The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident And Compassionate Kids In An Age of Self-Importance
Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD
New York: Little, Brown, 2008
256 pp.; $26.00 (cloth)


Polly Young-Eisendrath is a Jungian analyst and psychotherapist; the author of thirteen books on psychology, gender, and spirituality; a mother; and a Buddhist. (She edited a volume of teachings by her Zen teacher, Philip Kapleau Roshi, and now studies Vipassana with Shinzen Young.) Her most recent book, The Self-Esteem Trap, raises the $20-million question so many parents, educators, and therapists are asking themselves: how did today’s children and young adults come to be so self-involved, entitled, disrespectful, and unhappy? Young-Eisendrath is eminently qualified to offer answers to this conundrum and lays out the historical and cultural underpinnings she has observed firsthand as a therapist, parent, grandparent, and longtime investigator of the workings of human suffering. It is through the common sense of Buddhist teachings, she says, that we can start to turn the tide of raising uneasy, empathy-less kids and guide them toward compassion and authentic self-worth as well as an understanding of the consequences of their actions.

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