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 timely investigation into the new "safety culture" on campus and the dangers it poses to free speech, mental health, education, and ultimately democracy

The generation now coming of age has been taught three Great Untruths: their feelings are always right; they should avoid pain and discomfort; and they should look for faults in others and not themselves. These three Great Untruths are part of a larger philosophy that sees young people as fragile creatures who must be protected and supervised by adults. But despite the good intentions of the adults who impart them, the Great Untruths are harming kids by teaching them the opposite of ancient wisdom and the opposite of modern psychological findings on grit, growth, and antifragility.  The result is rising rates of depression and anxiety, along with endless stories of college campuses torn apart by moralistic divisions and mutual recriminations.
 
This is a book about how we got here. First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt take us on a tour of the social trends stretching back to the 1980s that have produced the confusion and conflict on campus today, including the loss of unsupervised play time and the birth of social media, all during a time of rising political polarization.
 
This is a book about how to fix the mess. The culture of “safety” and its intolerance of opposing viewpoints has left many young people anxious and unprepared for adult life, with devastating consequences for them, for their parents, for the companies that will soon hire them, and for a democracy that is already pushed to the brink of violence over its growing political divisions. Lukianoff and Haidt offer a comprehensive set of reforms that will strengthen young people and institutions, allowing us all to reap the benefits of diversity, including viewpoint diversity.
 
This is a book for anyone who is confused by what’s happening on college campuses today, or has children, or is concerned about the growing inability of Americans to live and work and cooperate across party lines.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735224896
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 19,422
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Greg Lukianoff is an attorney and president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. His writings on campus free speech have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, in addition to dozens of other publications. A regular columnist for the Huffington Post, he is a frequent guest on nationally syndicated radio programs and has made numerous television appearances, including on the CBS Evening News and Stossel. He received the 2008 Playboy Foundation Freedom of Expression Award and the 2010 Ford Hall Forum’s Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award on behalf of FIRE. Lukianoff is a graduate of American University and Stanford Law School.

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. He lives in New York City.

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!