10 books like The Coddling of the American Mind

By Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt,

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

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Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert,

Book cover of Stumbling on Happiness

This book argues that humans do not know what makes them happy because we inaccurately perceive our unconscious emotional states. Gilbert makes the case that we consistently habituate to our circumstances and our happiness bounces around a genetically-drive set point. Over our lives, we stumble toward accepting that to thrive, we must seek out small moments of wonder and surprise. This book directly inspired my research on the neuroscience of happiness. My research extended Gilbert's book by showing that peak immersion experiences not only make us happy in the moment, but can train our brains to experience greater happiness throughout our lives.  

Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Stumbling on Happiness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bringing to life scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, this bestselling book reveals what scientists have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future, and about our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there. 

• Why are lovers quicker to forgive their partners for infidelity than for leaving dirty dishes in the sink?

• Why will sighted people pay more to avoid going blind than blind people will pay to regain their sight?

• Why do dining companions insist on ordering different meals instead of getting what they…

Amusing Ourselves to Death

By Neil Postman,

Book cover of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

When Neil Postman wrote this book in 1985, few realized how brilliantly it would predict our present media-saturated times. Postman foresaw how the blurring of news and entertainment would eventually turn politics into theater; how the allure of quick and sensational news bites would diminish our ability to focus on serious, sustained issues; how glitzy if appealing entertainments would shrink our attention spans; and, most dangerous of all, how the immersion in “amusements,” a seemingly benign and enjoyable process, would have dire consequences for human happiness, well-being, education, journalism, and politics. We highly recommend this book because navigating the road to the good life means knowing when and how to control our amusements instead of letting them control us.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

By Neil Postman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amusing Ourselves to Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

"It's unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” -CNN

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell…

Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson,

Book cover of Life After Life

This story is about an upper-middle-class English family who is caught up in the events of WW2. The domestic details are fascinating including the kinds of puddings served. (I love puddings). Where this story differs is that Ursula, the heroine, has to keep reliving parts of her life until she ‘gets it right’. I could not stop thinking about Ursula for a long time. I was so impressed by how the story did not follow any normal pattern but demonstrated the power and flexibility wielded by the author. Kate Atkinson also attached a Pinterest page to her website. The visuals made a huge impact upon me so I added a Pinterest page to my stories.  

Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…

The New Rules of Marriage

By Terrence Real,

Book cover of The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work

I picked up this book about 12 years ago. Being a psychotherapist I love, love learning. I love attending workshops (pre-covid) and learning new ways of thinking. New ways of looking at issues. New ways to look at how we get stuck in our relationships and life. Reading this book gave me tools that have transformed my therapy practice and how I work with couples. How I interact with my husband, my sons, and my close friends. It helped me by giving me insight into who I want to be in a relationship and it gave me self-worth as well. I have all the couples I work with read this book and it speeds along our therapy work. 

The New Rules of Marriage

By Terrence Real,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The New Rules of Marriage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his extraordinary new book, Terrence Real, distinguished therapist and bestselling author, presents a long overdue message that women need to hear: You aren’t crazy–you’re right!

Women have changed in the last twenty-five years–they have become powerful, independent, self-confident, and happy. Yet many men remain irresponsible and emotionally detached. They don’t know how to respond to frustrated partners who just want their mates to show up and grow up.

Enter the good news: In this revolutionary book, Real shows women how to master the new rules of twenty-first-century marriage by offering them a set of effective tools with which they…

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 Breakdown of Higher Education

By John M. Ellis,

Book cover of The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done

Ellis chronicles the history of how the university turned from an institution of open inquiry into a political monoculture that requires those in it to adhere to a particular ideology. Ellis is particularly good at showing how the strengths of the traditional university were turned into weaknesses and allowed it to be captured by the adherents of identity politics. Old-style independent scholars are hard to organize, Ellis points out, because they are just that—independent. But these truly independent scholars were no match for the politically organized groups that wanted to use the university to advance a political agenda.

The Breakdown of Higher Education

By John M. Ellis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Breakdown of Higher Education as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A series of near-riots on campuses aimed at silencing guest speakers has exposed the fact that our universities are no longer devoted to the free exchange of ideas in pursuit of truth. But this hostility to free speech is only a symptom of a deeper problem, writes John Ellis.

Having watched the deterioration of academia up close for the past fifty years, Ellis locates the core of the problem in a change in the composition of the faculty during this time, from mildly left-leaning to almost exclusively leftist. He explains how astonishing historical luck led to the success of a…

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.…

The Art of Impossible

By Steven Kotler,

Book cover of The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer

I am recommending this book, The Art of Impossible, because it creates a deep thinking of “what do I stand for? Where am I going? And How do I get there?” It has science, spirituality, and self-awareness in one place. 

I loved this book so much I went to the store and bought every copy and gave it out to friends and family. When I would read it I felt empowered to think deeply and look at my life with new insight. I was reading this book during the start of covid. It helped me stay focused. Stay engaged in my life path and learn tools on how to stay focused.

The Art of Impossible

By Steven Kotler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller

Bestselling author and peak performance expert Steven Kotler decodes the secrets of those elite performers-athletes, artists, scientists, CEOs and more-who have changed our definition of the possible, teaching us how we too can stretch far beyond our capabilities, making impossible dreams much more attainable for all of us.


What does it take to accomplish the impossible? What does it take to shatter our limitations, exceed our expectations, and turn our biggest dreams into our most recent achievements?

We are capable of so much more than we know-that's the message at the core of The Art of…


Getting the Love You Want

By Harville Hendrix, Helen Lakelly Hunt,

Book cover of Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

Just as daughters of narcissistic mothers need to proactively and consciously learn parenting, we need to learn about healthy personal relationships, especially within our primary love relationship, and this book is awesome for providing exactly that. It draws a direct line between our childhood wounds on the one hand, and what we seek in a romantic partner on the other, and the way we subconsciously choose a romantic partner in the hopes that they will heal the childhood wounds. And of course this never works, and this book shares how to avoid that and how to create healthy relationships that supersede this dynamic.

Getting the Love You Want

By Harville Hendrix, Helen Lakelly Hunt,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Getting the Love You Want as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Getting the Love You Want, Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen Hunt offer the relationship skills that have helped millions of couples replace confrontation and criticism with a process of mutual support that facilitates healing and growth at any stage of a relationship. This extraordinary practical guide describes the revolutionary technique that combines a number of disciplines - including the behavioural sciences, depth psychology, social learning theory, Gestalt therapy, and interpersonal neurosciences, among others - to create a program that transforms conflict into creative tension that deepens connection and renews passion.

In a new forward and chapter, Hendrix and…

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