• The Cult of Smart

  • How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice
  • By: Fredrik deBoer
  • Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (83 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Leftist firebrand Fredrik deBoer exposes the lie at the heart of our educational system and demands top-to-bottom reform. 

Everyone agrees that education is the key to creating a more just and equal world, and that our schools are broken and failing. Proposed reforms variously target incompetent teachers, corrupt union practices, or outdated curricula, but no one acknowledges a scientifically-proven fact that we all understand intuitively: academic potential varies between individuals, and cannot be dramatically improved. 

In The Cult of Smart, educator and outspoken leftist Fredrik deBoer exposes this omission as the central flaw of our entire society, which has created and perpetuated an unjust class structure based on intellectual ability. 

Since cognitive talent varies from person to person, our education system can never create equal opportunity for all. Instead, it teaches our children that hierarchy and competition are natural, and that human value should be based on intelligence. These ideas are counter to everything that the left believes, but until they acknowledge the existence of individual cognitive differences, progressives remain complicit in keeping the status quo in place. 

This passionate, voice-driven manifesto demands that we embrace a new goal for education: equality of outcomes. We must create a world that has a place for everyone, not just the academically talented. But we’ll never achieve this dream until the Cult of Smart is destroyed. 

New York Magazine Best Books of the Year - 2020

A Macmillan Audio production from All Points Books 

©2020 Fredrik deBoer (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Cult of Smart

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Part of the Content from Human Diversity

This book is kind of a light weight repetition of part of the wisdom contained in Charles Murray's book human diversity. It was entertaining to listen to a real marxist repeat the bromides that took every country that tried them to tyranny. I would recommend reading human diversity, a much better book.

4 people found this helpful

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Great analysis, poor ending

The audiobook was well read and well written. He provided a great analysis of the issues plaguing education and personal success in America today. He does a really good job dealing with IQ science while dismissing its racist tendencies. If the IQ science is accurate, we as a society must do something about it. The final 2 chapters which are supposed to be solutions were less than helpful. He essentially says do away with markets and instill communism. I was really hoping for a more moderate and realistic proposal of many applicable changes. He gave a view and then focuses the majority of the time on communism.

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fantastic

This is a really excellent explanation of the failures of our education system, the larger related failures of our society, and a compelling vision for a better world. It also challenges the left to examine our own received wisdom and ask if our assumptions are indeed supported by evidence and, crucially, if they actually support our real goals. On a personal note, I grew up deeply enmeshed in the cult of smart and the college admissions meat grinder. It set me up for a life of reasonable professional class comfort but did little to make me a good or emotionally fulfilled person, and I can only imagine the harm it continues to do to the people it leaves behind. I wish I had grown up in the world Freddie describes in the last chapter.

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New take on tires solutions

An incredibly pessimistic book, though admirably honest when assessing the realities of life as it exists today. When we arrive at the solution section it’s rehashed large ticket, utopian, social spending silliness. Author advocates for free college which will push more people into university after he spends a great deal of effort saying that most do not belong in college. Very limited understanding of economics on authors part. The idea that a UBI will allow the flowering of the hidden class of poets is laughable. He advocates the removal of all struggle, which displays his sympathy, but has never led to the type of society he dreams of, the conclusion is overly rosy. Author suggests an adjustment to living a bare subsistence existence and he expects the world to bloom. Also the idea of a government run program being more efficient because it can eliminate bureaucracy is a fallacy that will not fall away.

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cult like socialist promises

The author correctly identifies issues and deficiencies with merit based ranking system, charter school system and what he refers to as the cult of smart but then proceeds with typical leftist cult like promises and unfalsifiable assertions about the leftist utopia. doing so, he makes up false history about the root causes of Russian revolution.

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The Author comes so close!

He comes so close to understanding that the government he wants to control everything is the one causing the problems he correctly identifies. better books on the same subject are 'The Case Against Education' and 'Weapons of Mass Instruction.'

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