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Below is the acknowledgment section, as it appears in the book:

An unstated premise of this book is that thinking is social. As lone individuals, each of us is not terribly smart, for we are all prone to cognitive distortions and the confirmation bias. But if you put people into the right sorts of groups and networks, where ideas can be shared, criticized, and improved, something better and truer can emerge. We would like to thank the many people in our groups and networks who made this book better and truer.

First is Pamela Paresky, who joined us during the early stages of the project as Greg’s chief research officer at FIRE. An accomplished writer with an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of Chicago’s Committee on Human Development, Pamela came to the project having written, taught, and spoken about themes similar to those in this book. A regular online contributor to Psychology Today, Pamela became our subject matter expert on many areas of research, and her extensive editing of the entire book helped us blend our two writing styles into one. We are extraordinarily grateful for the depth of her knowledge and expertise. She played devil’s advocate, pressed us to sharpen our points, and contributed many of the important ideas in this book–including coining the term “safetyism.”

Greg would like to thank many other people at FIRE, beginning with the board of directors for allowing him to undertake this project. In particular, Greg thanks FIRE’s current chairman, Daniel Shuchman, who read multiple drafts of this book and offered advice throughout the process. Greg also wants to single out his remarkably unflappable executive assistant, Eli Feldman, and extraordinary former research assistant, Haley Hudler. Eli is a 2016 Yale graduate with a degree in psychology and was endlessly helpful from outline to completion, with keen insight about psychology and iGen, his own generation. Haley was with us as we wrote the original article for The Atlantic and the book proposal, and she performed several months of research for the book before she left FIRE to attend the University of Georgia School of Law. We would also like to thank FIRE attorney Adam Goldstein for his fast and thorough research in the last few months of the editing process, and FIRE’s staff on the whole. Everyone from executive director Robert Shibley (and his wife, Araz Shibley, who helped us research several cases) and the most senior employees to our newest student “co-ops” (Alyssa Bennett, Kelli Kushner, and Matthew Williams) helped along the way. While we can’t list everyone at FIRE who pitched in, we must thank Sarah McLaughlin and Ryne Weiss for their incisive feedback and their insights about the climate on campus today, and Will Creeley, whose expert writing skills helped us fine-tune the manuscript. In addition, we are grateful for research support given by Laura Beltz and Cynthia Meyersburg, and for the feedback and advice from Peter Bonilla, Nico Perrino, Bonnie Snyder, and FIRE attorney (and unofficial FIRE copy editor-in-chief) Samantha Harris, whose keen eye and unparalleled attention to detail during the final stages of production were invaluable.


Jon’s acknowledgments begin with Caroline Mehl, a recent graduate of Yale and Oxford, whom he hired as a research assistant well before this project began. Caroline contributed many ideas and most of the graphs. She pushed us to take multiple perspectives and, in a move that John Stuart Mill would have praised, she found us five readers who viewed campus events very differently from the way we did. We thank those readers, who were masters of constructive and nuanced criticism: Travis Gidado, Madeline High, Ittai Orr, Danielle Tomson, and one who wishes to remain anonymous. We also thank these readers who gave us detailed and very valuable comments on the entire manuscript, critiquing it from the left: Helen Kramer, Shuli Passow, and Khalil Smith; critiquing it from the right: Steve Messenger and William Modahl; and critiquing it from an unidentified location: Larry Amsel, Heather Heying, and Daniel Shuchman.

Jon owes special thanks to Valerie Purdie-Greenaway, whose deep critique of our first draft marked a turning point for the project. He is always grateful to the team at Heterodox Academy, particularly Raffi Grinberg, Nick Phillips, and Jeremy Willinger, who all read the whole manuscript; Sean Stevens, who helped with research; and Deb Mashek, who came aboard to lead the organization in a new direction that will make universities wiser.

Some of the scholars and experts whose work underlies the core arguments of the book helped us frequently along the way. We thank Erika Christakis, Peter Gray, Stephen Holland, Robert Leahy, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Hara Estroff Marano, Lenore Skenazy, and Jean Twenge.

We are grateful to the many friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who gave us valuable comments on one or more chapters, helped us analyze data, or provided their professional expertise: Jason Baehr, Andrew Becker, Caleb Bernard, Paul Bloom, Samantha Boardman, Bradley Campbell, Dennis Dalton, Clark Freshman, Brian Gallagher, Andrew Gates, Christopher Gates, Benjamin Ginsberg, Jesse Graham, Dan Griswold, Benjamin Haidt, Rebecca Haidt, Terry Hartle, Ravi Iyer, Robb Jones, Christina King, Susan Kresnicka, Calvin Lai, Marcella Larsen, Harry Lewis, Vanessa Lobue, Brian Lowe, Jason Manning, Ian McCready-Flora, John McWhorter, John Palfrey, Mike Paros, Nando Pelusi, Steven Pinker, Anne Rasmussen, Bradley Reed, Fabio Rojas, Kathleen Santora, Sally Satel, Steve Schultz, Mark Shulman, Nadine Strossen, Joshua Sullivan, Marianne Toldalagi, John Tomasi, Tracy Tomasso, Rebecca Tuvel, Lee Tyner, Steve Vaisey, Robert Von Hallberg, Zach Wood, and Jared Zuker. We thank Omar Mahmood for volunteering to create our website,

We thank Don Peck at The Atlantic for seeing the potential of this project back in 2014 and launching it, transformed, in 2015. We thank our agent, John Brockman, along with his team at Brockman, Inc., for guiding us to Penguin Press and to our brilliant editor, Virginia “Ginny” Smith. Ginny refined our ideas and our prose, working harder with each deadline we missed.

And last, we thank our families. Greg thanks his wife, Michelle LaBlanc, for her unending patience, flexibility, and support in this intense process–during which she gave birth to Maxwell (born November 2017) and continued to be an amazing mother to rambunctious two-year-old Benjamin while Daddy was kind of swamped.

Jon thanks his wife, Jayne Riew, who improves all that he writes, sees so many things that he missed–in writing and in life–and does the unpublished work in the shared adventure of raising Max and Francesca. Jon ends with an appreciation of his mother, Elaine Haidt, who passed away in May of 2017, while we were writing this book. She took parenting classes in the 1960s from the psychologist Haim Ginott, who taught her the maxim “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Jon and his sisters, Rebecca and Samantha, were so blessed to have a mother who knew what to do, and what not to do.

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