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

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,798 ratings  ·  431 reviews
A timely investigation into the campus assault on free speech and what it means for students, education, and our 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
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Penguin Press (first published July 17th 2018)
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Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a very narrow and small-minded book parading as a big thoughtful one. It says it is about the American Mind, but the data and the theory only support "the coddling" of a very narrow subset of the American mind: upper middle class college kids born after 1995 that got to college in 2013. As far as that group is concerned, this is really good advice. I totally agree with his three untruths--your feelings are not necessarily true, the world is not good and evil, and adversity does not make ...more
Ryan Boissonneault
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Imagine that you want to start a fitness program to increase your strength and endurance and sign up at the local gym. Upon arrival, you notice that management has removed all of the weights, concerned that heavy weights can cause stress and injury. Instead, you are instructed to perform light body-weight exercises that you can already safely handle. As you go through the motions of exercise, progress is nonexistent and you’ll be entirely unprepared for any activities that might require greater ...more
Emily May
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
I saw Jonathan Haidt speak on Real Time and he seemed like an intelligent guy with a lot of interesting ideas, so I patiently waited for this book to become available at my library. I'm also curious about this notion of kids being overprotected or "coddled".

It's looking more and more like the developed world's need to protect its kids, wrap them in bubble wrap, and disinfect everything might be the cause of a variety of unsavoury things, from Berkeley banning speakers to the rise in childhood l
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book, and will be recommending it to at least half the people I know. Its insights into the various developments over the past couple generations(parenting, social media, identity politics) weave a fascinating (if often dispiriting) and comprehensive picture of how we got to the current political climate, particularly on campus. The book is challenging in many respects, while remaining accessible and engaging. I’ll be thinking about it for a lon ...more
Michael Shore
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
The central tenants of this book are good but incredibly repetitive and fluffed up. Towards the end of the book, I wanted to shoot myself everytime I read the word "saftyism." The book started out as an article, which explains a lot. It should've stayed an article.

Also, the Authors fail to provide compelling evidence in support of their hypothesis that we are facing a generational crisis. They largely backup their sweeping generalizations about "I-Gen" with extreme anecdotal cases. The section o
Robert Miller
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There can be little doubt that students entering our colleges and universities for the past several years are traveling to the beat of a different drum. For the most part, many of these young men and women are developmentally challenged in several ways. Their stunted growth is the result of their parent’s upbringing; the students have been coddled by their parents, trained to fear anyone outside of their immediate circles, prohibited from engaging in creative thinking, stopped from normal play a ...more
Hallelujah and Amen!

A definite TBR for parents of kids 'tween 2 and 22 - the iGen.
Ill D
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gentlemen and Scholars
Shelves: reviewed
In spite of an incredibly Pollyana-ish ending, Coddling of the American Mind is an otherwise superbly well written and well researched book about one of the most pressing issues of contemporary American politics: Political Correctness. Standing comfortably aside modern intellectual heavyweights such as Jordan Peterson who have critiqued our cultural milieu, I was not the least bit surprised with the message within. However, I was particularly surprised to discover that A: the authors are neither ...more
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, usa
97th book for 2018.

This again seems like a good article that got bloated unnecessarily into a book. There are some good points about the necessity to develop resilience in children, but with little strong substance to back things up. The arguments seem very one-side and cherry-picked. Reading this book you'd think that snowflake liberal children are rioting on every campus in America.

Also the focus of the book is a bit unclear to me: is it a critique of the commercialization of the university s
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: higher-education
Summary: Discusses three bad ideas that result in a culture of "safetyism" in higher education, chronicles the consequences of these bad ideas, traces factors that led to the embrace of these ideas, and how we might choose a wiser way.

1. The Untruth of Fragility: What doesn't kill you makes you weaker.
2. The Untruth of Emotional Reasoning: Always trust your feelings.
3. The Untruth of Us Versus Them: Life is a battle between good people and evil people.

Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt contend th
Peter Mcloughlin
Usually, when I hear the word coddling bandied about I chalk it up to the sadistic impulses of an aging reactionary who likes to slag on the youth. A perennial since Plato. The book is deeper much more interesting than that. It is more a call to get over our desire to overprotect the next generation or smother them. Human beings need some sling and arrows in developing to build some resilience. It also is a call to drop some assumptions that have crept into the culture that any frustration, slig ...more
Chris Sosa
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Coddling of the American Mind," a collaboration between Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, is a solid step above Jonathan Haidt's previous work ("The Righteous Mind") and his first book in collaboration with Lukianoff, who serves as the current president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

"Coddling" addresses the troubling fragility of Generation Z, which the book describes as a result of an irrational cultural phenomenon the authors call "safetyism." The authors suggest t
Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher for the free advance copy!!

This was an excellent and informative read. If you've ever wondered and worried about the worrying trend of people being publically shamed and harassed to the point that they've lost their reputations, careers and sometimes even physical safety just for expressing an unpopular opinion, this book is an absolute must read. It's actually bipartisan and takes a long scathing look at worrying trends from the left as well as the right
Michael Perkins
Can't say I learned anything new from this book. My kids are Millennials in their early 30's. The authors are directing their exposition to the parents of the generation that followed, what they call iGen (internet generation), sometimes referred to as Generation Z. I agree that what they call Three Bad Ideas are bad. Our approach was the opposite. As soon as our kids were old enough, we explained that life was a process of overcoming their fears.

