The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
Free Press 2014
“Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League.” This was the headline of a recent New Republic article that reverberated across the internet recently, going viral as it was shared over 160 thousands times on Facebook. The author of this piece, Dr. William Deresiewicz, joins the New Books in Education podcast to discuss his new book Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life (Free Press 2014), which further elaborates upon his recent viral article and another from 2008, “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education“.
In Excellent Sheep, Deresiewicz draws on his decades of experience at Ivy League institutions; first, at Columbia where he did his undergraduate and graduate degrees, and then later at Yale where he taught for a decade. With an insiders view and a critical lens, he dissects what education at these types of institutions has become. He asserts that the hypercompetitive nature of elite institutions has taken away from self-discovery of students, a key facet to innovation and creativity. Deresiewicz’s book also confronts the social implications of a less meritocratic elite system of education. Particularly, he is concerned by the kind of elites that are being produced by prestigious education in America, with graduates that disproportionally pursue careers in self-serving fields like finance. Like his past viral essays, Excellent Sheep is a thought-provoking look at American society and provides keen insights into the world of elite education.