A pioneering neuroscientist shares his story of growing up in one of Miami's toughest neighborhoods and how it led him to his groundbreaking work in drug addiction.
As a youth, Carl Hart didn't realize the value of school; he studied just enough to stay on the basketball team. At the same time, he was immersed in street life. Today he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist - Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences - whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.
In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, he recalls his journey of self-discovery and weaves his past and present. Hart goes beyond the hype of the antidrug movement as he examines the relationship among drugs, pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing.
Though Hart escaped neighborhoods that were dominated by entrenched poverty and the knot of problems associated with it, he has not turned his back on his roots. Determined to make a difference, he tirelessly applies his scientific research to help save real lives. But balancing his former street life with his achievements today has not been easy - a struggle he reflects on publicly for the first time.
A powerful story of hope and change, of a scientist who has dedicated his life to helping others, High Price will alter the way we think about poverty, race, and addiction - and how we can effect change.
©2013 Carl Hart and Maia Szalavitz (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
High Price by Carl Hart is one of the very best audio books I have listened to in the last year. As a reader, I am always intrigued by how others become successful. Given that Dr. Hart grows up in a broken home with minimal positive supports in Carol City Miami exposed to violence and frequent drug use only makes his journey to a tenured professorship at Columbia University more captivating.
Dr. Hart is able to pinpoint the key behavioral moments and environmental conditions that permitted him to move toward the next opportunity. As you are reading High Price, you may say to yourself "How does this guy eventually become a tenured Columbia professor ?" Dr. Hart conveys his incredible journey in a manner that keeps the reader/listener fully engaged and locked in.
High Price is not only about the Carl Hart story. Instead Dr. Hart educates the reader/listener about the history of drug enforcement, drug addiction, the chemical structure of illegal drugs, and the racism disguised as the war on drugs. Dr. Hart challenges the basic assumption many Americans have about street drugs that is propagated by the media, drug associations, and politicians. He also exposes the reader to peer reviewed research that refutes many of our long-standing and commonly held assumptions about drug use in inner city America.
Finally, the strongest part of High Praise is Dr. Hart's explanations of human behavior based on the science of behaviorism as espoused by BF Skinner. Dr. Hart does not rely on the verbal musings and explanatory motivations that drive behavior. Instead, Dr. Hart explains the challenging behaviors of others by examining their environments and their lacking repertoire of functional life skills.
Overall, High Praise is a great book!
This was a very good book which definitely goes beyond just the basics of addiction and drugs. I really enjoyed listening to the narrator, J.D. Jackson who does a superb job most of the time. He stumbles a bit when trying to sound like Bill Clinton, but I think he absolutely captures the narrator's voice and intent better than just about any narrator I have heard.
I would "like" to give it 4.5 stars, but really can only give it 4 on this rating scale.
One thing the book does amazingly well is to describe how policy has been very harmful to certain groups. It is distressing that racism still exists on an institutional level, but having been a part of some of these institutions, I can definitely say it is still there, and Dr. Hart does a terrific job of describing it. He also focuses how the "war on drugs" has been damaging. This is absolutely worth reading or listening to. Most people probably do not have the background or upbringing that Dr. Hart did to really understand these issues, and he is an incredible communicator in this way.
The main problem I see though is that Dr. Hart does not focus much on the 10-20% of people who do get hooked on addictive drugs, alcohol, or even other commonly available items such as tobacco. These substances can still be devastating to those who use them. Sometimes I get the feeling that he is a bit dismissive of this at times. He does bring up contingency management but he really only scratched the surface with that. I wish he had more here; motivational therapy and other information so that people can get help if they need it.
Anyway, I do think this is a great book. If I could give it 4.5 stars I would. I just wish it had a bit more substance on the treatment approaches to substance use. His critique of policy approaches to the problem I think is spot-on.
Very well thought out and presented book on the fallacies and misrepresentations about addiction, biased scientific reporting and the war on drugs. Dr. Carl Hart is a pioneer in his field.
Great book with lots of important information. I felt like it could have been edited slightly better, but overall very pleased. The narrator was a little dull but otherwise good. Recommended!
I immediately became aware of how much judgment and prohibition is cast around society. Many prohibition laws inhibit progress in civilization.
Letting us in on his lifestyle. An honest trustworthy man, exposing very controversial points on drugs.
I'd rather Carl Hart read the book
This master piece is inspirational and filled with truth that only one who lived it can relate to! It was heart felt...
At present, there is no book that compares to "High Price." I would recommend "The Short And Tragic Life of Robert Peace."
This is an amazing and intriguing book. A weaving of autobiography, scientific research and cultural application. An honest introspective look at all three. A must listen/read. Thank you Dr Hart for this book. I can only appreciated the emotional effort and I am deeply grateful for allowing me into this personal yet objective space.
Greetings. My brother introduced me to Audible in 2011. Since, nothing but enjoyment. Hopefully my reviews are very useful to you. Enjoy!
This book ranks within my top 5.
The New Jim Crow--Karen Chilton
How an inner city kid can develop into a neuroscientist.
This book tells the true story of drugs and black youth. Eye opening and told very well.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Dr. Carl Hart grew up in South Florida, maintained a 2.0 academic average in high school so he could play sports, and managed to avoid brushes with the law, unlike many of his peers. He took an armed-forces aptitude test just to get out of class that day, and he did well enough for the army and air force to try to enlist him. Going into the air force changed his life by expanding his horizons, and he went on to become a tenured professor at Columbia. How could this not be an interesting book?!
Hart believes that the War on Drugs is a policy based in racism and pharmacological ignorance. The laws and enforcement thereof are so heavily weighted against the black community, they are destroying the chance of success in life for generations of young men. The social ills and crime blamed on drugs, he says, existed well before drugs became ubiquitous. His scientific research on addiction and the statistics he relates also show the public's lack of knowledge.
This was a fascinating, thought-provoking book on many levels. I learned a lot.
As for the narrator, I'm glad the decision-makers chose a black man to read the book. My only objection was that he read too slowly and without enough emotion. No matter what he was saying, it was all delivered at the same measured pace.
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