The Coddling of the American Mind

The Coddling of the American Mind

How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up A Generation for Failure

eBook - 2018
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Something is going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising. Speakers are shouted down. Students and professors say they are walking on eggshells and afraid to speak honestly. How did this happen?   First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt show how the new problems on campus have their origins in three terrible ideas that have become increasingly woven into American childhood and education: what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker; always trust your feelings; and life is a battle between good people and evil people. These three Great Untruths are incompatible with basic psychological principles, as well as ancient wisdom from many cultures. They interfere with healthy development. Anyone who embraces these untruths—and the resulting culture of safetyism—is less likely to become an autonomous adult able to navigate the bumpy road of life.   Lukianoff and Haidt investigate the many social trends that have intersected to produce these untruths. They situate the conflicts on campus in the context of America’s rapidly rising political polarization, including a rise in hate crimes and off-campus provocation. They explore changes in childhood including the rise of fearful parenting, the decline of unsupervised play, and the new world of social media that has engulfed teenagers in the last decade.   This is a book for anyone who is confused by what is happening on college campuses today, or has children, or is concerned about the growing inability of Americans to live, work, and cooperate across party lines.
Publisher: [S.l.]: Penguin Publishing Group, 2018
ISBN: 9780735224902
Characteristics: 352 p
Additional Contributors: Haidt, Jonathan - Author

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May 08, 2019

how awful - been following this decision by the Ford Gov't - disgusting to see that my provincial gov't would cut library services - all library users should do as I did and send an e-mail to the premier.

Apr 22, 2019

I tend to agree with the reviews by Burnmax and RyMac. A lot of good points but they word things like they are walking on eggshells at times, probably scared to death of being doxxed and attacked by a twitter mob.
Would also recommend reading the book iGen by Jean Twenge.

Mar 18, 2019

Reprinted some incorrect reporting and interpretations of Trumpian activity, which is disappointing given both author's general approach with facts and figures. Otherwise good analysis, weak on how to fix things.

Feb 19, 2019

NYT Notable Books of 2018

Jan 14, 2019

This book is expanded from an article that came out several years ago in "The Atlantic" and sparked quite a bit of debate and controversy. The authors' premise is that safe spaces and trigger warnings in an academic setting, both of which they question, are harmful for students and teachers. As someone who used to teach in high school and taught this article and a unit on free speech, I'm interested in this subject, but found the book shallow and unconvincing, relying far more on selected case studies (Of the kind that are often favored by conservative media outlets.) than hard research. It also doesn't make much of an effort to understand the students' perspectives and why safe spaces and trigger warnings became so prevalent in the first place. I find it both troubling how quickly they dismiss the opposing views, but I am also a strong advocate of free speech and am worried about the infringement on academic freedom. This book is unsatisfying on a lot of levels, which is too bad because it's a vital and provocative topic. The title, unfortunately, references, Allan Bloom's neoconservative jeremiad "The Closing of the American Mind."

Jan 03, 2019

You think college campuses are bad - just try bringing in a book by Richard Dawkins into a church, temple or mosque!

Nov 16, 2018

Great book in my opinion, once you adjust to its slightly more academic tone. The book is very current [as of November 2018], mentioning the country's current divisive state. It touches on interesting topics such as the decreasing tolerance of differing viewpoints on college campuses, the increasing depression and anxiety of the newest college students, and the potentially damaging way kids are being raised these days.

Oct 06, 2018

Prepare to be triggered: or Give this book to a snowflake you know and love.

This book was very entertaining and informative to read. It has a serious flaw to it, but that shouldn’t stop folks from picking it up, especially if you are someone who considers yourself to be a progressive. I’m not trying to lump you into a category, but this book can best serve it’s purpose if the very “progressive” people of Seattle listen to it with an open mind.

The book details many examples of recent outrage on college campuses. Most of these tantrums come from the far-left. The authors do their damnedest to stay clear of politics and ideologies, but it’s impossible for the reader to not make their own interpretations given the leftist rational behind many of these campus tirades.

The author’s outline how, why, and what led to this recent trend on, generally speaking, Elitist, left-leaning American universities and what it means for our present day culture and politics. They do a good job of presenting the case, criticizing detractors, and offering solutions on how we as a society can overcome this insanity.

My biggest complaint with this book is that the authors come across as the mealy-mouthed, disingenuous, pandering administrators they painstakingly criticize throughout the book. They seem to go out of their way to capitulate to these students and let them know that their feelings, while totally outrageous, are also exceptionally justified. It’s this terrible fence sitting tone that undermines the book’s thesis and portrays the author’s as total hypocrites and somewhat spineless cretins (I have to give the authors some credit, as they are in the minority in standing up to these college punk’s thuggish behavior by even writing the book in the first place).

The authors begin in some of the first chapters by donning a new word - "anti-fragile", to help describe the recent influx of hypersensitivity on college campuses. This alone lets you know the writers are attempting to speak to both sides of the aisle. It comes across as disingenuous only because they seem to disregard just about all of their logical evidence to appeal to the “emotional” side.

Anti-fragile is not a valid substitute for fragile. The authors do not differentiate it in a way that makes its discussion worthwhile. Instead, it comes across as yet another example of the older generation (adults) walking on eggshells in fear of totally ostracizing this lunatic fringe of radical leftists.

One way or another people ought to read this book. It’s sad that two such intelligent individuals did not have the confidence or courage to genuinely defend the position they advocate for. I do believe the author's had a choice here, and in attempting to assuage the very people this book is subject to, the writer's unintentionally alienate the cast of characters they otherwise pretend to champion.

The book boils down to classical liberal principles being set aside in order to not offend the more regressive, backwards thinking that continues to gain traction on American universities.


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Nov 16, 2018

normf3 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Nov 16, 2018

About the decreasing tolerance of differing viewpoints on college campuses and the overemphasis on "safety" of young people.


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