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Publisher's Summary

A profound expansion of David McCullough, Jr.’s popular commencement speech - a call to arms against a prevailing, narrow, conception of success viewed by millions on YouTube - 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, and the 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.

©2014 David McCullough, Jr. (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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The Teacher is Wise

I really enjoyed this. As a former public school teacher I heard variations of every chapter during lunch breaks, bus duty, planning meetings. But it was rewarding to hear these previously spoken words organized, compiled, and presented. It made me realize with satisfaction, "I was right!" "I knew that!" And "why didn't I write this book?" It was satisfying beyond my expectations to know that David McCullough, Jr. agreed with me! I loved that the son of one of our countries' most scholarly historians chose to teach kids, since the popularity of that career has diminished somewhat. I thank him for his insights, and plan to search through them again.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ray
  • United States
  • 05-19-15

Witty, Incisive, Real, & impactful

David bares the soul of a teacher called to tell it like it is. I was held in rapt attention experiencing the book like a play, sitcom, and documentary all rolled into one. Every teacher could benefit from reading this book. I feel like the author is a friend of mine after reading the book. Since I love introducing friends to friends, I heartily recommend this book to my Amazon friends.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Great book

This was a wonderful book. McCullough is a fantastic writer. The book was funny and insightful. Five stars all the way around!!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

One of my favorites.

I kept wanting my children to be there listening with me. A book everyone can enjoy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Must read for parents and kids

Should be required reading for all junior and senior high kids and their parents. And let me add the Apple didn't fall from from the tree. I hope dad is very proud.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

David McCullough NOT the reader

McCullough is not the reader as advertised. Makes a difference. The narrator is not as good as mccollough.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

just listen to the last chapter or watch the video

Any additional comments?

a bit long-winded<br/>might just listen to the last chapter which was the original <br/>or try the youtube video

1 of 6 people found this review helpful