High Price

  • by Carl Hart
  • Narrated by J. D. Jackson
  • 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A pioneering neuroscientist shares his story of growing up in one of Miami's toughest neighborhoods and how it led him to his groundbreaking work in drug addiction.
As a youth, Carl Hart didn't realize the value of school; he studied just enough to stay on the basketball team. At the same time, he was immersed in street life. Today he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist - Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences - whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.
In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, he recalls his journey of self-discovery and weaves his past and present. Hart goes beyond the hype of the antidrug movement as he examines the relationship among drugs, pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing.
Though Hart escaped neighborhoods that were dominated by entrenched poverty and the knot of problems associated with it, he has not turned his back on his roots. Determined to make a difference, he tirelessly applies his scientific research to help save real lives. But balancing his former street life with his achievements today has not been easy - a struggle he reflects on publicly for the first time.
A powerful story of hope and change, of a scientist who has dedicated his life to helping others, High Price will alter the way we think about poverty, race, and addiction - and how we can effect change.


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High Price by Carl Hart is one of the very best audio books I have listened to in the last year. As a reader, I am always intrigued by how others become successful. Given that Dr. Hart grows up in a broken home with minimal positive supports in Carol City Miami exposed to violence and frequent drug use only makes his journey to a tenured professorship at Columbia University more captivating.

Dr. Hart is able to pinpoint the key behavioral moments and environmental conditions that permitted him to move toward the next opportunity. As you are reading High Price, you may say to yourself "How does this guy eventually become a tenured Columbia professor ?" Dr. Hart conveys his incredible journey in a manner that keeps the reader/listener fully engaged and locked in.

High Price is not only about the Carl Hart story. Instead Dr. Hart educates the reader/listener about the history of drug enforcement, drug addiction, the chemical structure of illegal drugs, and the racism disguised as the war on drugs. Dr. Hart challenges the basic assumption many Americans have about street drugs that is propagated by the media, drug associations, and politicians. He also exposes the reader to peer reviewed research that refutes many of our long-standing and commonly held assumptions about drug use in inner city America.

Finally, the strongest part of High Praise is Dr. Hart's explanations of human behavior based on the science of behaviorism as espoused by BF Skinner. Dr. Hart does not rely on the verbal musings and explanatory motivations that drive behavior. Instead, Dr. Hart explains the challenging behaviors of others by examining their environments and their lacking repertoire of functional life skills.

Overall, High Praise is a great book!

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- DaWoolf "I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book."

A Different Perspective on Drugs and Racism

Dr. Carl Hart grew up in South Florida, maintained a 2.0 academic average in high school so he could play sports, and managed to avoid brushes with the law, unlike many of his peers. He took an armed-forces aptitude test just to get out of class that day, and he did well enough for the army and air force to try to enlist him. Going into the air force changed his life by expanding his horizons, and he went on to become a tenured professor at Columbia. How could this not be an interesting book?!

Hart believes that the War on Drugs is a policy based in racism and pharmacological ignorance. The laws and enforcement thereof are so heavily weighted against the black community, they are destroying the chance of success in life for generations of young men. The social ills and crime blamed on drugs, he says, existed well before drugs became ubiquitous. His scientific research on addiction and the statistics he relates also show the public's lack of knowledge.

This was a fascinating, thought-provoking book on many levels. I learned a lot.

As for the narrator, I'm glad the decision-makers chose a black man to read the book. My only objection was that he read too slowly and without enough emotion. No matter what he was saying, it was all delivered at the same measured pace.
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- laurie "I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-17-2013
  • Publisher: HarperAudio