Ready or Not
Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World
The New York Times bestselling author of The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well explores how today’s parenting techniques and our myopic educational system are failing to prepare children for their certain-to-be-uncertain future—and how we can reverse course to ensure their lasting adaptability, resilience, health and happiness.
In The Price of Privilege, respected clinician, Madeline Levine was the first to correctly identify the deficits created by parents giving kids of privilege too much of the wrong things and not enough of the right things. Continuing to address the mistaken notions about what children need to thrive in Teach Your Children Well, Levine tore down the myth that good grades, high test scores, and college acceptances should define the parenting endgame. In Ready or Not, she continues the discussion, showing how these same parenting practices, combined with a desperate need to shelter children from discomfort and anxiety, are setting future generations up to fail spectacularly.
Increasingly, the world we know has become disturbing, unfamiliar, and even threatening. In the wake of uncertainty and rapid change, adults are doubling-down on the pressure-filled parenting style that pushes children to excel. Yet these daunting expectations, combined with the stress parents feel and unwittingly project onto their children, are leading to a generation of young people who are overwhelmed, exhausted, distressed—and unprepared for the future that awaits them. While these damaging effects are known, the world into which these children are coming of age is not. And continuing to focus primarily on grades and performance are leaving kids more ill-prepared than ever to navigate the challenges to come.
But there is hope. Using the latest developments in neuroscience and epigenetics (the intersection of genetics and environment), as well as extensive research gleaned from captains of industry, entrepreneurs, military leaders, scientists, academics, and futurists, Levine identifies the skills that children need to succeed in a tumultuous future: adaptability, mental agility, curiosity, collaboration, tolerance for failure, resilience, and optimism. Most important, Levine offers day-to-day solutions parents can use to raise kids who are prepared, enthusiastic, and ready to face an unknown future with confidence and optimism.
Praise For Ready or Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World…
— New York Times Book Review
"A practical, wise manual . . . With empathy, Levine explores the valid anxiety parents and children feel about facing a 'world of disconcerting unpredictability and upheaval' and lays out the 'foundational' skills children need to develop . . . Plenty of parents will benefit from her treatise on how to prepare children for an uncertain future.”
— Publishers Weekly
[Levine] imparts a strong and convincing message: Parents must let their children develop their independence in order to greet their futures with confidence and the skills necessary to survive. Rock-solid advice for harried parents in a world that shows no signs of slowing down.
— Kirkus Reviews
“Thoughtful, relevant guidance. . . . With thorough research backing her up, Levine delivers advice with intelligence and compassion, but also with realistic expectations of what it’s like to parent as well as grow up in today’s world. Best of all, she masterfully balances this realism with positivity. Another invaluable resource from Levine.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“When I wanted to understand what was going on with the students I had taught at Yale—dazed survivors of the achievement machine—I turned to the work of Madeline Levine. . . . Levine has been our leading voice against the culture of overparenting and status obsession. In Ready or Not, she once again brings her unique combination of wisdom, clinical experience, and profound compassion . . . to bear on the daunting task of raising young adults in the twenty-first century.”
— William Deresiewicz, author of the New York Times bestseller Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
"Thank goodness for Madeline Levine, who proves that there is such a thing as too much parenting. Levine's path forward necessitates that we first address our own anxiety so that we can allow our kids to exert control over their own lives and persevere at the things that matter to them. Ready or Not is without a doubt the most important book for these precarious parenting times. Put down your kid's homework and read this book!"
— Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult
“Informed by a lifetime of clinical practice, wide-ranging research, and a powerful moral sensibility, Madeline Levine’s latest book paints a compelling picture of the challenges parents and educators face in an uncertain world. But her greatest contribution is her wise and compassionate advice for all of us committed to helping kids thrive in the 21st century. Ready or Not is one of the most important books I’ve read in a very long time.”
— Tony Wagner, bestselling author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators
"All of Levine's books hold a place of honor on my shelf, and Ready or Not is a worthy addition. It's an invaluable guide to defusing the anxiety and worry faced by today's parents as they navigate raising their kids in an uncertain and rapidly changing world. I love this book. It's a game changer."
— Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure
Harper, 9780062657756, 288pp.
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
About the Author
Madeline Levine, PhD, is a psychologist, consultant, and educator; the author of the New York Times bestsellers Teach Your Children Well and The Price of Privilege; and a cofounder of Challenge Success, a project of the Stanford School of Education that addresses education reform, student well-being, and parent education. She is also a consultant to BDT & Company, a merchant bank that advises and invests in founder- and family-led companies. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and is the proud mother of three adult sons and a newly minted granddaughter.