Summary of Excellent Sheep
From Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz. Copyright © 2014 by William Deresiewicz. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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Author William Deresiewicz grew up in a household that valued education, science, the Ivy League and a brilliant career. He became a professor at Yale University while still in his 30s (he later quit to become a writer). His fierce indictment of elite colleges, overbearing parents and driven students comes from firsthand experience. Deresiewicz portrays a system of higher education in which top colleges pursue only money and prestige, parents push children mercilessly – largely to bolster their own self-worth – and students (the titular sheep) care only about the obscene salaries they’ll command on graduation. However, these are not opinions to take literally. Reflect instead on Deresiewicz’s message; he is passionate and pushes his arguments to the extreme. He speaks to the rule, not the many exceptions. With that caveat, getAbstract recommends his call for better values and real learning to parents, students, employers, professors and those governed by his educated herd.
In this summary, you will learn
- How and why elite colleges produce smart clones rather than educated citizens;
- How parents, teachers, figures of authority and students perpetuate a perverse post-secondary education system; and
- How to gain a real education in college.
About the Author
William Deresiewicz quit his Yale professorship to pursue his passion – writing. He speaks widely and writes on a variety of topics, including education.