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

Jonathan Heidt’s The Righteous Mind has been one of my favorite reads for the past couple years, and so I was excited to read this one, specifically analyzing the shift towards several philosophies and thought patterns that produce fragile people. This shift starting in academia, but now extending to wider American culture. It’s characterized by a belief in these false ideas:

  • What doesn't kill you makes you weaker
  • Always trust your feelings
  • Life is a battle between good people and evil people

The Coddling looks closely at how we got here, and why these 3 beliefs go against how we know our psychology works. Overall, it is fairly measured, even though it’s explicitly critical of how several social justice causes are advocated for currently.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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