A groundbreaking manifesto for people searching for the kind of insight on leading, thinking, and living that elite schools should be—but aren’t—providing.
As a professor at Yale, Bill Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively, and how to find a sense of purpose.
Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path. He addresses parents, students, educators, and anyone who’s interested in the direction of American society, featuring quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and clearly presenting solutions. (book description)
Some critical reviews
- A mind is a terrible thing to waste at Yale, Washington Post, Aug 15, 2014
- The lower ambitions of higher education, New York Times, Aug 12, 2014
- Your defense of ‘Excellent Sheep’ further proves my point, Washington Post, Aug 18, 2014