The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

by Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt

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Overview

A finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction

A New York Times Notable Book 

Bloomberg Best Book of 2018

The New York Times bestseller!

Something has been going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Speakers are shouted down. Students and professors say they are walking on eggshells and are afraid to speak honestly. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising—on campus as well as nationally. 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 contradict basic psychological principles about well-being and ancient wisdom from many cultures.  Embracing these untruths—and the resulting culture of safetyism—interferes with young people’s social, emotional, and intellectual development. It makes it harder for them to become autonomous adults who are able to navigate the bumpy road of life.

Lukianoff and Haidt investigate the many social trends that have intersected to promote the spread of these untruths. They explore changes in childhood such as the rise of fearful parenting, the decline of unsupervised, child-directed play, and the new world of social media that has engulfed teenagers in the last decade. They examine changes on campus, including the corporatization of universities and the emergence of new ideas about identity and justice. They situate the conflicts on campus within the context of America’s rapidly rising political polarization and dysfunction.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735224896
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 6,199
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Greg Lukianoff is the president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Lukianoff is a graduate of American University and Stanford Law School. He specializes in free speech and First Amendment issues in higher education. He is the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate and Freedom From Speech.

Jonathan Haidt 
is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He obtained his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and then taught at the University of Virginia for 16 years. He is the author of The Righteous Mind and The Happiness Hypothesis.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Search for Wisdom 1

Part I Three Bad Ideas

Chapter 1 The Untruth of Fragility: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Weaker 19

Chapter 2 The Untruth of Emotional Reasoning: Always Trust Your Feelings 33

Chapter 3 The Untruth of Us Versus Them: Life Is a Battle Between Good People and Evil People 53

Part II Bad Ideas in Action

Chapter 4 Intimidation and Violence 81

Chapter 5 Witch Hunts 99

Part III How Did We Get Here?

Chapter 6 The Polarization Cycle 125

Chapter 7 Anxiety and Depression 143

Chapter 8 Paranoid Parenting 163

Chapter 9 The Decline of Play 181

Chapter 10 The Bureaucracy of Safetyism 195

Chapter 11 The Quest for Justice 213

Part IV Wising Up

Chapter 12 Wiser Kids 235

Chapter 13 Wiser Universities 253

Conclusion: Wiser Societies 263

Acknowledgments 271

Appendix 1 How to Do CBT 275

Appendix 2 The Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Expression 279

Notes 283

References 321

Index 329

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The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not only a a good read, it is an important read. It is applicable to anyone who pays attention to culture in the US. Specifically, parents and educators (K-12) should give this a read. Academics would be well served too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an educator of nearly 25 years, I wholeheartedly support the premise of this book. Both parents and educators have gotten wrong for years, sending a generation of kids on the wrong path. My hope is that people will read this book and bring the madness of overprotecting and coerced higher level courses to an end. Give children more opportunities to interact with their peers without adult interference so they can figure out life on their own. And when they don’t make it into the college of their parents’ dreams...they will survive and probably even thrive!