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Disciplined Minds: A C...
Jeff Schmidt
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Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  31 reviews
This book details the battle one must fight to be an independent thinker in today's corporate society.
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published March 9th 2000)
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Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
Disciplined Minds is the best piss-take of office culture I've come across since Ricky Gervais's The Office. Here are a few quotes that leapt out at me.

"Resisting the system carries some risk, but not resisting is a far deadlier course for your individual identity."

"The criterion for certification as a professional is not just technical knowledge, but also attitude, specifically, an uncritical attitude."

"Nonprofessional employees follow assigned procedures. Professional employees follow assign
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: existential
Schmidt says that, in “professional” jobs — everything “from journalism and architecture to education and commercial art” — employers judge an employee’s “ideological discipline” to be of paramount importance. The employee is required to take the attitude that they will follow their employer’s point of view, as this is part of the nature of the work itself. He says “it is by far the most socially significant requirement in that it distinguishes the professional from the skilled nonprofessional.” ...more
John G.
One of the most influential and important books I have ever read, really puts some pieces of the puzzle together for me and confirms some thoughts and feelings I have had for decades. This author exposes the dirty laundry of the educational/professional system and it ain't pretty at all folks, this guy is a whistle blower and it took big, big guts for this guy to go public with this book and he paid for it. I've obtained two degrees, worked within higher education on the bottom rung and always w ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

As a child attending compulsory education, I felt entitled to throw a fit every time I perceived my Values being maligned or marginalized. The farther up the educational food chain I've travelled, the less appropriate such feelings of indignation have felt, especially with the crucial jump (in the hard sciences especially) to being paid for the privilege of pursuing knowledge.

The way the author frames his arguments seems to suggest he's been exposed to some Marxist theory. This background comes
Richard Wu
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most radical act of freedom in today’s society is to recognize one’s own confirmation bias AND THEN TO FUCKING OWN IT. What, did you expect me to say something like, “and then to carefully research arguments for the other side, weigh the pros and cons, and develop a more reflective, more nuanced perspective through the power of dialectical reasoning?” Nah nah nah. Before we go on, let me be ab-so-lu-tely clear about one thing:

Nov 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disciplined Minds is truly a revolutionary work, a one-of-a-kind examination of the socializing effects of graduate-level education, and the professional work experience that follows it. With pinpoint precision, Schmidt delineates not only how these systems – often assumed to be unbiased – instead serve to support the status quo and undermine leftist social values, but also how to survive the experience with your values intact. This is a must-read – much more so than the standard guidebooks – fo ...more
Emre Sevinç
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear, finally a Ph.D. level physicist from USA lays down in simple terms the modus operandi of how I, my friends, and people like us proceed in this life. What a funny feeling to have such a mirror.

Yes, we are, indeed, professionals. We get the job done, not many questions asked. Except the technical ones that pertain to the job at hand. And why should we ask more? This is how I, my friends, and people like us were educated and trained: there were so many exams and one does not get points fo
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously this was awesome. Especially happy that the author's profession of choice to look at was physicists. An interesting delve into self-delusion and self-importance. (The author largely looked at the involvement in the military-industrial complex) I think these days with the more open information, people are generally much more aware, though there is still plenty of ideology floating around. It is academia after all.

Also surprised that the author actually had some serious suggestions for h
Patrick Carroll
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think any critical look at how society is structured and effectively controls its self is interesting, this is a readable book and I like the radical view though can see people might simply categorise Schmidt into a marxist/socialist box. I thin there is something important about challenging the self perpetuating military-industrial complex especially around how it biases research. Meh, I'm more radical than I realised!
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book. Jeff Schmidt places a magnifying glass over a very specific section of the industrial-military complex that the labor force of capitalist societies serve. This book pierces the ideological veil that employers and educational institutions fight tooth and nail to maintain.