I was already familiar with their examples of ove
Justin Norman
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
When I read Haidt's book, "The Righteous Mind", I found it to be the most important book I'd read in years, because it so accurately seemed to capture the central issues liberals and conservatives in America were having communicating with one another. This book zooms in to highlight these issues in even more accurate detail, in great part due to the fact that it was very recently written and published. Some examples: the blocking of political opponents from speaking publicly, the trending lie th ...more
Darren Lipomi
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Happily connected to science rather than a litany of complaints about "kids these days."
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Much as I've come to admire Haidt, I'll admit that I was worried to see this title, which seems like a typical "culture wars" click bait. How did the book hold up upon reading it?

This is a reasonably argued book about extreme incidents on American college campuses and how they relate to the larger culture. The title is bad, however, because it makes the text at first glance combative in a way that I don't associate with Haidt. (I generally view him as persuading from a pretty easily established
Eric Morse
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book addresses issues that are defining our age. That is nothing remarkable in itself, unless you realize that these issues and the perspectives shared in this book have become taboo in our identity-saturated culture. What the authors have done is spoken the unspeakable. In so doing, they have nobly spotted the dangers of political correctness, 'vindictive protectiveness', and 'safetyism', and provided a stark warning to educators and laymen alike.

Lukianoff and Haidt do not provide the most
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear and succinct explanations and observable outcomes for the "oversee" of safety practices in American education.

All three untruths can be easily heard and observed in various fields of teaching and higher education environments especially. I have observed them to an increased extent even within my Roman Catholic university employer environments.

The last untruth about worldview or ideas being either good/evil is becoming so endemic and evident, not only in education, but in the media langua
Edward Sullivan
This urgent, important book should be read by everyone, especially parents and educators. The authors examine the root of divisiveness plaguing American society, the increasing inability of individuals of all political persuasions to engage in rational, intelligent, thoughtfully reasoned debate and dialogue. Complicit in this alarming decline are institutions of higher learning embracing emotionalism over critical and analytical thinking, dialectics, and abandoning their sacred obligation to def ...more
Aj Swanson
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you work with youth, read this book

Great insight into iGen and the current cultural climate they live in. Any other generation that works with iGen would benefit greatly from reading this book.
Clare Mansell
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating read which I'm so glad I picked up. Very important lessons about our growing and expansive culture of safetyism and how it is crippling a generation.
Joseph Stieb
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Full disclosure: I am a Haidt fanboy, so I'm predisposed to like this book. Unlike the Righteous Mind, it is not outstanding. Books that are elaborations of long-form articles rarely are. If you follow Haidt and Lukianoff's work closely, this is mainly a summary of what they have been doing the last 4 years of so (see Haidt's excellent Wriston Lecture for a distillation). Still, this is a strong, well-sourced, and fair-minded argument about where higher ed has turned wrong and how it can be rect ...more
See original article here. Review of a review here. Mere-O review here.
Matthew Trevithick
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars - Happy this book exists, though if you’ve been reading the major articles on the topics of the cult of safetyism / digital device use / western depression and suicide rates / etc you have already picked up the major themes of this book. Still, more people should be talking about some silly viewpoints that are popular at the moment.
Sharad Pandian
If you've been following the fracas on and surrounding American universities, there's nothing new in this book for you.

As the title suggests, Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff argue that American children from the iGen generation (born 1995 or beyond) are raised in situations and using methods unique in ways that make them interpret discomfort as danger. This makes them unable to cope, and harms them and their causes.

I. Why this book is a waste of space

To understand why this book goes wrong, its
Roseanna White
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everyone with kids college-aged or younger needs to read this book! It addresses the trend of "safetyism" and student fragility--that the ideas of "dangerous" have crept from physical harm to emotional discomfort, which is proven not to make our kids STRONGER, but rather emotionally WEAKER. In it the authors not only discuss the problems that have come rather suddenly to college campuses, but the reasons behind them, and how we as parents and educators can correct it . The main theme is that the ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I previously read Lukianoff's "Unlearning Liberty" earlier this year. While I thoroughly enjoyed that work, I was somewhat disappointed by this joint venture with social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. This is partly because while "Unlearning Liberty" was a searching examination of how higher education in recent years has failed in its central purpose to discover "truth" by prohibiting many forms of offensive speech on campus, this book tries to further that inquiry in some ways by putting together ...more
Scott Rhee
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t been on a college campus in about 25 years. Things have changed: I get it. I wasn’t aware, however, until reading Greg Lukianoff and Jonathon Haidt’s book “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure”, how things have changed so terribly.

If you’ve followed the news at all in the past couple years, you’ll get a sense of how fucked up things are, but the media doesn’t always capture the whole story, and in today’s political
Nick Vanderweit
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Concise, clearly-argued, and I thought it was extremely well-structured (the inclusion of bullet points at the end of each chapter was brilliant).
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Goodreads Librari...: separate listings 2 21 Dec 20, 2017 10:15PM  
“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.55” 10 likes
“The notion that a university should protect all of its students from ideas that some of them find offensive is a repudiation of the legacy of Socrates, who described himself as the “gadfly” of the Athenian people. He thought it was his job to sting, to disturb, to question, and thereby to provoke his fellow Athenians to think through their current beliefs, and change the ones they could not defend.” 3 likes
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