10 books like The Breakdown of Higher Education

By John M. Ellis,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Breakdown of Higher Education. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Coddling of the American Mind

By Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt,

Book cover of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

This book is so different from the other books on my list. I just finished reading this book recently. I found it completely fascinating. It talks about how our newer generation has changed how we listen, talk and feel. I find that this is happening in relationships as well. This book is a weave of communication, how we take things way too personally and how this affects how we interact with others in life and how we relate to our feelings. I think this book can help how we listen, share and have internal boundaries. While reading this book I didn’t realize how much I needed it. I wish all teachers, administration of all schools, and parents would read this book. 

The Coddling of the American Mind

By Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Coddling of the American Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller * Finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction * A New York Times Notable Book * Bloomberg Best Book of 2018

"Their distinctive contribution to the higher-education debate is to meet safetyism on its own, psychological turf . . . Lukianoff and Haidt tell us that safetyism undermines the freedom of inquiry and speech that are indispensable to universities." -Jonathan Marks, Commentary

"The remedies the book outlines should be considered on college campuses, among parents of current and future students, and by anyone longing for a more sane society." -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Something…

The Once and Future Liberal

By Mark Lilla,

Book cover of The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

Lilla’s goal in this book is to show how identity politics threatens the electoral prospects of the Democratic Party. He argues that the party has thrown citizenship—the “we” in political conversation—out the window in favor of “personal identities in terms of the inner homunculus, a unique little thing composed of parts tinted by race, sex, and gender,” and that this will be electorally disastrous for the Democrats. But Lilla’s arguments show that it is disastrous for our national conversation as well. When we give personal identity weight in an argument (Lilla is superb at eviscerating the shopworn phrase “speaking as an X”) we turn the intellectual clock back to premodern times when arguments were settled by power and force.

The Once and Future Liberal

By Mark Lilla,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Once and Future Liberal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of the most internationally admired political thinkers, a controversial polemic on the failures of identity politics and what comes next for the left — in America and beyond.

Following the shocking results of the US election of 2016, public intellectuals across the globe offered theories and explanations, but few were met with such vitriol, panic, and debate as Mark Lilla’s. The Once and Future Liberal is a passionate plea to liberals to turn from the divisive politics of identity and develop a vision of the future that can persuade all citizens that they share a common destiny.

Driven…


The Assault on American Excellence

By Anthony T. Kronman,

Book cover of The Assault on American Excellence

Kronman is particularly good at describing the “tough” reasoning skills that underlie the thinking styles that have produced modern science and modern democracies. An example of these tough skills is what he calls the “ethic of depersonalization”: expressing arguments in a form available to all—a form not dependent on our emotions or personal experience. Identity politics, in contrast, gives weight to immutable demographic characteristics in ongoing political conversations.  It thus reverses centuries of progress in the intellectual march toward open, ecumenical inquiry, where personal characteristics do not trump rational argument.

The Assault on American Excellence

By Anthony T. Kronman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Assault on American Excellence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I want to call it a cry of the heart, but it's more like a cry of the brain, a calm and erudite one." -Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal

The former dean of Yale Law School argues that the feverish egalitarianism gripping college campuses today is a threat to our democracy.

College education is under attack from all sides these days. Most of the handwringing-over free speech, safe zones, trigger warnings, and the babying of students-has focused on the excesses of political correctness. That may be true, but as Anthony Kronman shows, it's not the real problem.

"Necessary, humane,…

The Rise of Victimhood Culture

By Bradley Campbell, Jason Manning,

Book cover of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars

Campbell and Manning are sociologists who trace how a new moral culture of victimhood has given rise to political correctness. The new moral culture combines the properties of the old culture of honor and the old culture of dignity in a uniquely toxic way. The new victimhood culture borrows from honor culture its extreme sensitivity to insult, but borrows from the culture of dignity the tendency to call upon authorities and institutions to resolve disputes, rather than deal with them on a personal level. The victimhood culture is what has spawned the repressive campus environment of micro-aggressions, deplatforming, and bias response teams.

The Rise of Victimhood Culture

By Bradley Campbell, Jason Manning,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise of Victimhood Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Rise of Victimhood Culture offers a framework for understanding recent moral conflicts at U.S. universities, which have bled into society at large. These are not the familiar clashes between liberals and conservatives or the religious and the secular: instead, they are clashes between a new moral culture-victimhood culture-and a more traditional culture of dignity. Even as students increasingly demand trigger warnings and "safe spaces," many young people are quick to police the words and deeds of others, who in turn claim that political correctness has run amok. Interestingly, members of both camps often consider themselves victims of the other.…

Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later

By Patricia Turner Mitchell (editor),

Book cover of Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later: Women in Higher Education Leadership

Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later is a special title for me, not only because of the significance of its content. I used the original edition in 1993 as a student at the University of San Francisco and then later as a professor at the College of Notre Dame. This book showcases the history of 14 women in academia and highlights the importance of the array of significant changes that need to be made today. What I love most about this book is that the same authors have updated their original chapters and their personal perspective of their experiences and career paths as leaders.  They speak from the heart as they share their transformational stories. They do not sugarcoat anything.  Even though there have been considerable changes in two decades, a great deal has remained the same for women. This is another essential title of empowerment, which lets women know…

Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later

By Patricia Turner Mitchell (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Leadership Reckoning

By Thomas Kolditz, Libby Gill, Ryan P. Brown

Book cover of Leadership Reckoning: Can Higher Education Develop the Leaders We Need?

