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Short Synopsis
According to Harvard professor Louis Menand, at a time when competition to get into and succeed in college has never been more intense, universities are providing a less useful education. In The Marketplace of Ideas, he assesses what is important in a traditional university—and what is not.

Full Synopsis
Has American higher education become a dinosaur? Why do professors all tend to think alike? What makes it so hard for colleges to decide which subjects should be required? Why do teachers and scholars find it so difficult to transcend the limits of their disciplines? Why, in short, are problems that should be easy for universities to solve so intractable? The answer, Louis Menand argues, is that the institutional structure and the educational philosophy of higher education have remained the same for one hundred years, while faculties and student bodies have radically changed and technology has drastically transformed the way people produce and disseminate knowledge. Sparking a long-overdue debate about the future of American education, The Marketplace of Ideas examines what professors and students—and all the rest of us—might be better off without while assessing what is worth saving in our traditional university institutions.

"[Menand] has the rare ability to tackle complex subjects and make them comprehensible and readable." ---Philadelphia Inquirer

"Part history of higher education, part sympathetic but insistent argument for change, Menand's book is a worthy and admirably succinct exploration of why colleges are so difficult to improve." ---The Washington Monthly

"Michael Prichard's stern, sonorous voice is a perfect match for Menand's critical exploration of the contemporary university." ---AudioFile

"Menand...provides a smart, succinct, splendidly written summary of the back story and current state-of-play in education in the liberal arts at the country's elite institutions." ---The Boston Globe

"An important...view on the content of higher education." ---Library Journal

The Marketplace of Ideas

Reform and Reaction in the American University

Author Louis Menand

Narrated by Michael Prichard

Publication date Feb 1, 2010

Running time 4 hrs

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