New York Times Best Selling Author, William Deresiewicz will take a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to "practical" subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path. He addresses parents, students, educators, and anyone who's interested in the direction of American society—featuring stories from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years—candidly exposing where the system is broken and clearly presenting solutions.
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William Deresiewicz is a contributing writer for The Nation and contributing editor for The New Republic and The American Scholar. He speaks regularly on the state of education in America at schools and leadership conferences across the country to enormous interest and acclaim. An associate professor of English at Yale until 2008, he is the author of the highly acclaimed book, A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, which has been optioned for development as a television series. Spurred by the reaction to his landmark essays “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education” and “Solitude and Leadership,” Excellent Sheep takes a look at the culture of competition and fear in the elite education admissions system, and how young people are having difficulty finding a sense of inner purpose. But they can find their way to a meaningful life, argues Deresiewicz- if we re-focus higher education on the development of self.