The message of Leadership Reckoning is that we need do a better job of developing human-centered business leaders who can meet the challenges of a disrupted world. I believe the approach in this book will also achieve the goal of building more inclusive organizational cultures in which all employees can thrive, regardless of their variations.

Leadership Reckoning

By Thomas Kolditz, Libby Gill, Ryan P. Brown

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leadership Reckoning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its inception, higher education in the U.S. has claimed to develop leaders. This bold claim appears in college mission statements and mottos, and it is reinforced in recruiting materials and ad campaigns. But is this claim justified? Leadership Reckoning takes to task American colleges and universities for their haphazard, incoherent, evidence-free approaches to developing students as leaders and offers a principle-driven, outcome-oriented blueprint for how effective leader development can occur. Higher education has both the opportunity and the responsibility to take leader development seriously and create the leaders we need. It's high time that happens, and Leadership Reckoning points…


Gender and Higher Education in the Progressive Era

By Lynn D. Gordon,

Book cover of Gender and Higher Education in the Progressive Era

Gordon looks at the second generation of women to attend college, 1890-1920, with a spotlight on two large universities (University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago), one elite women’s college (Vassar) and two smaller southern colleges for women, Agnes Scott, near Atlanta, and Sophie Newcomb, affiliated with Tulane. The book’s comparative focus enables the reader to assess different types of institutions and to contrast women’s experiences in several academic settings, each with its own history and complexities.

Gender and Higher Education in the Progressive Era

By Lynn D. Gordon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gender and Higher Education in the Progressive Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Studying the second generation of women to attend college, this book examines the relationship between gender, higher education, and American society from 1890 to 1920. Gordon draws on college yearbooks, literary magazines and newspapers to analyze the dynamics of campus life.

Radicalizing the Ebony Tower

By Joy Ann Williamson-Lott,

Book cover of Radicalizing the Ebony Tower: Black Colleges and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi

Joy Williamson-Lott has a powerful voice and perspective the permeates every sentence in this book. She doesn’t waste a word. And, her research skills are superb. For anyone wanting to learn how to write beautiful history, this book is a model. She is also particularly good at showcasing the voices of African American students who were instrumental to the Black freedom struggle. You can feel their energy and frustration in her passages, and their commitment to freedom and justice comes alive.

Radicalizing the Ebony Tower

By Joy Ann Williamson-Lott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Radicalizing the Ebony Tower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a profoundly moving story of Black colleges in Mississippi during a watershed moment in their history. It is also the story of young Americans trying to balance their pursuit of higher education with the parallel struggle for civil rights. ""Radicalizing the Ebony Tower"" examines colleges against the backdrop of the black freedom struggle of the middle twentieth century, a highly contentious conflict between state agents determined to protect the racial hierarchy and activists equally determined to cripple white supremacy. Activists demanded that colleges play a central role in the Civil Rights Movement (a distinct challenge to the notion…

Permanent Crisis

By Paul Reitter, Chad Wellmon,

Book cover of Permanent Crisis: The Humanities in a Disenchanted Age

In a sense, Reitter and Wellmon’s book is an extended answer to Celenza’s question. It convincingly shows that there is nothing new about our perception of the humanities having reached a point of “crisis.” Ever since the nineteenth century, humanities scholars have been taking on defense postures. Moreover, in these defenses, they have often presented humanities education as a remedy to various other crises – be it a crisis of morality in a technological age or a crisis of democracy in a neoliberal era. But should we continue to play this card? Reitter and Wellmon don’t believe that the humanities should teach moral values. Rightly, I think, they prefer to see the humanities as a space for second-order reflection on “possible meaningful forms of life for this world.”

Permanent Crisis

By Paul Reitter, Chad Wellmon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Permanent Crisis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leads scholars and anyone who cares about the humanities into more effectively analyzing the fate of the humanities and digging into the very idea of the humanities as a way to find meaning and coherence in the world.

The humanities, considered by many as irrelevant for modern careers and hopelessly devoid of funding, seem to be in a perpetual state of crisis, at the mercy of modernizing and technological forces that are driving universities towards academic pursuits that pull in grant money and direct students to lucrative careers. But as Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon show, this crisis isn't new-in…


Higher Education Accessibility Behind and Beyond Prison Walls

By Dani V. McMay (editor), Rebekah D. Kimble (editor),

Book cover of Higher Education Accessibility Behind and Beyond Prison Walls

McMay and Kimble’s edited volume brings together a wide range of case studies looking at some form of higher education behind bars. Meant to showcase many different forms of higher education in prison, this book underscores the diversity of what higher education in prison can look like. In each case study, strengths and challenges of a given approach are visible and provide an honest look at how to support learners in a range of circumstances.

*Disclaimer—I have a chapter in this volume.

Higher Education Accessibility Behind and Beyond Prison Walls

By Dani V. McMay (editor), Rebekah D. Kimble (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Higher Education Accessibility Behind and Beyond Prison Walls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Numerous studies indicate that completing a college degree reduces an individual's likelihood of recidivating. However, there is little research available to inform best practices for running college programs inside jails or prisons or supporting returning citizens who want to complete a college degree. Higher Education Accessibility Behind and Beyond Prison Walls examines program development and pedagogical techniques in the area of higher education for students who are currently incarcerated or completing a degree post-incarceration. Drawing on the experiences of program administrators and professors from across the country, it offers best practices for (1) developing, running, and teaching in college programs…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in higher education, political correctness, and identity politics?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about higher education, political correctness, and identity politics.

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