Monday, March 27, 2017

You are Not Special

You are Not Special...and Other Encouragements by David McCullough, Jr.  316 pp.

McCullough, son of author, historian, narrator, and television commentator, David McCullough, wrote this book from a commencement address he gave at Wellesley High School where he is an English teacher. The video of the speech went viral because of its message to the graduates that they are not special but just one of the many thousands that are graduating. (You can read the text of the speech here.)  In spite of all the support, prodding, and accolades from parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, etc. there is nothing exceptional about them. It is up to them to make their lives exceptional, not necessarily in the opinion of others, but for themselves. The book expands on the speech in part with examples of McCullough's own children, his students, and encounters with parents of students. I think this should be required reading for all high school seniors, especially those who are convinced their lives will be over if they don't get into their choice of  "the best" colleges.

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