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August 2, 2006

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects: Rejuvenile

By: Jack @ 4:29 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-up
By Christopher Noxon, Crown Books, 288 pages, $23.95 hardcover.
There are generally two kinds of books on which I do a Jack Covert Selects. One is the prescriptive kind, "How to [insert topic here]." The other is a big picture book and I don't mean full of graphics. It's a book that spins a subject around and allows you to look at it from various points; by doing so, it gives you a new perspective. Freakonomics, Wisdom of Crowds kind of books. This book falls into that category. First a definition:
...rejuvenile describes people who cultivate tastes and mind-sets traditionally associated with those younger than themselves. It can be used as an adjective ('Those sneakers are so rejuvenile'), a noun (Pee Wee Herman's brand rejuvenalia is more subversive than Raffi's), or infrequently, a verb ('Most adults are busy rejuveniling,' filmmaker Randy Barbato remarked on NPR shortly after I coined the word in an article in the New York Times.)

Now some entertaining stats:
Evidence of the presence and influence of rejuveniles is all around. The Cartoon Network boasts bigger overall ratings among viewers aged eighteen to thirty-four than CNN, Fox News, or any cable news channel. Half of the visitors to Disney World are childless adults, making the Magic Kingdom the number-one adult vacation destination in the world. Department stores stock fuzzy pajamas with attached feet in adult sizes...

Reading this book made my toes curl with frustration because I completely agree with it. Who doesn't enjoy the art of play? (I, for example, devote my playtime to way too much Battlefield 2.) As I read, I couldn't help but wonder, what about the mortgage? The answer:
Rejuveniles tend not to think much about the future. The joy of being a kid, after all, is mostly about being absorbed in the present, and theres nothing to yank you out of Now faster than mention of a Five-Year Plan. Sooner or later, however, all of us bump up against one inevitable question: What's next? At some point will we snap out of it and trade our motor scooters for lawn mowers? Or are we laying down new track on the developmental pathway? Any thinking rejuvenile can't help but wonder whether his or her dedication to play and love of kid stuff will at some point--if it hasn't already--morph from fun and free-spirited to just plain pathetic.

Now that makes sense.
The author shows that a bunch of people are changing the way they deal with adulthood. As a society, we need to realize that. As marketers and managers, we need to realize that. Personally, I enjoyed this book because I kept seeing myself and the rest of the crew at 8cr as examples of people that are redefining our world. Plus the dude can write and made for a fun read.
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