Excellent Sheep Summary – May 2022

Author: William Deresiewicz

Short Summary
Excellent Sheep (2014) is a book of social disapproval on the role played by elite colleges in the American community. Being an ex-professor at Yale, William Deresiewicz laments over the educational policies that are turning generations of students into those who are success hungry but have no idea about where their career is headed. They only focus on getting the best grades and doing things that can make their resumes stand out. Most of them are not sure about their passions. The broken educational system further worsens the situation by capitalizing on these young minds. Institutes only care about generating more revenue. Providing students with distinctive courses, building their personality, teaching them how to think and are not the top priorities of our education systems and policymakers. In the Excellent Sheep summary, you will find out how we are creating students who resemble a herd of sheep and not intellectuals.
excellent sheep summary
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Detailed Summary

Excellent sheep is a critique of the elite schools of the united states. It will open your eye to how we are creating an entire generation who is taught what to think and not how to think. They are constantly working day and night chasing the best grades. Our youth is addicted to success and praise and they will go to any lengths to achieve these. Instead of developing qualities and skills, they spend a good amount of their adolescent years doing only those activities that can make their resumes look good. Top scores, a few extracurricular activities

The book’s title is inspired by the famous American modernist poet Azra Pound. He said in his book ‘ABC of Reading’ that good education is only limited to those who insist on knowing. The rest is merely sheepherding. He also points out that American schools only suggest professions like medicine and finance so that they can keep these communities down and suppress the natural talents of the students that belong to the Asian and Latin communities. Excellent Sheep takes a deep dive into the rotten and troublesome educational system that is destroying generations and will most probably continue doing it.

Excellent Sheep Summary Key Points

Let’s face it. Our education system is broken. It keeps benefiting us while rotting the student’s own ability to choose think and grow. We do not produce leaders rather we produce slaves to our system. They are so brainwashed during their years of high school leading up to university admissions that they can’t even tell their minds have been enslaved. If we are being real, you and I both have been to educational institutes that taught us that having the highest grades and a strong resume is our only shot at being worthy.

Most Students are lost

excellent sheep refers to the students we produce every year at the end of term. The goal should be to produce free thinkers who seek value and lead our country. Instead, we produce students who are more like robots by sending them to colleges and universities that operate like businesses. They have only one defined goal for the thousands of students who have different capabilities. Remember when you were having a hard time picking up your majors for college and many of the people and even counselors told you to join medicine or engineering?

They were supposedly the only noble professions. The only professions with good job markets. The same experience is heightened by our author who has been part of ivy league colleges for more than two decades. He argues that the students come up to universities feeling lost and having no sense of direction. This is because deep down they are not sure about their passions.

It All Comes Down to Money

If the universities are not teaching students to think and to soul search, what are they doing? Professions that are economically more benefitting than the others are the priority of most universities. This enables them to conduct more research. More research means more funding and more money. Most universities do not care about teaching the students arts, Latin, Greek, or other life skills. They only care about generating more money and polishing their institute’s name. When lawmakers, from the president on down, discuss higher education, they only think in terms of mathematics and science.

To keep up with their competitors, students face even more burdens to score well and spend the most important years of their lives. Towards the end of each term, we have students with high CGPAs with no idea where their career is going and if they really want it. According to William Deresiewicz, this is the fault of our education system which focuses on grades and does not teach students to be self-introspective.

Excellent Sheep Quotes

“Life is more than a job; jobs are more than a paycheck, and a country is more than its wealth. Education is more than the acquisition of marketable skills, and you are more than your ability to contribute to your employer’s bottom line or the nation’s GDP, no matter what the rhetoric of politicians or executives would have you think. ― William Deresiewicz

“You want to make it to the top? There is no top. However high you climb, there is always somebody above you. Mailer wanted to be Hemingway, Hemingway wanted to be Joyce, and Joyce was painfully aware he’d never be another Shakespeare.” ― William Deresiewicz

Excellent Sheep Summary Review

The author, William Deresiewicz is witty and sarcastic but rarely dull. This is a sort of book that will not answer questions. It drives your attention towards asking important questions. It shows what the author wants more from the American educational system as an academic and as a writer.

To Whom I Would Recommend Excellent Sheep Summary

  • Every stressed freshman looking for some solid college advice.
  • To a twenty-three-year-old recent graduate confused about making big academic decisions.
  • And lastly to anyone who wants to peruse a career based on subjects other than ones related to science and mathematics.

Link: https://amzn.to/3OYjwJX