Dario CiVon, a La Cañada High School graduate and former Spartans basketball star, acknowledges the title of his book about millennials is attention grabbing and, yes, a little clickbait-y.
“I’m Not Moving Out, I’m Not Getting a Job … A Millennial Field Guide + Gen Z” is a 191-page nonfiction work tackling social media, video games, college and even marijuana as they relate to people around his age. It’s available on Amazon and Kindle and at the Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse.
“It’s like a clickbait title in the era of clickbait,” CiVon, 25, said in a recent interview at the bookstore on Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge. “The book starts at all of the flaws with millennials. Here’s everything that we have to hear, that we’ve heard for years, about this, that and the other thing” — the tendency to become easily distracted, to expect to have immediate access via the internet to whatever information they seek, and much more. “So this book aims to destigmatize a lot of that stuff. Or if not destigmatize, then agree with some of them but then reformulate them in a way that makes them seem not so bad.
“That said, though, it was important to me for it to be well researched. I didn’t want it to be just me running my mouth about the end of capitalism or whatever.”
On Saturday, April 27, CiVon will sign his book from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse, which will be observing Independent Bookstore Day. The book was published in November, and CiVon, notwithstanding its title, was aiming for positivity in writing it. He said millennials and members of Generation Z — his book refers generally to people between 18 and 25 — hear a lot of criticism about their habits, and he wanted to respond.
“We all get bombarded with how the internet and social media is addictive and destroying our ability to concentrate, and I’ve been down that rabbit hole where I’ve been too fixated on Instagram,” CiVon said. “I make the point of how Instagram is amazing if you don’t let it take you down. Not enough people are hearing a really positive take on why you should be on Instagram but use it responsibly. I just felt the need for balance.”
The book is being developed with a Hollywood producer as a sitcom called “I’m Not Moving Out,” to be pitched for the next television pilot season.
Judy Baldwin, a marriage and family counselor who lives in LCF, recommends the book to others and is quoted on its back cover. CiVon is an old friend of her son Sam, and she describes him as a great guy.
“I read it in the process and gave editorial notes,” Baldwin said. “I’m a big fan of the book and I think it offers a lot of terrific insights for families of millennials. Dario has a great sense of humor. It demystifies the world of millennials with humor. It’s got a very positive tone to it. The book itself is really fun. I definitely recommend it to parents.”
Four issues simultaneously converged on young millennials and Gen Z, CiVon said: The internet (including YouTube) matured, video games became more sophisticated and involving, social media increased in popularity and marijuana use, in his opinion, “exploded.”
“There’s that interesting collision,” said CiVon, who was the starting shooting guard for the 2011 LCHS CIF championship basketball team when he was a senior. “A young person is asked to absorb quite a lot.”
In his chapter on marijuana, titled “The Marijuana Effect (Applicable to Some More Than Others),” he writes that he is a “huge fan” of the drug, whose recreational use was legalized by California voters in 2016. He feels its use can shed light on a person’s true motivations and reveal elements of their personality.
“It’s a highly nuanced chapter,” CiVon said. “It’s as in-depth of an article on the responsible use of marijuana as you’ll get. And I say, ‘Don’t use it in high school.’ It’s a really open and honest discussion.”
The inspiration for the book, which CiVon wrote when he was between the ages of 24 and 25, was the result of hearing older people not understanding millennials and criticizing their internet and video game habits.
“I felt like there was a big culture gap,” CiVon said. “I say ultimately I wrote the book to bring families closer together. I know my dad learned a lot about me through reading it. And I’ve gotten that same response dozens of times. I wanted to provide a conversation for parents with young millennials and Gen Z. I wanted to provide a framework for people to approach the really tricky period of 18-25, because it’s a very complicated time.”
After he graduated from LCHS in 2011, he attended Chapman University from 2012-13, majoring in digital art. Deciding to challenge himself as an artist, he moved to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena from 2014-16; he said he learned a lot there but left before earning a degree and taking on debt.
His mother is Luisa Leschin and his father is Max CiVon, both of whom are writers for television, and he lived with them in LCF until he was 23 ½.
His higher-education experience was “part of the impetus for the college chapter of the book: how to know when you are over-investing in school,” CiVon said. “I say, treat professors as mentors, and less like grade-dealers, make real relationships with them.”
In the college chapter of the book, he asserted that there’s no single right plan because every student is different.
Though he didn’t mention it in the book, CiVon said he believes legendary LCHS varsity boys’ basketball coach Tom Hofman positively affected his character. Hofman is “not shy about giving criticism,” and the coach’s methods helped CiVon share his ideas without a second thought.
“I definitely got a thick skin from that,” CiVon said. “You’re not a fearful person when you’re a good athlete, so all of that just built my character up.”
In the book, CiVon said, he briefly talks about how he was living in a bubble while focusing on being a capable student and athlete, and his personality opened up after high school.
“It was just the result of how rigorous LCHS was and how serious of a basketball player I was,” CiVon said. “I don’t regret any of that. I’m not alone in changing after high school. Everyone does but I was so structured. … I really needed a break after college to not have any structure for a really long time. I call that a pondering period.”
LCF resident Betsy Faber, 60, said her son Matt has been friends with CiVon since they played on the championship team together.
“It’s not a long read but it sort of reminded me if I had gone on a three-day road trip with Dario,” Faber said. “Listening to a young man, a millennial, talk about what their life is like and their feelings and their innermost thoughts. I don’t know if I agreed with anything … I haven’t really thought of it that way. The whole section on marijuana, I hadn’t thought of it that way but it was interesting to hear it from that perspective. He had another perspective on gaming. My son is a big gamer, too. That was interesting, because he explained in more detail what the allure of video games are and he went into detail about how they’re set up.”
After reading it, she presented his work to her book club. Most of the women in the club have sons who are CiVon’s age, she said.
“There was a wide reaction to the book,” Faber said. “Some were like, ‘You got to be kidding me.’ Others were like, ‘That’s interesting.’ Another woman had a younger son in elementary school and she was like, ‘I’ve got to read this book.’ Part of it was the millennial generation was the first to be shaped by the internet.”
Faber said she recommends the book as a way to learn more about the younger, or next, generation. “It’s a different type of book,” Faber said. “Not necessarily for parenting but for understanding kids in that generation. It’s another piece in the tool kit if you want to educate yourself.”
CiVon, who describes himself as an entrepreneur, is also part of a venture called Dinostorus which has clothing and posters with a dinosaur-related theme.