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In Defense of a Liberal Education 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The obvious target audience is students and their parents, and in fact the book grew out of a commencement speech he gave a while back. But it's one of those plain, wise talks that sticks with you, because it says important things well. Why do I say it's his most important book? because what he's really doing is explaining how he developed the mental tools to write his other books, and offer the commentary that he does every week on his show, in his column, and in his talks.Read more ›
I know from personal experience how critical these "liberal arts" skills are. I work in a "techie" field, with lots of smart people who graduated from fine universities. They are VERY smart and VERY capable. I have discovered, however, that nearly 100% of my bright colleagues can neither write well or present themselves well. Their technical degrees did in fact, lead to well-paying jobs, but with a very narrow focus. So narrow, in fact, that hardly anyone can write a short "white paper."
I have sadly found that the stereotype of the socially-challenged engineer is often true. (A clerk at an office products store once asked me, "Are you an engineer?" When I answered "Yes," she fell down laughing.)
Fareed presents a nice overview of American collegiate education, even discussing the "Great Books" program of John Erskine and Mortimer Adler. He explains why American colleges have abandoned this form of learning, in pursuit of more vocational skills. The emphasis has shifted to those majors that promise immediate, high-paying jobs, based on a particular (and narrow) job qualification.
All in all, IN DEFENSE OF A LIBERAL EDUCATION is an insightful read.Read more ›
Mr. Zakaria makes a strong case that in America’s rush to be in the top tier in international scientific and mathematical test competitions, she may be throwing away what has always been among her greatest strengths: her creativity and dynamism. He maintains that America’s liberal arts curricula in its colleges and universities have been a strong ingredient in nurturing these strengths. Paradoxically, this demotion of the liberal arts seems to be occurring just at the time that other countries seek to emulate our strengths in these areas. The book hints that perhaps 21st century America can learn something from 19th and 20th century America in this regard.
He mentions that over the past 40+ years America has never done particularly well in international test comparisons and nevertheless has been one of the most innovative countries that the world has ever seen during that time. He further remarks that Sweden & Israel also recognized for their innovative spirit, have in general never done particularly well in international tests comparisons either.
Yet at the same time, Zakaria doesn’t marginalize America’s efforts to improve its standing in such comparisons nor its initiatives to improve the number of students choosing a STEM track. Rather he argues for compromise and caution, in stating that a liberal arts education is important too.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fareed Zakaria is a brilliant and knowledgeable writer and thinker. I ordered his book to learn how to effectively persuade my very bright granddaughter to consider a four year... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Claudia Shuster
A fast and informative read. I never felt bored reading it. I haven't read too much about the stuff in here like the history of education so it was all new to me. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Thomas Kolodziejczak
This 'book' (more of a pamphlet really) had its origins as a commencement speech at Sarah Lawrence College and as such, adopts the hopeful tone common to such addresses. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Ashvaghosha
This is a fascinating review of why youth should seek education for learning's sake rather than to get a particular job. Read morePublished 1 month ago by dmom
So, yes, it's hard to argue with the premise. The case for the power and value of a liberal education is made cogently throughout the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by sioraf
The book is very informative, but in a very readable, personable way. It was a good introduction to the subject and inspired me to go on to another, more in-depth book about... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ari
who would have thought that a well respected journalist would feel it necessary to speak out for a non tech education? this is an excellent book well developed & thorough. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Merville Cratte