Solitude and Leadership

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Deresiewicz, William
Publication : 
The American Scholar

Undergraduate education and the cultivation of leaders: nurturing leaders among our college age students has never been more difficult, argues Yale history professor William Deresiewicz. Today’s students attending our nation’s elite institutions are considered our nation’s future leaders. Instead, what we actually have are students who have been trained and conditioned to remain constantly busy so they can build impressive resumes. But resume bullet lines don’t make a leader. Rather, the author points out that if leadership can be cultivated it springs from a student’s having time to learn to think for oneself and not merely to jump through a series of academic and extra-curricular hoops that are supposed to be touchstones of success. Ironically, in this piece, which was written in 2010, he singles out Gen. David Petraeus as an exemplary leader.

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