• The Coddling of the American Mind

  • How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure
  • By: Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Haidt
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (12,306 ratings)

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The Coddling of the American Mind  By  cover art

The Coddling of the American Mind

By: Jonathan Haidt,Greg Lukianoff
Narrated by: Jonathan Haidt
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Publisher's summary

A timely investigation into the new "safety culture" on campus and the dangers it poses to free speech, mental health, education, and ultimately democracy

The generation now coming of age has been taught three Great Untruths: their feelings are always right; they should avoid pain and discomfort; and they should look for faults in others and not themselves. These three Great Untruths are part of a larger philosophy that sees young people as fragile creatures who must be protected and supervised by adults. But despite the good intentions of the adults who impart them, the Great Untruths are harming kids by teaching them the opposite of ancient wisdom and the opposite of modern psychological findings on grit, growth, and antifragility.  

The result is rising rates of depression and anxiety, along with endless stories of college campuses torn apart by moralistic divisions and mutual recriminations.   

This is a book about how we got here. First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt take us on a tour of the social trends stretching back to the 1980s that have produced the confusion and conflict on campus today, including the loss of unsupervised play time and the birth of social media, all during a time of rising political polarization.    

This is a book about how to fix the mess. The culture of “safety” and its intolerance of opposing viewpoints has left many young people anxious and unprepared for adult life, with devastating consequences for them, for their parents, for the companies that will soon hire them, and for a democracy that is already pushed to the brink of violence over its growing political divisions. Lukianoff and Haidt offer a comprehensive set of reforms that will strengthen young people and institutions, allowing us all to reap the benefits of diversity, including viewpoint diversity.    

This is a book for anyone who is confused by what’s happening on college campuses today, or has children, or is concerned about the growing inability of Americans to live and work and cooperate across party lines.

©2018 Greg Lukianoff (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“A disturbing and comprehensive analysis of recent campus trends… Lukianoff and Haidt notice something unprecedented and frightening… The consequences of a generation unable or disinclined to engage with ideas that make them uncomfortable are dire for society, and open the door - accessible from both the left and the right - to various forms of authoritarianism.” (Thomas Chatterton Williams, The New York Times Book Review - cover review and Editors’ Choice selection)

"So how do you create ‘wiser kids’? Get them off their screens. Argue with them. Get them out of their narrow worlds of family, school and university. Boot them out for a challenging Gap year. It all makes perfect sense…the cure seems a glorious revelation." (Philip Delves Broughton, Evening Standard)

“Perhaps the strongest argument in Haidt and Lukianoff’s favour...is this: if you see this issue as being about little more than a few sanctimonious teenagers throwing hissy fits on campus then, yes, it is probably receiving too much attention. But if you accept their premise, that it’s really a story about mental wellbeing and emotional fragility, about a generation acting out because it has been set up to fail by bad parenting and poorly designed institutions, then their message is an urgent one. And it is one that resonates well beyond dusty libraries and manicured quadrangles, into all of our lives.” (Josh Glancy, The Sunday Times (UK))