December 26, 2018

Book 96 – almost my goal of 100 and looking good after lots of reading over Christmas break (look for posts all week)! Today’s book is a serious one – Coddling Of The American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

While most of my reading is centered on fiction books, I do enjoy solid analysis of current events and why people think the way they think.

I had read a previous book by Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, which helped to understand the values that people hold on different sides of the political spectrum and which values cause the strong rifts we see. I thought it was an incredibly insightful book, though probably not well received among strong partisans who are convinced the other side has no values.

I had not previously read any of Greg Lukianoff’s work but know who he is through his leadership of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The organization has been increasingly in the news because of their fight for freedom of speech on college campuses. In the early days of the organization, the fight was usually against the administration and supported by the students, but in the last several years, FIRE has found itself battling student groups trying to prevent provocative speakers on campus.

That change is the focus of this book. Why are today’s college students so different in their attitudes? The authors take great pains in pointing out that the finger pointing to “Millennials” is off base because that generation is now all out of college. The current generation in college is known as iGen, or Generation Z, the generation born from 1995 and later—children raised after the widespread adoption of the internet and mobile computing devices.

A slight pause here. I rarely say a book is “good” or “bad” because, frankly, I simply never finish a poorly written book and you will never see a review of one from me. However, I “like” or “don’t like” a book based on whether the topic and/or story interests me. Likewise, Dear Reader, I assume the same about you which is why I take pains to explain what a book is about.

Thus, I thoroughly enjoyed this book because I enjoy thoughtful analysis of why people think the way they think. I don’t necessarily agree with everything the authors say, but I am okay with that. If that describes you, I suspect you will enjoy this book and heartily recommend it.

If, however, that doesn’t describe you, I will be back tomorrow and for the next several days with the novels that round out my reading for the year (HINT: I might just make that 100 target after all).

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