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About the book
  • Published: 19 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473538375
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400
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The Years That Matter Most


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The author of the New York Times and international bestseller How Children Succeed reveals the growing social crisis in universities

What has gone wrong in our universities? And how do we make it right?
When Amy applied to university, she thought she’d be judged purely on her merits. But she never thought that her family background would have as much impact on her future as her grades.

When KiKi arrived at university, she knew she could be the only black woman in her class. But she didn’t know how out of place she would feel, nor how unwelcoming her peers would be.

When Orry graduated from university, he was told he’d probably land a six-figure salary. But he wasn’t told he’d end up barely scraping a living wage, struggling to feed his children.

Drawing on the stories of hundreds of American students, The Years That Matters Most is a revelatory account of a university system in crisis.

Paul Tough, bestselling author of How Children Succeed, exposes a world where small-town colleges go bust, while the most prestigious raise billions every year; where overstretched admissions officers are forced to pick rich candidates over smart ones; where black and working-class students are left to sink or swim on uncaring campuses. Along the way, he uncovers cutting-edge research from the academics leading the way to a new kind of university – one where students succeed not because of their background, but because of the quality of their minds.

The result is a call-to-arms for universities that work for everyone, and a manual for how we can make it happen.

  • Pub date: 19 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473538375
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

About the Author

Paul Tough

Paul Tough is the author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America and the author of a series of acclaimed articles on character and childhood in the New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker. He is a contributing editor to the New York Times Magazine and a frequent contributor to the public-radio program This American Life. He lives with his wife and son in New York.

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