The Coddling of the American Mind Book Summary - The Coddling of the American Mind Book explained in key points
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The Coddling of the American Mind summary

Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

4.4 (276 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

The Coddling Of The American Mind examines the cultural and psychological factors contributing to the rise of safetyism and its impact on intellectual freedom.
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    The Coddling of the American Mind
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    Young people need to face challenges in order to become strong.

    When you were a kid, were you allowed to bring peanuts to school? If you live in the United States, your answer to that question probably depends on your age.

    Starting in the mid-nineties, America found itself facing a minor public health crisis, as the rate of peanut allergies in the population began to soar. Faced with the prospect of putting children’s health at risk, many schools decided to ban the foodstuff from lunchboxes altogether.

    Seems like a good idea, right? Well, not exactly. A 2015 study discovered that shielding children from peanuts may have actually been contributing to the surge in allergies.

    The key message here is: Young people need to face challenges in order to become strong.

    In that 2015 study, researchers followed a group of children from infancy to the age of five. They found that without early and repeated exposure to peanuts, many of the kids’ immune systems never learned how to deal with them in a healthy way – leading to serious allergies down the line.

    In the same way, when we try to shelter young people from all of life’s challenges, we run the risk of weakening them in the long term – a phenomenon attested to by life on American college campuses.

    Since 2014, student life has been dramatically altered by the rise of safetyism. This term refers to a growing culture that prizes safety at all costs, and sees challenges and difficulties as intolerable burdens that need to be eliminated.

    But here’s the thing: safetyism rests on a novel and expanded meaning of the word “safety.” Over time, it’s come to include protection against challenging ideas and feelings of discomfort, not just physical threats.

    And that means safetyism can be used to silence dissenting students and speakers. After all, if students need to be “protected” from anything that makes them uncomfortable, why should they be exposed to arguments that make them feel “unsafe?”

    Well, remember the peanuts. Sometimes overprotection can be more harmful than allowing young people to encounter challenges and risks. In fact, it’s only by facing adversity that we can begin to develop real strength.

    Imagine a young person who has been sheltered from difficult emotions for most of his life. Is he likely to find it easier to get by when he becomes an adult? Probably not. Life has some challenges, upsets, and pain in store for all of us – and it’s better to learn how to deal with these things early on, rather than to run into trouble later in life when the stakes get high.

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    What is The Coddling of the American Mind about?

    The Coddling of the American Mind (2018) seeks to go behind the scandalized reporting and to establish what’s really happening on US college campuses. Drawing on psychological theory and wide-ranging research, The Coddling of the American Mind demonstrates that university life has taken a worrying turn.

    The Coddling of the American Mind Review

    The Coddling Of The American Mind (2018) by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt uncovers the roots of safetyism and its consequences. Here's why you should read it:

    • The book provides a comprehensive analysis of the cultural and psychological factors behind the rise of safetyism.
    • It offers practical solutions for fostering resilience, critical thinking, and intellectual freedom.
    • The authors' interdisciplinary approach makes this an enlightening and engaging read.

    Discover the importance of intellectual freedom and resilience with The Coddling Of The American Mind.

    Best quote from The Coddling of the American Mind

    It is unjust to treat people as if they are bigots when they harbor no ill will.

    —Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
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    Who should read The Coddling of the American Mind?

    • Baffled readers trying to understand campus politics
    • Parents of college-aged kids
    • Citizens concerned about accelerating political polarization

    About the Author

    Greg Lukianoff is the CEO and president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a free-speech advocacy group focusing on college campuses. He is the author of Freedom From Speech and Unlearning Liberty.

    Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has also written The Righteous Mind and The Happiness Hypothesis.

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    The Coddling of the American Mind FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Coddling Of The American Mind?

    The Coddling Of The American Mind explores the rise of safetyism and its impact on intellectual freedom, resilience, and critical thinking.

    How long does it take to read The Coddling Of The American Mind?

    The estimated reading time for The Coddling Of The American Mind is a few hours. The Blinkist summary takes about 15 minutes to read.

    Is The Coddling Of The American Mind a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Coddling Of The American Mind is an insightful read, examining the consequences of safetyism and offering solutions for fostering resilience.

    Who is the author of The Coddling Of The American Mind?

    The authors of The Coddling Of The American Mind are Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.

    How many chapters are in The Coddling Of The American Mind?

    The Coddling Of The American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt consists of 12 chapters, each delving into different aspects of safetyism and its consequences.

    How many pages are in The Coddling Of The American Mind?

    The Coddling Of The American Mind has 352 pages.

    When was The Coddling Of The American Mind published?

    The Coddling Of The American Mind was published in 2018.

    What to read after The Coddling of the American Mind?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Coddling of the American Mind, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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