A groundbreaking manifesto about what our nation’s top schools should be—but aren’t—providing: “The ex-Yale professor effectively skewers elite colleges, their brainy but soulless students (those ‘sheep’), pushy parents, and admissions mayhem” (People).

As a professor at Yale, William Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively and how to find a sense of purpose. Now he argues that elite colleges are turning out conformists without a compass.

Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics, students are losing the ability to think independently. It is essential, says Deresiewicz, that college be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success in order to forge their own paths. He features quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and offering clear solutions on how to fix it.

“Excellent Sheep is likely to make…a lasting mark….He takes aim at just about the entirety of upper-middle-class life in America….Mr. Deresiewicz’s book is packed full of what he wants more of in American life: passionate weirdness” (The New York Times).
An eloquent memoir of a young man's life transformed by literature.

In A Jane Austen Education, Austen scholar William Deresiewicz turns to the author's novels to reveal the remarkable life lessons hidden within. With humor and candor, Deresiewicz employs his own experiences to demonstrate the enduring power of Austen's teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature student to a happily married man, Deresiewicz's A Jane Austen Education is the story of one man's discovery of the world outside himself.

A self-styled intellectual rebel dedicated to writers such as James Joyce and Joseph Conrad, Deresiewicz never thought Austen's novels would have anything to offer him. But when he was assigned to read Emma as a graduate student at Columbia, something extraordinary happened. Austen's devotion to the everyday, and her belief in the value of ordinary lives, ignited something in Deresiewicz. He began viewing the world through Austen's eyes and treating those around him as generously as Austen treated her characters. Along the way, Deresiewicz was amazed to discover that the people in his life developed the depth and richness of literary characters-that his own life had suddenly acquired all the fascination of a novel. His real education had finally begun.

Weaving his own story-and Austen's-around the ones her novels tell, Deresiewicz shows how her books are both about education and themselves an education. Her heroines learn about friendship and feeling, staying young and being good, and, of course, love. As they grow up, they learn lessons that are imparted to Austen's reader, who learns and grows by their sides.

A Jane Austen Education is a testament to the transformative power of literature, a celebration of Austen's mastery, and a joy to read. Whether for a newcomer to Austen or a lifelong devotee, Deresiewicz brings fresh insights to the novelist and her beloved works. Ultimately, Austen's world becomes indelibly entwined with our own, showing the relevance of her message and the triumph of her vision.

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 ★ 《紐約時報》、《新共和》、《美國學人》與中國各大媒體爭相報導
  你有想過為什麼要上大學嗎?

  難道,全球的高等教育教出來的不是有用人才,
  而只是一群優秀的綿羊,只會順從地往同一方向前進?

  教育體制就像生產工廠,我們都是受害者!
  臺灣、美國、全球都面臨相同的困境,該怎麼辦?
 
  曾任職耶魯大學的教授威廉.德雷西維茲(William Deresiewicz)
  在常春藤名校求學、工作的這些年頭,看到無數學生被教育制度綁架;
  雖然這些名校畢業生,外人看來猶如「人生勝利組」,
  實際上卻也焦慮、膽怯和迷失,茫然無主見、缺乏創新思考,甚至與社會脫節,
  就像一群優秀的綿羊,只敢順從的朝同一方向前進。

  但人生無分勝負,只要能實踐夢想,何來贏家輸家?
  因此,威廉.德雷西維茲教授寫了一封信要給20歲的自己,
  希望當年迷惘的少年,可以有人這樣指點迷津。

  這也是寫給準備考大學、正在讀大學、曾經念過大學的你,
  還有各級學校的老師、政府教育單位的官員與家長們,
  這封信探討了四大主題,讓我們思考教育到底出了什麼問題──

  1.我們為什麼會變成優秀且迷途的綿羊?
  教育體制如何局限學生的人生選項,只剩下學習與追求成功?
  元凶竟然是整個社會的價值觀!

  2.在現有的體制內,我們如何突破局限,奪回自己的人生?
  第一步,先思考為什麼要上大學?
  再來,找出方向與風險,還必須具備失敗的勇氣,該怎麼做?
  最後,成為懂得如何對權力提出質疑的真領袖,不只為了競爭力。

  3.如何拯救現有的教育體制?
  .想讓學生創新且獨立的思考,學校最好重視人文「博雅」課程
  .老師多把心思放在教學,少點研究吧!
  .破除名校排行迷思,不是名校也能有好教育,找一所會關心你的學校。

  4.為什麼教育體制會造成現在的局面?如何改善?
  .家庭、企業、政府的要求,認為成績與學歷代表一切。
  .改變入學條件、降低學費、改善經費來源......教育體制就能全盤改變。

  如果你不願當一隻優秀的綿羊,想活出不悔的人生,必讀本書!
An eloquent memoir of a young man's life transformed by literature.

In A Jane Austen Education, Austen scholar William Deresiewicz turns to the author's novels to reveal the remarkable life lessons hidden within. With humor and candor, Deresiewicz employs his own experiences to demonstrate the enduring power of Austen's teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature student to a happily married man, Deresiewicz's A Jane Austen Education is the story of one man's discovery of the world outside himself.

A self-styled intellectual rebel dedicated to writers such as James Joyce and Joseph Conrad, Deresiewicz never thought Austen's novels would have anything to offer him. But when he was assigned to read Emma as a graduate student at Columbia, something extraordinary happened. Austen's devotion to the everyday, and her belief in the value of ordinary lives, ignited something in Deresiewicz. He began viewing the world through Austen's eyes and treating those around him as generously as Austen treated her characters. Along the way, Deresiewicz was amazed to discover that the people in his life developed the depth and richness of literary characters-that his own life had suddenly acquired all the fascination of a novel. His real education had finally begun.

Weaving his own story-and Austen's-around the ones her novels tell, Deresiewicz shows how her books are both about education and themselves an education. Her heroines learn about friendship and feeling, staying young and being good, and, of course, love. As they grow up, they learn lessons that are imparted to Austen's reader, who learns and grows by their sides.

A Jane Austen Education is a testament to the transformative power of literature, a celebration of Austen's mastery, and a joy to read. Whether for a newcomer to Austen or a lifelong devotee, Deresiewicz brings fresh insights to the novelist and her beloved works. Ultimately, Austen's world becomes indelibly entwined with our own, showing the relevance of her message and the triumph of her vision.

Watch a Video

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