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Download You Are Not Special: ...And Other Encouragements Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample You Are Not Special: ...And Other Encouragements Audiobook, by David McCullough Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David McCullough Narrator: David McCullough Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2014 ISBN: 9780062309105
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A profound expansion of David McCullough, Jr.’s popular commencement speech—a call to arms against a prevailing, narrow, conception of success—You Are Not Special is a love letter to students and parents as well as a guide to a truly fulfilling, happy life.

Children today, says David McCullough—high school English teacher, father of four, and son and namesake of the famous historian—are being encouraged to sacrifice passionate engagement with life for specious notions of success. The intense pressure to excel discourages kids from taking chances, failing, and learning empathy and self-confidence from those failures.

In You Are Not Special, McCullough elaborates on his now-famous speech exploring how, for what purpose, and for whose sake we’re raising our kids. With wry, affectionate humor, McCullough takes on hovering parents, ineffectual schools, professional college prep, electronic distractions, club sports, and generally the manifestations, applications, and consequences of privilege. By acknowledging that the world is indifferent to them, McCullough takes pressure off of students to be extraordinary achievers and instead exhorts them to roll up their sleeves and do something useful with their advantages.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Every year, thousands of high school and college commencement speakers deliver ringing homilies about climbing the ladder of personal success. At Massachusetts’s Wellesley High School, David McCullough, Jr., delivered a graduation message so different from such moral uplift that it soon became a viral sensation. This mild-mannered high school teacher made a sensation by suggesting that graduates seek involvement with life, not grasp after corporate success or stardom. For many parents and graduates, this tough-love talk struck a chord of deep agreement. (P.S. McCullough is the son of famed historian David McCullough.)”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “To open You Are Not Special…and Other Encouragements is to enter a deeply intellectual and thought-out analysis of the forces that shape modern teenage life, both at home and in the classroom…This is essential reading.”

    Swellesley Report

  • “McCullough scores an A+ with this volume for teens and parents. Rich in literary references and poetic in cadence, the author...offers plenty of hilarious and pointed comments on teens and today’s society.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The author tackles big issues…with searching sincerity, open-heartedness, and a deft, light touch.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “In his commencement speech at Wellesley High School, where he teaches English, McCullough told graduating students they weren’t special: ‘Even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.’ The speech went viral. Here McCullough expands on the idea that students should rethink the standard definition of success.”

    Library Journal

  • “McCullough really gets where kids are coming from—he understands them on a level that’s, like, micro…When it comes to closing the gap that exists between teens and adults, McCullough proves an expert bridge builder. In his book, he uses his now-famous speech as a jumping-off point, encouraging young people to cultivate intellectual curiosity, compassion, and self-reliance. He also demystifies parental behavior—an undertaking for which he’s overqualified as a father of four. Smart but not condescending, knowing but never a know-it-all, McCullough—a longtime high school teacher—issues small admonishments to teens (text less, read more) in a tone that’s exceedingly collegial.”


  • “Every once in a long while, a voice seems to come out of nowhere, and you wonder how you ever managed without [it]. David McCullough Jr. has that startling, insightful, wry, reassuring, helpful voice, and You Are Not Special may be the wisest ‘parenting’ book I’ve read in decades.”

    Madeline Levine, author of The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well

  • “A clear-eyed but affectionate polemic urging kids to stop trying to be perfect and to take chances, even at the risk of failing. A profound celebration of the life well lived.”

    Clayton Christensen, professor of business administration, Harvard Business School

  • A BookPage Top Pick, May 2014
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About the Author
Author David McCullough

David McCullough, acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author, has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Greater Journey, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.