Mar 08, 2021
In Defense of a Liberal Education
Posted by Fareed Zakaria

The liberal arts are under attack The governors of Florida, Texas, and North Carolina have all pledged that they will not spend taxpayer money subsidizing the liberal arts, and they seem to have an unlikely ally in President Obama While at a General Electric plant in early 2014, Obama remarked, I promise you, folks can make a lot , potentially, with skilled manufactThe liberal arts are under attack The governors of Florida, Texas, and North Carolina have all pledged that they will not spend taxpayer money subsidizing the liberal arts, and they seem to have an unlikely ally in President Obama While at a General Electric plant in early 2014, Obama remarked, I promise you, folks can make a lot , potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree These messages are hitting home majors like English and history, once very popular and highly respected, are in steep decline I get it, writes Fareed Zakaria, recalling the atmosphere in India where he grew up, which was even obsessed with getting a skills based education However, the CNN host and best selling author explains why this widely held view is mistaken and shortsighted.Zakaria eloquently expounds on the virtues of a liberal arts education how to write clearly, how to express yourself convincingly, and how to think analytically He turns our leaders vocational argument on its head American routine manufacturing jobs continue to get automated or outsourced, and specific vocational knowledge is often outdated within a few years Engineering is a great profession, but key value added skills you will also need are creativity, lateral thinking, design, communication, storytelling, and, than anything, the ability to continually learn and enjoy learning precisely the gifts of a liberal

  • Title: In Defense of a Liberal Education
  • Author: Fareed Zakaria
  • ISBN: 9780393352344
  • Page: 195
  • Format: Paperback
  • In Defense of a Liberal Education The liberal arts are under attack The governors of Florida Texas and North Carolina have all pledged that they will not spend taxpayer money subsidizing the liberal arts and they seem to have an un

    HBalikov

    This isn t a long read or a difficult read but I found myself lingering over various parts of Zakaria s arguments concerning the value of the liberal arts and the liberal education.There are several elements to this book and they are not always handled separately and distinctly.First there is Zakaria s own educational biography, or how he came from India to study in the USA.There is enough included to allow us to think about all the other foreign students that have found our higher education att [...]


    Bruce

    Fareed Zakaria has written this very short book in support of a liberal education, ie a college education inclusive of humanities, arts, mathematics and science, and not specifically vocationally or skill oriented.I have long strongly supported the idea of a liberal education Such an education serves at least three functions, and I deliberately list these in no particular order 1 It forms the basis for an informed citizenry, without which a democracy cannot endure In order to be an informed citi [...]


    Chuck

    If you are going to read just a single book about liberal arts education, this is the most approachable This is a pithy little contribution to the list of books endorsing liberal arts education Zakaria is an interesting non university voice in the conversation The internationalism of his experience adds another dimension It s not quite as intellectual a book as some of the others on liberal arts education Nussbaum, Roth, etc , but it s worth two and a half hours of your time.


    Laura Leaney

    A short, lucid book that articulates Zakaria s thoughts on the significance of a liberal education This is not liberal as in politically left and squishy of thought, but liberal in the sense of the Yale report he quotes the essence of a liberal education is not to teach that which is peculiar to any one of the professions but to lay the foundation which is common to them all There is nothing in the book to disagree with Studying subjects such as literature, history, and philosophy will make you [...]


    Joe Robles

    I remember watching Jon Stewart interview Marco Rubio and Rubio was arguing for sensible education Words to the effect of, Do we need Greek History majors The argument is that people shouldn t go to college for knowledge, but to acquire a marketable skill The insistence is on learning a trade of some sort I come from a poor family, but I went to college primarily to learn something All my life I dreamed of learning for learning sake Not taking classes where I had to fill out some stupid workshe [...]


    Dawn

    I listened to this audio while I was hauling branches and schlepping fronds the day after Hurricane Irma And, as expected, it was a big case of preaching to the choir I believe that my liberal education was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and am very grateful that I was educated at a time in this country when it was still the norm Fareed Zakaria


    Eden

    This book happened to be on my list at the right time I was an English major and so far have not gone on to pursue a Masters because there isn t anything I m passionate enough about where I know I would start it and complete it After yet another job rejection, I was feeling really down and wished I had gone to a different school or had majored in something else, but Fareed Zakaria and this informative book made me realize I have plenty of skills to succeed in the world, even if the job search is [...]


