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VIRTUAL EVENT: ANNE HELEN PETERSEN - Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation

Friday, September 25, 2020 - 7:00pm
SKU: tkt092520

Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358315070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - September 22nd, 2020


Friday, September 25 at 7PM CDT

Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation

In conversation with Delia Cai, s.e. smith, Cate Young, and Connie Wang

This event will be broadcast live via Zoom





  • Tickets are required to join this live event.
  • Tickets are available with the purchase of Can't Even OR the $5 Virtual Ticket (+ tax). It is not necessary to buy both in order to attend this event.
  • The Zoom link to attend will be sent to the email you used to purchase the book upon order confirmation.
  • Digital Doors Open at 6:45PM CDT
  • Event Begins at 7:00PM CDT
  • NOTE: Because this is a virtual event that will be hosted on Zoom, you will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing and sufficient Internet access. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.


An incendiary examination of burnout in millennials—the cultural shifts that got us here, the pressures that sustain it, and the need for drastic change

Do you feel like your life is an endless to-do list? Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram because you’re too exhausted to pick up a book? Are you mired in debt, or feel like you work all the time, or feel pressure to take whatever gives you joy and turn it into a monetizable hustle? Welcome to burnout culture.

While burnout may seem like the default setting for the modern era, in Can’t Even,BuzzFeed culture writer and former academic Anne Helen Petersen argues that burnout is a definitional condition for the millennial generation, born out of distrust in the institutions that have failed us, the unrealistic expectations of the modern workplace, and a sharp uptick in anxiety and hopelessness exacerbated by the constant pressure to “perform” our lives online. The genesis for the book is Petersen’s viral BuzzFeed article on the topic, which has amassed over seven million reads since its publication in January 2019.

Can’t Even goes beyond the original article, as Petersen examines how millennials have arrived at this point of burnout (think: unchecked capitalism and changing labor laws) and examines the phenomenon through a variety of lenses—including how burnout affects the way we work, parent, and socialize—describing its resonance in alarming familiarity. Utilizing a combination of sociohistorical framework, original interviews, and detailed analysis, Can’t Even offers a galvanizing, intimate, and ultimately redemptive look at the lives of this much-maligned generation, and will be required reading for both millennials and the parents and employers trying to understand them.


Anne Helen Petersen is a senior culture writer for BuzzFeed. A former academic, Petersen received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on the history of celebrity gossip. Her previous books, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud and Scandals of Classic Hollywood, were featured in NPR, Elle, and the Atlantic. She lives in Missoula, Montana.


Delia Cai is a growth and trends editor at BuzzFeed. She also writes the daily media newsletter, Deez Links, and has published work in The Cut, GQ, and Catapult. 

ABOUT s.e. smith

s.e. smith is a National Magazine Award-winning essayist and journalist based in Northern California. 


Cate Young is an LA-based freelance film and culture critic from Trinidad and Tobago. Her writing focuses on the intersection of race, gender and sexuality, and has appeared in Jezebel, NPR Music, Nylon, Bitch Media, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Vulture and Paper Magazine. Cate has a BA in Photojournalism from Boston University, a Masters in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester and a Masters in Specialized Journalism in the Arts from the University of Southern California. In 2016, she served as the inaugural Pop Culture Criticism Fellow for Bitch Media. In 2019 she was awarded the Rotten Tomatoes Fellowship in Digital Innovation and Film Criticism.


Connie Wang is the executive editor at Refinery29. Before, she was the staff features writer, and covered consumer culture, race, and trends. She also hosted and co-produced a Refinery29 documentary series titled Style Out There that reported on fashion subcultures around the world. The second season won a Newswomen's Club of NY Front Page Award.

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