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Neil  Howe

Neil Howe

Authority on Generations in America


Neil Howe covers the big picture from generations and demographics to the economy and culture. Known for coining the term “Millennials,” Howe is the president of Saeculum Research, which helps managers and investors anticipate changes in markets, consumer preferences, and the public mood. His work debunks many clichés concerning today’s various age cohorts, particularly the Millennial Generation. He is a renowned authority on generations and social change in America. An acclaimed author and speaker, he is the nation’s leading thinker on today’s generations — who they are, what motivates them, and how they will shape America’s future. Read More >

For several decades, Howe has explored who generations are, what drives them, and how they are shaping the world. Howe is a bestselling author who has written over a dozen books on generations, demographic change, and fiscal policy, many of them with William Strauss. Howe and Strauss’ first book, Generations (1991) is a history of America told as a sequence of generational biographies. Generations, said Newsweek, is “a provocative, erudite, and engaging analysis of the rhythms of American life.” Vice President Al Gore called it “the most stimulating book on American history that I have ever read” and sent a copy to every member of Congress. Newt Gingrich called it “an intellectual tour de force.” Of their book, The Fourth Turning (1997), Dan Yankelovich said, “Immensely stimulating…We will never be able to think about history in the same way.” The Boston Globe wrote, “If Howe and Strauss are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets.”

Howe and Strauss originally coined the term “Millennial Generation” in 1991, and wrote the pioneering book on this generation, Millennials Rising, in 2000. Neil has since released several application books on Millennials — including a Recruiting Millennials Handbook for the United States Army (2001), Millennials Go To College (2003, 2007), Millennials and the Pop Culture (2005), Millennials and K-12 Schools (2008), and Millennials in the Workplace (2010). The research duo formulated the “Strauss-Howe generational theory” which identifies a fourfold cycle of generational types and recurring mood eras in American history. Howe and Strauss support their theory through careful documentation of the different generations in America going back to 1584. The theory has offered many insights on how the varying age cohorts of today will effect change concerning economic and social trends.

Howe’s work on the Millennial Generation has been featured frequently in the media, including USA Today, CNN, the New York Times, and CBS’ 60 Minutes. Previously, with Peter G. Peterson, Howe coauthored On Borrowed Time (1989; reissued 2004), a pioneering call for budgetary reform. He coauthors numerous studies for CSIS (including the Global Aging Initiative’s Aging Vulnerability Index and The Graying of the Middle Kingdom: The Economics and Demographics of Retirement Policy in China). In 2008, he co-authored The Graying of the Great Powers with Richard Jackson.

Howe has served hundreds of clients — from Nike and Fidelity to Disney and the U.S. Marine Corps — helping organizations bridge generational disconnects and misunderstandings. He currently serves as the president of LifeCourse Associates, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Global Aging Initiative, and a senior advisor to the Concord Coalition.

Howe is founder and president of the consulting firm LifeCourse Associates, where he develops and implements cutting-edge research, analysis, and consulting services to help clients understand how generations impact marketing, workforce issues, and strategic planning. LifeCourse has served hundreds of corporate, nonprofit, and government clients.

A historian, economist, and demographer, Howe is also a recognized authority on global aging, long-term fiscal policy, and migration. He is a senior associate to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., where he helps direct the CSIS Global Aging Initiative.

Howe grew up in California and currently resides in Great Falls, Virginia, close to Washington, DC.  He received his B.A. at U.C. Berkeley, studied abroad in France and Germany, and later earned graduate degrees in economics (M.A., 1978) and history (M.Phil., 1979) from Yale University. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Neil Howe

Speech Topics

America’s New Direction

Everyone agrees that the mood across America is changing rapidly.  We seem to be entering a new period of national urgency—and perhaps even global crisis—with new worries about financial collapse, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and global instability.  In their 1997 book The Fourth Turning, LifeCourse co-founders Neil Howe and William Strauss predicted that this was exactly where America would be today.  They uncovered a remarkable pattern in American history, a cycle of recurring eras driven by generational changes.  Read More >

Using this proven historical method, Neil Howe offers a road map that truly explains where America is today and, more importantly, where it is heading, from the economy and consumer tastes to politics and popular culture.  Read Less ^

Millennials & K-12 Education

Generational changes are dramatically reshaping the landscape of K-12 education—from hyper-involved parents to new issues over school security to the rising focus on teamwork and standards in the classroom. In this keynote, Neil Howe offers a road map to help educators best serve today's Millennial generation of students, align their priorities with the new Gen-X parents, and navigate a multigenerational education workforce.

Millennials & College

Meet the rising Millennial generation of students—and their hands-on parents. Understanding Millennials is key to navigating the seismic shifts occurring in America's colleges, from changing notions of campus security to the increased focus on career placement to "helicopter" moms and dads. In this keynote, Neil Howe offers a big picture perspective on the most pressing new trends and hands-on recommendations for anyone involved in college life.

Generations in the Workplace

In today's typical business, Boomers and Gen-Xers have trouble understanding each other—and neither generation knows what to do about the rising young Millennials. Neil Howe explains how each of these generations looks at work and life differently. Find out what the best companies are doing to unleash the potential of each generation and foster productive relationships between them.

Generational Marketing

Many companies have recognized the need to look beyond traditional demographic categories and understand the effect generational change has on the marketing industry. Neil Howe traces the life stories and characteristics of today's generations of consumers to help you understand what product styles and marketing messages work best for each.