The Fourth Turning | What past generations can teach us about our future


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There’s no denying that we are part of a significant inflection point in human history. We are truly living in interesting times...

In this episode, Tony speaks with historian and demographer Neil Howe about the fascinating patterns of human history, as he and co-author William Strauss explained more than two decades ago in Generations (1991) and The Fourth Turning (1997).

If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or uncertain about all that’s happening in the world, this episode will give you a much-needed shift in perspective. You will understand how cycles of crisis catalyze massive economic, cultural, political, and institutional disruption – and how as a society, we solve problems we never thought we could before.

No storm lasts forever, and this too shall pass. Listen to this episode for Neil’s predictions on how much longer this crisis period will last and what we can look forward to in our beautiful, shared future.

To watch the interview, which took place in 2022 in front of a small audience, go here:


[0:05] Tony was working with President Bill Clinton when he was first told about the book Generations

[2:46] The stages of our lives: childhood, young adult, mid-life, elder

[6:31] The seasons of history and how they overlap with generations

[8:15] Tony welcomes Neil Howe, co-author of Generations, and The Fourth Turning

[10:25] Generations are distinct and always have been

[10:45] How old you are during a big event shapes your experience of it

[12:50] Knife-age division vs. zones of transition (EX. X-ennials)

[13:45] History shapes generations, but (later on) generations shape history

[16:09] The cyclical nature of crises and how they spur “a total remake”

[18:29] Institutions we rely on today were created post-WWII

[20:01] Why do we wait until there is a crisis to solve problems?

[22:10] 1780s economic depression: We created the Constitution in our darkest hour

[24:18] What comes next: The High, collective, feeling more than the sum of our parts

[26:38] The Awakening releases the individual

[27:57] Gen X was left alone and raised themselves = pragmatism & cynicism

[30:08] Silent Generation had to adjust themselves to meet others’ expectations

[31:08] We are in a time of growing tribalism in America

*Show notes continue on website page

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