More than two years after FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff and NYU Professor Jonathan Haidt teamed up to write their groundbreaking cover story for The Atlantic, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” the duo is back with an equally groundbreaking, book-length expansion of their essay.
Publisher Penguin Press — part of Penguin Random House, one of the world’s largest book publishers — describes the book as “[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.
When you preorder today, your purchase will get you more than just the latest insights into this emerging phenomenon: A portion of the proceeds from the book’s sale will support FIRE’s work defending civil liberties on America’s college campuses. And don’t forget to use Amazon Smile when you order the book (or make any Amazon purchase) to automatically have a portion of your purchase benefit FIRE — at no cost to you — and increase your contribution to the important work we do.