You Are Not Special:...And Other Encouragements

You Are Not Special:...And Other Encouragements

by David McCullough Jr.


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A profound expansion of David McCullough, Jr.'s popular commencement speech—a call to arms against a prevailing, narrow, conception of success viewed by millions on YouTube—You Are (Not) Special is a love letter to students and parents as well as a guide to a truly fulfilling, happy life.

Children today, says David McCullough—high school English teacher, father of four, and son and namesake of the famous historian—are being encouraged to sacrifice passionate engagement with life for specious notions of success. The intense pressure to excel discourages kids from taking chances, failing, and learning empathy and self-confidence from those failures.

In You Are (Not) Special, McCullough elaborates on his now-famous speech exploring how, for what purpose, and for whose sake, we're raising our kids. With wry, affectionate humor, McCullough takes on hovering parents, ineffectual schools, professional college prep, electronic distractions, club sports, and generally the manifestations, and the applications and consequences of privilege. By acknowledging that the world is indifferent to them, McCullough takes pressure off of students to be extraordinary achievers and instead exhorts them to roll up their sleeves and do something useful with their advantages.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594600299
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/22/2014
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David McCullough, Jr. taught for sixteen years at Punahou School in Honolulu and has been teaching at Wellesley High School near Boston since 2002. He lives with his wife and four children in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

1 Mums and Dads 1

2 Know Thyself 37

3 The Theory and Practice of School 69

4 Look at Your Fish 109

5 The Old College Try 141

6 Rah, Rah 175

7 Do We Not Bleed? 209

8 Getting and Spending 231

9 The Same Boat 251

10 So Live 283

Afterword 303

Acknowledgments 315

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