Excellent Sheep

  • by William Deresiewicz
  • Narrated by Mel Foster
  • 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
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 and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path. He addresses parents, students, educators, and anyone who's interested in the direction of American society, featuring quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and clearly presenting solutions.


What the Critics Say

"An urgent summons to a long-overdue debate over what universities do and how they do it." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Important, but oh so boring.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I tried to read it, then to force myself to listen to it while driving.
It was excruciating. Silence reigned.

What does Mel Foster bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mel was fine.

Was Excellent Sheep worth the listening time?

Sadly, I couldn't do it. The information is important but the material is so dry.

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- LL

skip the book read the essay

What would have made Excellent Sheep better?


What could William Deresiewicz have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

avoid speculation on the decline of western civilization

How could the performance have been better?

Narrator sounded like a whiny 50's radio announcer. Detracted greatly from the experience. It's likely the author would have done a better job, otherwise, should have hired Malcom Gladwell

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Excellent Sheep?

everything but the material directly relating to the current college admissions process and state of students.

Any additional comments?

not sure which is more absurd, the concept that the ivy league admissions process is leading to the decline of western civilization, or that a decent liberal arts education will prevent it.

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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-19-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio