Chris De Santis Knows Exactly What to Say via New Book

Regardless of specificity or overall genre, a lot of books suffer from saying too much. A lot of reads typically benefit from they don’t choose to say, as much as what they do. But in the case of Chris De Santis’ Why I Find You Irritating: Navigating General Friction at Work, ideologically having the cake and eating it too is part of the point. After all, topically the book concerns the juxtaposing viewpoints of differing generational members in a professionalist setting. Saying everything there is to say really is part of the overall drift.


“Generations are not static because the forces that shape them are dynamic. Generations are shaped by the ebb and flow of cultural, economic, and political forces. These forces are dynamic, which is why they shape generations differently over time. Cultural change is not always sudden. It is typically gradual and at times lurching. Generational cohorts are not, and have never been, discrete groups of people moving in lockstep until one January 1, when the old guard steps aside for the new. Generational turnover is much more fluid. Generations crest and break like waves. They crash and roll into one another,” De Santis writes on this topicality. “…However, generational evolution can be undulating.

Generations don’t turnover so much as rise and fall like waves, driven by the rise and fall of powerful cultural and economic forces. These forces do swing back and forth. The markets go up and down. Progressivism leads to inevitable reactionary backlash. President Franklin D. Roosevelt clearly enacted the New Deal due to the crisis of the Great Depression. His expansion of the welfare state also led to pushback from conservatives. The current rise of both rightwing and leftwing populism is largely a response to economic inequality created by deregulation, austerity, and the rollback of the welfare state.

But we can only draw a clean line from the Great Depression to the new populism of our current political era with the benefit of hindsight. Generational wave theory offers explanatory value, but little predictive value. No one could have predicted the exact nature of each wave in advance. History is far more complex than a simple pendulum.”

That last quote – “History is far more complex than a simple pendulum” – is a classy, synonymous description of the book’s christening. After all, as De Santis demonstrates time and again, titularly Navigating Friction at Work is dependent upon a mutually agreed-upon trust. A respect for each other’s differences, by no means assuring out-of-the-gate harmony but a sense of healthy comparing and contrasting.

A mandate for some sort of objective appeal to reason. Ultimately De Santis states, we all more or less want the same things. It’s just about translating the chameleonic differences that sometimes prevent us from getting to where we’d all be on the same team. As he writes: “Differences of any kind—whether they be race, religion, gender identity, point of view, or values—can make us or, if we let them, just as easily break us.


But armed with an understanding of generational differences, we can work across generations rather than falling prey to the false notion that, as George Orwell wryly noted, ‘Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it and wiser than on that comes after it.’”

Clay Burton