You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements

David McCullough, Jr.

You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements
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You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements

David McCullough, Jr.

So you think you’re special? Well, think again: you’re not. David McCullough Jr, a US high-school English teacher, found himself suddenly famous in 2012 when his commencement address to graduating high-school seniors went viral on YouTube. The main theme of that speech, ‘You’re not special’, seemed to hit a nerve and validate a sense among people worldwide that something is deeply and fundamentally wrong with the way children are being raised today.


From infancy, he observed, children are taught to believe they are unique and special, deserving of every advantage, destined for success. Consequently they learn to work hard and distinguish themselves for the sake of status and material reward rather than for the benefit of others - the larger community; the world. Success is defined as something almost entirely selfish. There is little attention or time given to the pursuit of education for the sake of wisdom, or even real happiness.

Drawing from his long career as an educator and experience as a father of teenage boys, McCullough will expand upon the ideas laid out in his radical twelve-minute speech and argue that we can do better - as parents and as teachers - than fostering in our children a sense of privilege and entitlement.

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