The Coddling of the American Mind

Written on March 3, 2020. Written by .

I didn’t really learn much new from reading this book; just reading the summary online covered most of the points, and I expected this, but I decided to read it anyways because I became more interested in the topic and wanted to use the book as a way to help me ponder it a bit and it worked well for that. One thing I was wondering was if you could identify a single primary causal factor for the issues we see in Gen Z. I still think smartphones and social media might be the biggest factor explaining the sudden change, but the book helped convince me that there are several important factors including less unsupervised play time, increased safety-ism by parents and governments, increased competitiveness and stress around getting into a good college, increased political polarization (possibly related to social media), and lots of social issues in the news. If you had to summarize it in a single causal factor, you’d have to say something like their upbringing is more unnatural, which is so general as to be pretty unhelpful in understanding what’s happening.

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