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Download Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, by William Deresiewicz Click for printable size audiobook cover
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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 is 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “William Deresiewicz is one of America’s best young public intellectuals. He has written a passionate, deeply informed, and searing critique of the way we are educating our young. Whether you agree or disagree—and I found myself doing both—you must read this book. It should spark a great debate on America's campuses and beyond.”

    Fareed Zakaria, New York Times bestselling author of The Future of Freedom

  • “Deresiewicz’s controversial full agenda indeed means an end to rule by meritocracy and a beginning of fairness for the working class. An urgent summons to a long-overdue debate over what universities do and how they do it.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “William Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep is a searing and important critique of our morally bankrupt educational system. He argues, correctly, that colleges and universities, awash in corporate money and intend on churning out corporate managers and conformists rather than scholars, have betrayed not only their mission, but the students they purport to teach and by extension the wider society. Independent thought is subversive, uncomfortable and lonely. It requires us, as Deresiewicz points out, to challenge and question reigning assumptions rather than kneel before them. Deresiewicz’s book is not so much a call for reform as for revolt.”

    Chris Hedges, Pulitzer prize–winning journalist and author

  • “In Excellent Sheep, William Deresiewicz sets out to unnerve the current and future college students of America (and their parents). He succeeds brilliantly, with an indictment of elite education that should launch a thousand conversations. Read this book to remember what learning should be, and then pass it along to the next sheep who should leave the flock behind.”

    Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

  • Excellent Sheep challenges parents to break from the herd mentality, to question what we really want from our children, who we really want them to be. The book filled me with both hope that there could be a more authentic, creative way to raise a new generation of thinkers—and with the courage to try to find it.”

    Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2014
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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About the Narrator

Mel Foster is a prolific audiobook narrator, having read dozens of titles throughout his career. He is the recipient of the prestigious Audie Award, as well as the AudioFile Earphones Award. A former advertising agency executive who used to record test tracks for commercials, his narration career was born out of encouragement from his clients who would often say, “why are we hiring someone else? I like this guy.”