“I aim to persuade you that much of our contemporary thinking about identity is shaped by pictures that are in various ways unhelpful or just plain wrong,” Kwame Anthony Appiah writes in his new book, “The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity.”
On this week’s podcast, Mr. Appiah says that our “new sense of identity is essentially a post-Second World War phenomenon.” He discusses when identity can be useful, but argues that it is often a hindrance to understanding rather than an aid. “In lots of cases, you’ll just get things wrong if you work with simple generalizations about identity groups,” he says.
Also on this week’s episode, Jonathan Haidt talks about his new book, co-written with Greg Lukianoff, “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Rumaan Alam, Emily Eakin, Lovia Gyarkye and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
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