Radical Humility

What does humility mean and why does it matter in an age of golden escalators and billionaire entrepreneurs? How can the cultivation of humility empower us to see success in failure, to fight against injustice, to stretch beyond our usual ways of thinking, and to foster a culture of listening in an age of digital shouting? With contributions from renowned scholars as well as psychologists, artists, and many others, Radical Humility: Essays on Ordinary Acts offers guidance.

Edited by Rebekah Modrak and Jamie Vander Broek, Radical Humility explores what we can learn from philosophers about why Socrates chose to question everyone—even the Oracle who proclaimed him to be the wisest of men. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow examines the corrosive effect of Donald Trump’s arrogance on our democracy. Artist Ruth Nicole Brown describes lessons learned from her aunt about living a life of “you before me,” and how this informed her work celebrating Black girls. Journalist Lynette Clemetson lays out the conflicts for journalists trained to recede into the background but now urged to be social media presences. And scholars Aric Rindfleisch and Nadia Danienta describe why maker cultures are as good at celebrating failure as they are at championing success. Having witnessed the personal and civic costs of narcissism and arrogance, these and other writers consider humility as a valuable process—a state of being—with the power to impact institutions, systems, families, and individuals, and give voice to the ways in which humility is practiced in many ordinary but extraordinary actions.

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