Reviews

 

REVIEWS IN MAJOR U.S. OUTLETS:

“A disturbing and comprehensive analysis of recent campus trends… Lukianoff and Haidt notice something unprecedented and frightening… The consequences of a generation unable or disinclined to engage with ideas that make them uncomfortable are dire for society, and open the door – accessible from both the left and the right – to various forms of authoritarianism.” —The New York Times Book Review, by Thomas Chatterton Williams

“Lukianoff and Haidt do an excellent job of reminding readers of how the assumption of fragility can be disempowering. . . The authors are right to push back hard against the cultivation of fragility and victimhood, and to defend free speech as essential to the mission of higher education. Professors and students shouldn’t be afraid to express themselves, make mistakes, find better ways of thinking and living through passionate disputation. Lukianoff and Haidt’s insights on the dangers of creating habits of “moral dependency” are timely and important… Keep ’em safe, but not too safe. Things may not be what they used to be, but that common-sense advice still rings true enough.” —The Washington Post, Michael S. Roth 

“Tales of political correctness run amok—indeed, many of the incidents recounted in “The Coddling of the American Mind”—are nothing new to anyone who has been paying even fitful attention to college trends. Messrs. Lukianoff and Haidt differ from many other critics of campus excess in that they do not think of themselves as conservative or even right of center. . . A clear diagnosis. . . The authors’ most compelling idea is that elite colleges show a preference for students who are mature enough to engage with the world as it is rather than demanding a world of safe spaces.” —The Wall Street Journal, Laura Vanderkam 

"Mr Haidt’s and Mr Lukianoff’s analysis is wise and scrupulous." — The Economist

Bloomberg Businessweek, Ethan Bronner

"It’s a sharp analysis of the toxic atmosphere in which our current debates take place, a reminder that it is close to impossible, in this polarized climate, to deal with the specifics and complexities of each scandal from a non-tribal perspective." — NYMag, Andrew Sullivan

“The remedies the book outlines should be considered on college campuses, among parents of current and future students, and by anyone longing for a more sane society." —The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Donald E. Simpson

The Coddling of the American Mind deserves to be widely read and discussed.” —National ReviewGeorge Leef 

“Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff’s new book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, persuasively unpacks the causes of the current predicament on campus – which they link to wider parenting, cultural and political trends. . .The Coddling of the American Mind is both an enlightening but disquieting read. We have a lot of challenges in front of us.” — Quillette, Matthew Lesh

"Originating as a provocative Atlantic article, the book is no screed but rather a work of cultural criticism and social science, managing to do what few books on the culture wars achieve—persuade without alienating." ---— City Journal, Emily Esfahani Smith

“The Coddling of the American Mind…finds that safetyism is a feature of not only college but also our ‘unsettling time.’. . . Lukianoff and Haidt tell us that safetyism undermines the freedom of inquiry and speech that are indispensable to universities. They believe that administrators and students are already sick of safetyism and predict that if just a few daring colleges and universities identify themselves again as homes of reason ‘market forces will take care of the rest.’ That’s so uncrazy, it just might work.” — Commentary, Jonathan Marks 

“An important examination of dismaying social and cultural trends.” —Kirkus Reviews

 “In this expansion of their 2015 piece for the Atlantic, Lukianoff and Haidt argue that the urge to insulate oneself against offensive ideas has had deleterious consequences, making students less resilient, more prone to undesirable “emotional reasoning,” less capable of engaging critically with others’ viewpoints, and more likely to cultivate an “us-versus-them” mentality… the path they advocate—take on challenges, cultivate resilience, and try to reflect rather than responding based solely on initial emotional responses—deserves consideration.” —Publishers Weekly

"The Coddling of the American Mind is a convicting book." - Samuel James, Mere Orthodoxy

The Times Higher Ed, Matthew Reisz

"The Coddling of the American Mind review – how elite US liberals have turned rightwards" by Moira Weigel, The Guardian

REVIEWS IN MAJOR U.K. OUTLETS:

“The authors, both of whom are liberal academics — almost a tautology on today’s campuses — do a great job of showing how ‘safetyism’ is cramping young minds. Students are treated like candles, which can be extinguished by a puff of wind. The goal of a Socratic education should be to turn them into fires, which thrive on the wind. Instead, they are sheltered from anything that could cause offence. . . Their advice is sound. Their book is excellent. Liberal parents, in particular, should read it.” —Financial Times, Edward Luce

"So how do you create “wiser kids”? Get them off their screens. Argue with them. Get them out of their narrow worlds of family, school and university. Boot them out for a challenging Gap year. It all makes perfect sense, yet after 250 pages of grim prognosis, the cure seems a glorious revelation." —Evening StandardPhilip Delves Broughton 

