What We Are Reading Today: The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe

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Updated 16 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe

For years John Moe, critically acclaimed public radio personality and host of The Hilarious World of Depression podcast, struggled with depression; it plagued his family and claimed the life of his brother in 2007.

As Moe came to terms with his own illness, he began to see similar patterns of behavior and coping mechanisms surfacing in conversations with others. Moe saw that there was tremendous comfort and community in open dialogue about these shared experiences and that humor had a unique power. Thus was born the podcast The Hilarious World of Depression.

Inspired by the immediate success of the podcast, Moe has written a remarkable investigation of the disease, part memoir of his own journey, part treasure trove of laugh-out-loud stories and insights drawn from years of interviews with some of the most brilliant minds facing similar challenges, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

The Hilarious World of Depression illuminates depression in an entirely fresh and inspiring way.


What We Are Reading Today: Two Cheers for Higher Education by Steven Brint

Updated 13 August 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Two Cheers for Higher Education by Steven Brint

Crushing student debt, rapidly eroding state funding, faculty embroiled in speech controversies, a higher-education market disrupted by online competition—today’s headlines suggest that universities’ power to advance knowledge and shape American society is rapidly declining. But Steven Brint, a renowned analyst of academic institutions, has tracked numerous trends demonstrating their vitality. After a recent period that witnessed soaring student enrollment and ample research funding, universities, he argues, are in a better position than ever before.

Focusing on the years 1980–2015, Brint details the trajectory of American universities, which was influenced by evolving standards of disciplinary professionalism, market-driven partnerships (especially with scientific and technological innovators outside the academy), and the goal of social inclusion. 

Conflicts arose: Academic entrepreneurs, for example, flouted their campus responsibilities, and departments faced backlash over the hiring of scholars with nontraditional research agendas. Nevertheless, educators’ commitments to technological innovation and social diversity prevailed and created a new dynamism.

Brint documents these successes along with the challenges that result from rapid change. Today, knowledge-driven industries generate almost half of U.S. GDP, but divisions by educational level split the American political order. Students flock increasingly to fields connected to the power centers of American life and steer away from the liberal arts. And opportunities for economic mobility are expanding even as academic expectations decline.