The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us

Narrated by: Paul Tough
Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Education & Learning
4.8 out of 5 stars (143 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of How Children Succeed returns with a devastatingly powerful, mind-changing inquiry into higher education in the United States.

Does college still work? Is the system designed just to protect the privileged and leave everyone else behind? Or can a college education today provide real opportunity to young Americans seeking to improve their station in life?

And it introduces us to the people who really make higher education go: admissions directors trying to balance the class and balance the budget, College Board officials scrambling to defend the SAT in the face of mounting evidence that it favors the wealthy, researchers working to unlock the mysteries of the college-student brain, and educators trying to transform potential dropouts into successful graduates.

With insight, humor, and passion, Paul Tough takes listeners on a journey from Ivy League seminar rooms to community college welding shops, from giant public flagship universities to tiny experimental storefront colleges. Whether you are facing your own decision about college or simply care about the American promise of social mobility, The Years That Matter Most will change the way you think - not just about higher education, but about the nation itself.

©2019 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (P)2019 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

What listeners say about The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us

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So thankful I looked past the audio preview

So the audio preview gives the wrong impression. it is not a book about privilege (the audio clip is about Varsity Blues scandal) but is really about access to higher education. The way that data was presented and woven into the "story" was great. It is an interesting balance of data and personal stories. There were parts of the book that made me quite sad and angry - being a professor there are a lot of things that need fixing and much beyond my power I would recommend if you care about higher education for sure. The author reads the book (my preference in all audio books) and his voice is clear. I listened at 1.25X and it was easy to follow. This book will make you angry and sad if you care about society and higher education - but definitely worth your time.

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Good overview of the college ecosystem

I really enjoyed this audiobook. Tough does a good job presenting multiple viewpoints and experiences regarding applying to, being admitted and attending college. The section that covers the viewpoints of the admission offices was also very enlightening. Finally, his brief synopsis on the GI bill and its impact was a bit off topic but helped to bridge his commentary at the end of the book on the positive role low cost higher education can play for future generations.

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Important book

This is a clear look at the US college system, what works, and where we fail our youth. The combination of fact-based research and individual stories make this book both an important and an enjoyable experience.

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Tough Nails It

Worth reading twice. Should be required reading for college access support programs. #hackthegates #test-optional #weneedanotherway

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Thoroughly researched, engagingly written, well narrated

The book reads like a good story, very well read by the author. Ideas are well presented, well researched and presented in a way that engages the listener thoroughly.