"The authors remind us of some of the campus happenings that, since 2015, have afrighted old liberals like me... In the end [despite some objections] I agreed with Messrs Lukianoff and Haidt that protecting kids has gone too far, and that some campus behaviour is absurd and worrying."—The Times, by David Aaronovitch

"The speed with which campus life has changed for the worse is one of the most important points made by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in this important if disturbing book." —The Times, by Niall Ferguson

ADVANCE PRAISE (Endorsements printed on or in the book):

“Rising intolerance for opposing viewpoints is a challenge not only on college campuses but also in our national political discourse. The future of our democracy requires us to understand what’s happening and why—so that we can find solutions and take action. Reading The Coddling of the American Mind is a great place to start.” —Michael Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies, and 108th Mayor of New York City

“Our behavior in society is not immune to the power of rational scientific analysis. Through that lens, prepare yourself for a candid look at the softening of America, and what we can do about it.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson, director, Hayden Planetarium, and author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry 

“Lukianoff and Haidt explain the phenomenon of “helicopter parenting” and its dangers—how overprotection amplifies children’s fears and makes them less likely to become adults who can manage their own lives. Children must be challenged and exposed to stressors—including different perspectives—in order to thrive.” —Susan McDaniel, University of Rochester, former President of the American Psychological Association

"I lament the title of this book, as it may alienate the very people who need to engage with its arguments and obscures its message of inclusion. Equal parts mental health manual, parenting guide, sociological study, and political manifesto, it points to a positive way forward of hope, health, and humanism. I only wish I had read it when I was still a professor and a much younger mother." —Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America, and author of Unfinished Business
 
“A compelling and timely argument against attitudes and practices that, however well-intended, are damaging our universities, harming our children and leaving an entire generation intellectually and emotionally ill-prepared for an ever-more fraught and complex world. A brave and necessary work.” —Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Emeritus Chief Rabbi of UK & Commonwealth; professor, New York University; and author of Not in God’s Name
 
“No one is omniscient or infallible, so a willingness to evaluate new ideas is vital to understanding our world. Yet universities, which ought to be forums for open debate, are developing a reputation for dogmatism and intolerance. Haidt and Lukianoff, distinguished advocates of freedom of expression, offer a deep analysis of what’s going wrong on campus, and how we can hold universities to their highest ideals.” —Steven Pinker, professor, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment Now
 
“This book synthesizes the teachings of many disciplines to illuminate the causes of major problems besetting college students and campuses, including declines in mental health, academic freedom, and collegiality. More importantly, the authors present evidence-based strategies for overcoming these challenges. An engrossing, thought-provoking, and ultimately inspiring read.” —Nadine Strossen, past President, ACLU, and author of HATE: Why We Should Resist it with Free Speech, Not Censorship
 
“How can we as a nation do a better job of preparing young men and women of all backgrounds to be seekers of truth and sustainers of democracy? In The Coddling of the American Mind, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt provide a rigorous analysis of this perennial challenge as it presents itself today, and offer thoughtful prescriptions for meeting it. What’s more, the book models the virtues and practical wisdom its authors rightly propose as the keys to progress. Lukianoff and Haidt teach young people—and all of us—by example as well as precept.” —Cornel West, professor, Harvard University, and author of Democracy Matters; and Robert P. George, professor, Princeton University, and author of Conscience and Its Enemies

“Objectionable words and ideas, as defined by self-appointed guardians on university campuses, are often treated like violence from sticks and stones.  Many students cringe at robust debate; maintaining their ideas of good and evil requires no less than the silencing of disagreeable speakers. Lukianoff and Haidt brilliantly explain how this drift to fragility occurred, how the distinction between words and actions was lost, and what needs to be done. Critical reading to understand the current campus conflicts.” —Mark Yudof, president emeritus, University of California; and professor emeritus, UC Berkeley School of Law

"This book is a much needed guide for how to thrive in a pluralistic society. Lukianoff and Haidt demonstrate how ancient wisdom and modern psychology can encourage more dialogue across lines of difference, build stronger institutions, and make us happier. They provide an antidote to our seemingly intractable divisions, and not a moment too soon.” —Kirsten Powers, author of The Silencing
 
"We can talk ourselves into believing that some kinds of speech will shatter us, or we can talk ourselves out of that belief. The authors know the science. We are not as fragile as our self-appointed protectors suppose. Read this deeply informed book to become a more resilient soul in a more resilient democracy.” —Philip E. Tetlock, author of Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction