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Book Review: Live First, Work Second

While attending the YP Summit last month, I received a free copy of Rebecca Ryan's book, Live First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next Generation. I enjoy Ryan's thoughts on the next generation, so I would have bought it even if I weren't given it for free.

If you're familiar with Ryan and her work with Next Generation Consulting, the book isn't really a big surprise. But, if you're looking for ways to make your city, company or community attract and retail young talent, the book is a welcome punch in the mouth.

Live First is a compilation of Ryan and NGC's work over the years. They've spoken to countless young people and have consulted with organizations and communities of nearly any and every size. So, they know what they're talking about.

In addition to being informative and insightful, this book is full of examples, suggestions and good ideas to make your area appealing to the next generation of workers, patrons, families and attendees. Ryan cites ideas that have worked well in many cities, but offers comprehensive frameworks that have you thinking that your town may just be cool enough to pull off something similar.

The biggest distinction in the book: for many people, there's no such thing as a work/life balance. That's because it's become a life/work balance. And, if your business doesn't realize this, your youngest workers will be heading for the exits before lunch. It also means that if you're a community leader, you've got to build buildings, design communities and create opportunities that allow the next generation to do more than work, or else they'll fill a UHaul in search of a place that does.

The book is short, but well written. It reads like Ryan speaks – a bit irreverent, but always engaging. An afternoon spent with this book will position you to take an active stance in embracing tomorrow, no matter what age you are.

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