? Our previous profile on Jeff Blumenfeld, author of “Travel with Purpose: A Field Guide to Voluntourism, can be found here.

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