    Kat

    I ardently support this book s thesis But if one goal of a liberal education is to think for yourself, then it seems fair that I take a critical stance The book contains many interesting examples I especially liked the one about art history improving observation skills among medical students , but also a ton of anecdotes and digressions that don t address the key questions that would ve really made its argument compelling Questions like what is a liberal education What are the issues of our age [...]


    Steve Peifer

    In which a son of privilege explains why liberal education is important while ignoring that because of the huge costs associated with higher education the middle class and poor are virtually forced to be practical to survive If you love irony, he quotes this in his book without any sense of self awareness The education system is an increasingly powerful mechanism for the intergenerational reproduction of privilege.


    LauraW

    I think this book has some good points, but they didn t seem to be clearly presented for me, at least One member of our book group agreed with me another one completely disagreed the rest were somewhere in between I grew up in an education oriented home My mother was a teacher my father was a member of first the local school board and later the county school board Together they helped found a statewide association for gifted children Education through college was expected and achieved for all fo [...]


    Jane Dugger

    I began this short book with the intention of not liking it and disagreeing with the premise However, I found myself nodding my head at different things and thinking perhaps it isn t so bad a Liberal Education I guess what I really absorbed is the point of a liberal education is to teach one how to think And of course I am a huge fan of thinking But also a liberal education is a way to make society cohesive think of the One City, One Book programs ten or so years ago In a society where we ideal [...]


    John Kaufmann

    Hurray When I went through school in the 1960s, a liberal education was still on the agenda However, I thought it lost its currency over the last few decades with the push toward job skills I was delighted to see Fareed Zakaria resurrect the concept I am a fan, and I hope it regains some of its traction Not that I agree 100% with Zakaria s prescriptions, but I wholeheartedly support the basic concept and the direction in which he points.Zakaria begins with a discussion of his educational upbring [...]


    Stan Skrabut

    When Bernadette, my wife, returned from a trip to the Netherlands, she brought me a wonderful gift a book She was confident I would enjoy it because it focused on education This book was In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria Having just finished reading it, I found it quite interesting, especially as I related it to our current times As I write this, a professor was removed from a plane because he was doing math, and the woman who reported him did not understand what he was doing a [...]


    Brady Clemens

    Zakaria brings forward a spirited defense of the liberal education in this short but wide ranging book Not only does he discuss the value that a liberal education provides, but he also brings in the history of U.S education and how it contrasts with other parts of the world Certainly much of his defense of liberal education is viewed through the lens of its usefulness for jobs and corporations, but for anyone who regularly reads or watches Fareed Zakaria, this won t come as a surprise foreign po [...]


    Cindy Rollins

    A Short, interesting treatise on the liberal arts This book approached a subject that is dear to my heart from a completely different angle than what I am usually interested in but, in turn, this gave me new things to think about I liked his hopeful attitude towards the future and his understanding of the downfalls of cultures obsessed with assessment He had a unique perspective on America s dismal showing in educational rankings which sounded plausible.This is not a Christian look at the libera [...]


    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    3 STARSFareed Zakaria lays out the reason why a Liberal education is still important in the United States even though the President is encouraging high school grads towards trades This was a very short book so while the points were outlined the reason is sometimes too brief It might be just me but it seems like he takes it for granted that the reader is from the States and does not explain some things.


    David Quinn

    The word liberal in the title refers to a post secondary liberal arts education not some sort of political or social philosophy.Zakaria presents an anodyne, compact and generic argument in favor of a liberal arts education I m inclined to believe most, not all, college students are better served by a liberal arts education so while I was a willing reader I didn t find this book particularly compelling It won t drive anyone away from the liberal arts but I don t see it converting many doubters ei [...]


    Blake Gilmore

    Zakaria doesn t spend as much time truly defending a liberal education as he does talking about what it is and its history I d have preferred of a stronger defense.


    Lukasz Pruski

    the central value of a liberal education is that it teaches you how to write, and writing makes you think Whatever you do in life, the ability to write clearly, cleanly, and reasonably quickly will prove to be an invaluable skill It so happens that the topic of my 100th reviewed book this year is exceptionally close to me for professional reasons Since for almost 35 years I have been teaching in the area of STEM science, technology, engineering, mathematics disciplines in a fine liberal arts col [...]


