CREAM OF THE CROP by Herant Katchadourian

CREAM OF THE CROP

The Impact of Elite Education in the Decade After College
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Pedestrian profiles dominate this sociological study of a cohort of Stanford graduates' first ten years in the real world. Katchadourian (Psychiatry/Stanford Univ.) and Boli (Sociology/Emory Univ.) here follow up on their previous work, Careerism and Intellectualism Among College Students (not reviewed). In that study, the authors used two tests to sort Stanford students into four groups. Careerists scored high for ambition, but not for curiosity; Intellectuals the reverse; Strivers topped both tests; those with low scores on both were termed Unconnected. This sequel examines the professional lives, as well as personal and spiritual states, of these young men and women in the decade after graduation. As one might expect, the subjects have proven quite successful; even those few not in business or the professions seem to have found vocations. In typical pop sociology fashion, the authors introduce us to many study participants. Most are so focused on climbing career ladders that their reflections on their lives have little interest. Discussions of romance, families, and the life of the mind inevitably return to work issues. Of the less intellectual survey members, only a handful evidence the impact of their education in the form of the continuing influence of a Stanford faculty member. Problems appear with the authors' initial typology. The Unconnected turn out to be among the most accomplished, with the greatest number of publications and even awards (50% of Unconnected women had won awards versus 38% of male Intellectuals). The study ends in 1991, which leaves one wondering how different types have weathered the recent recession. In any case, to truly give a sense of the value of an elite education, the authors might have done well to compare their subjects more directly to graduates of less prestigious schools. In the absence of a broader context, this look at the lifestyles of the well-educated and anonymous raises more questions than it answers.

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 1994
ISBN: 0-465-04343-7
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Basic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994