Books That Inspire 2005


 
Emile, or On Education
Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Emile is the story of a boy who is educated for leadership. He is taught to consider what is good for society before what is good for him. He is taught to always pursue justice. The book is Rousseau’s answer to the age-old problem: how can we find leaders who will set aside their own self-interest and work on behalf of the common good? Rousseau’s answer is touching, though not encouraging. After being trained to be a perfect leader, Emile decides that justice and probity consist of living quietly with those he most loves and eschewing the temptations of power and leadership. Emile is a treatise on the importance of edu-cation for shaping good citizens and a recipe for the type of education that could create a society we all would enjoy.
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Kelly Damphousse
Assistant Professor Sociology