Johnson County Community College

Common Read — In Defense of a Liberal Education

Cover In Defense of a Liberal Education In this timely book Fareed Zakaria addresses the value of a liberal education and explains why recent criticisms are not only unfair, but a misrepresentation of reality. Zakaria presents clear evidence that the idea of a liberal education is under attack—not just from parents and students who mistakenly equate education with job preparation, but on larger, political levels. And yet, Zakaria notes, it was the sheer audacity and innovation of the American liberal education—a distinct type of college experience—that drew him to the US from India and that continues to draw students from around the world. Zakaria argues this turn away from the liberal arts is a mistake.

A liberal education provides the foundation for finding one’s voice, writing, speaking your mind, and ultimately, learning—all immensely valuable skills no matter your profession. Technology and globalization are making these skills even more valuable and necessary as routine mechanical and even computing tasks can be done by machines. More than just a path to a career, Zakaria argues that a liberal education is an exercise in freedom and above all, it feeds the most basic urge of the human spirit—to know.