Here’s the thing: This is a really good, insightful, interesting, thoughtful book. I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Haidt. Heterodox Academy? Hells to the Yes. (Even though they won’t let me in because I’m not tenured faculty. Fie, I say. I work at a liberal arts university full time. I’ve seen the destruction first hand! But I digress.) But I’ve been reading this book for, oh, going on two years now, and I’m not even halfway through.
And to be absolutely contrary about it, I wish everyone would read it. It’s important shit. For real.
One thing that I find off-putting about it as a whole is the summary at the end of the chapter. It’s not a textbook. Now, maybe it should be a textbook, but it isn’t one. Just add a blurb in the introduction (was there an introduction? I don’t even remember, it’s been so long since I started reading this book) that says something to the effect of “Listen, just grab your favorite brand of highlighter and be prepared to light some shit up. You’ll want to refer back and also probably share this with your particularly smug, self-righteous friends.”
There is an introduction. I just checked. Problem solved. Almost.
There are some amusing anecdotes sprinkled throughout that are funny and cute and help illustrate the point nicely. If I remember correctly.
I even brought this thing to work thinking, hey, it’s like professional development or something. I can read it when shit is slow. And I did. Like three times. In the last six months.
Honestly, at this point I feel like I need to start the whole book over at page one. (Not the introduction. Most of the time I feel introductions contribute nothing of any real value to the work, though there are exceptions. Important exceptions.)
The thing is, of all of the books on the (sort of becoming embarrassingly) long list of books I can’t seem to finish, this is one of the ones I’d really like to. So maybe I will start over. With a highlighter. And come back and share some of the more interesting points with you.
But just between us? You probably shouldn’t hold your breath.
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