March 2, 2011

Book Update

Thriving in the 21st Century: Preparing Our Children For The New Economic Reality is at the printer; we're awaiting the delivery of proof copies this week. The book will be out in April!

Newbies to this site may not know that I began investigating the changes in the economy several years ago, when my husband's manufacturing-related business began slowing down due to increasing competition in his industry from China. Once I realized how much the economy was changing, I began to study how to prepare our children for a very different world of work than the one my generation had known; my study led me to write this book.

Here's the back cover copy for Thriving in the 21st Century:

Today’s children will reach adulthood in an economic environment unlike anything the world has ever seen. The 21st century global economy is powered by an increasing rate of technological change as well as growing foreign competition; both are contributing to the high U.S. unemployment rate and stagnating American wages. How can we as parents prepare our children for success in this growing maelstrom that many are now calling “the new normal”?

In Thriving in the 21st Century, Barbara Frank demonstrates that we must move beyond the common wisdom of the 20th century that emphasized a college diploma and lifelong employment with a large company as the only way to success. Instead, we need to set our children on a new path, one that will help them not just survive, but thrive in the 21st century.

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • The Seven Strengths your child will need to prosper in the 21st century, why they’re needed and how you can develop them in your children
  • The most efficient (and increasingly popular) way to give your child those Seven Strengths
  • Why public education has failed to prepare our children for the 21st century
  • How we can help our children become the lifelong learners needed in a rapidly changing global economy
  • The surprising truth about today’s colleges and universities
  • How economic change is affecting a variety of career areas, and which of them are projected to grow dramatically in the coming years.

This book is packed with ideas and resources for raising our children to become adults who respond proactively when faced with economic challenges, and who can prosper during times of great change. We can help our children reach young adulthood ready and able to tackle the future with all its challenges. And that, of course, is the key: we must prepare our children for the future…not the past.

I'll share more information as it becomes available. Keep an eye on this site!


Laurie said...


I really enjoyed your talk the other night. Sorry we had to leave early - it's 45 minutes ride home and my sitters normally go to sleep by 9:30.

I have a question for you. I've started reading the book and noticed you list seven strengths, whereas on your handout you listed ten. I haven't gotten very far just yet, but I can see the material covered in the ten is likely to be covered in the seven. I was just wondering if the "seven" will be expanded in the book in future editions, or if the handouts were older and you recently condensed the list to seven.

Just wondering which direction you were headed.


Barbara Frank said...

Hi Laurie,

Thanks for coming the other night. The talk I gave was an updated version of one I've been doing for about five years. I often use the "Ten Things" meme in speeches and articles, so in this case it was ten things from the book. But the Seven Strengths are the basis for the book and won't be expanded. Hope that makes sense! :)

I'd love to get your impression of the book once you finish it. Thanks for stopping by.

Laurie said...

Barbara - I just finished reading the book last night. Overall, very strong. Logical, and good use of supporting material. There were a couple of minor typos (I didn't write them down because I was reading in bed at night, and they were very minor). Hopefully when you sell a million copies, you can catch them in the second printing. ;-) There's some overlap and repetition of material, but I'm not sure how you would restructure to reduce that and keep each section self-supporting.

The only significant recommendation I would make is the labeling within the sections, and possibly the labeling of the sections themselves. Instead of (for instance) "Section 2: Strength # 4", it would have been more helpful to see something like "Strength #4: Communication Skills". That way, when I am paging through the book, I can quickly identify the content of the area I'm in.

In the case of the sections, maybe instead of calling them "section 1, 2, 3, etc", maybe they could just have names? I understand that as you organized the book, this was likely the way your ideas developed, but the label "section 1" doesn't tell me much as a reader. The titles of the individual parts of each section were much more helpful.

I hope I don't come across as too critical - I really enjoyed your book and plan to put it into practice. Much of what you suggest we already do. I think the main areas where we are lacking are communication skills, marketing themselves and entrepreneurship. I've got to buckle down and get us all a foreign language or two, and get them more real world business and communication experience.

Thanks. I'll be watching your site and recommending it and your books to others.


Barbara Frank said...

I certainly appreciate your comments, Laurie---thank you for taking the time to share them with me.

I apologize for the typos; we had to rush the proof through in order to have copies for the event in Green Bay. Hopefully they were caught before the final proof was sent in last Friday :0

Your recommendations regarding labeling were the subject of much discussion in the's too lately to change it now but if we receive more comments we may make some adjustments down the road.

As for your own children, it's great that you're already doing many of these things. Your kids will have a much easier time when they're older. As for marketing themselves, somebody just tweeted about that over the weekend...I'll have to go look for it.

Thanks again, Laurie, I'm so grateful for your input!