    Ben Salkowe

    Realizing that one of my favorite thinkers had written a book on one of my favorite topics was one of the highlights of my week in reading Having a long car ride to listen to it and reflect on the history and future of the liberal arts has me all fired up for the work I do as a principal of a college prep school Zakaria argues a powerful intellectual defense of the liberal arts in an increasingly specialized and technical world, and charges us with protecting and reimagining this form of educati [...]


    Daniel Kukwa

    Mr Zakaria goes on a bit too long for my taste regarding on line learning and big data, and the conclusion feels a tad abrupt But the rest of the author s argument on the value of a liberal arts education is a first rate soliloquy to the ears of this history civics teacher.


    Laura

    Whatever job you take, the specific subjects you studied in college will probably prove somewhat irrelevant to the day to day work you will do soon after you graduate And even if they are relevant, that will change People who learned to write code for computers just ten years ago now confront a new world of apps and mobile devices What remain constant are the skills you acquire and the methods you learn to approach problems Given how quickly industries and professions are evolving these days, yo [...]


    Max Stone

    So one problem with the Challenge is that it makes one drawn to short books, because of course one wants to meet or exceed a challenge And my current pet theory is that many books in the 150 200 page range are really meant to be 50 page essays, but there s no market for 50 pages essays Too long for a magazine, and too short to charge 10 20 for as a book So they end up as 150 200 page books with kinda small pages and big fonts and quite a few digressions or histories than would be ideal.In Defe [...]


    Chris Brimmer

    I liked this book a lot I got to revel in confirmation bias, as a former philosophy and theology major I got all the strokes I could ever want out of it That said, was it a good book or just a good fix Zakaria makes his case in lucid and well cited arguments His plea that the ability to analyse what one reads and how to logically think about what one is told is essential for the health of democracy has special resonance right now That a liberal arts education broadens the point of view of anyone [...]


    Colleen

    I was fortunate enough to be able to obtain a Masters in Liberal Arts while working full time Many times I was asked what are you going to do with it or why didn t you get a MBA and was tired of having to explain that the getting of the degree wasn t the point the courses and the topics they covered were the point The offerings were fascinating I work in corporate America, yet was taking classes on illuminated manuscripts, Greek philosophy, military intelligence in WWII, science fiction film, Ar [...]


    Kathleen

    An enlightening, entertaining, short but powerful argument for the role of humanities and other liberal arts in a balanced college curriculum The chapter on MOOCs seemed a bit off topic The humanities are a tough sell today, but unless we are willing to convert our colleges into vocational schools, the humanities must be embraced and valued as vehicles for imparting not merely information, but skills like critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving Studying the humanities also help students [...]


    Lauren

    I have so missed reading something by Fareed Zakaria it s been years This book was an absolute joy to read It was well researched and its arguments backed soundly I m not quite as bullish about the MOOCs as he is, but he made a good case for his opinions I do wish that there were footnotes that could point you over to the relevant endnotes at the end because I would have read them that way When there are endnotes without anything at the relevant part telling me to read them, I almost always miss [...]


    Andrew

    A little better than meh.The beginning to this is great A rousing defense of the liberal arts from the author s personal enchantment with them to a potted history of their teaching through the ages Makes me proud to have multiple liberal arts degrees.But the rest of it, though written well, is tired territory The liberal arts as teaching you how to be a learner in the knowledge economy The liberal arts to be saved through the application of technology The liberal arts as the future.Just waiting [...]


    Cindy

    Nothing really new to the argument between vocational education and a liberal education but well stated and fairly concise I believe American society has become so polarized that when the word liberal is heard, many minds turn to a political philosophy position Zakaria asks us to remember liberal has its roots in the Latin word relating to freedom The education system set in place in the US was intended to produce citizens who could maintain their freedom and make choices in their lives based on [...]


    E.W.

    As someone with two degrees in subjects that aren t related to most of the jobs I ve ever had, Zakaria s premise rings true Over the years I have repeatedly said, What I learned in college was how to learn The variety of, and seemingly unrelated, things I studied have provided me with a base of knowledge that allows me to approach problems with lateral thinking As Zakaria points out, this is not a path that everyone should take, but generally, a liberal education is an essential component of wha [...]



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