Jeff Schmidt studied this subject and wrote about it in this book fastidiously, he included detailed notes and references following each chapter so that the reader can easily dig deeper. Salaried professional ideo
I'm really not sure how to rate this one. While the book definitely gave me some new thoughts to chew over, it's been a while since I've read something that so relentlessly adopts a specific ideological position. There's no attempt to persuade the reader of any of the author's fundamental beliefs, just the assumption that they are shared - which is probably better than a polemic, I suppose. Also no effort to define positions and terms, and in this case I think the assumption of shared beliefs hu ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeff Schmidt is not the best writer in the world, but I still have to give this book 5 stars. His sincerity and concern for humanity and the contrivances and systems that manipulate to funnel people into their appropriate positions of mindless subordination are so tangible on every page of this book. It is as if a lifetime of frustration and lessons learned had just built up in his being to the point that he couldn't contain them anymore and they all exploded onto the pages of this book. Reading ...more
Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quite an accurate analysis of what goes on in graduate schools. However, if I had been the editor I would have taken out the political tangent at the end. Not everyone is concerned about/motivated by the political implications of their work and I fear those who disagree with the author here might ding this book for that.
Ezgi Çiçek
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that will make you question your job and your look at what it means to be 'employed'. Well-worth my time and all the reflections.
Allys Dierker
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So the blurb you’ll read is that the author was fired because he begins with a confession that the book was written on stolen time.

But the final chapter, “Now or Never,” might just as easily have been titled “33 Bullet Points to Help Get You Fired.” It’s the kind of stuff that management doesn’t cotton to, and it’s all way more serious than “stolen” time on the job (how many people have filled their Facebook profile on the boss’s dime?). It verges on a manifesto of how to be a “radical” professi
Charles Thorpe
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, in some ways an update of C. Wright Mills' White Collar, should be read by anyone considering going to graduate school or going into academia. Schmidt exposes the subtle and not-so-subtle forms of repression and oppression that go on in universities. The group-think of the professional-managerial class as it is expressed and reinforced in the universities is truly totalitarian.
Nikhil Bajpai
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really subversive book.
Must read for those who call themselves professionals and cathartic for those who have gone through the grind.
Paul Ivanov
Aug 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Schmidt's basic thesis is that professional success rests more on the willingness to jump through the hoops rather than talent and ability. Grad school (and other forms of professional training) select for a particular type of herd mentality by making life harder for those who rock the boat. On the surface, this seems to contradict the perks of creative expression and self-direction, both tenets of professional life, but Schmidt argues that this independence is largely siloed to how the work is ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle is an understatement. This is not "a critical look at salaried professionals", but a devastating and insightful analysis of our modern society. It makes you think what you actually want to achieve with your life and what are the personal and societal costs of pursuing your career.

And if you thought that science would be the one area in society which is still objective and not tainted by office politics, you are in for a surprise.

The beginning of the book made me think of the recent
Freedom Road El Camino Para la Libertad
the secret story of the American higher-education system, which not only instills technical knowledge and practical skills, but above all produces a class of professionals who put their curiosity and abilities at the service of their employers and the powers that be. Bright, talented and generally progressive young people enter universities and graduate schools, where they are reforged into willing tools of government and corporate interests. Everyone should read this book to understand our soci ...more
Jason Comely
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chilling look at the hidden agendas of academia and employment. It changed the way I read the news. Essential reading.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eloquently expresses what I have felt has been happening in higher education for years.
Matthew Trevithick
A frontal assault on the graduate education system, among other things. Certainly unique.
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All books should be this brave.
Nick Short
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Apr 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
5 in parts.
Brian Jones
Dec 22, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Jack" got it right.
Roscoe Goldman
rated it it was amazing
Mar 20, 2012
Rob W
rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2013
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“Take it from me, an authority on expertise: You can't trust experts.” 1 likes
“When employers designate certain jobs "professional" and insist that employees have professional training – not just the technical skills that seem sufficient to do the work – they must have more in mind than efficiency. Hierarchical organizations need professionals, because through professionals those at the top control the political content of what is produced, and because professionals contribute to the bosses' control of the workforce itself.” 1 likes
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