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The landmark program for awaking the inner adult in every teen.

Released on the
first annual NATIONAL YOUTH RIGHTS DAY, April 14, 2010

Quill Driver Books
Fresno, CA



A major work that has drawn praise from across the political spectrum....
Winner of the 2010 National Indie Excellence Award

Cited by the United States Supreme Court in the case Graham v. Florida (2010)

Praise for this book and its previous edition, The Case Against Adolescence,
winner of the San Diego Book Award and the Lysander Spooner Award
for Advancing the Literature of Liberty

“...one of the most revolutionary books I have ever read.”
Albert Ellis, Ph.D., The Albert Ellis Institute (from the Foreword)

“Adolescence was invented in the nineteenth century to enable middle-class families
to keep their children out of sweatshops. But it has degenerated into a process of
enforced boredom and age segregation that has produced one of the most destructive
social arrangements in human history, consigning thirteen-year-old males to learning
from fifteen-year-old males. It’s a social experiment that failed. Dr. Epstein’s book
traces the history of the problem, demonstrates with unrelenting perseverance that
much of the turmoil of our teens is a creation of our culture, and offers a specific and
detailed proposal for getting our young people back on track. If you are concerned about
America’s young—and about America’s future—this is a must-read.”
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
and Founder of the Center for Health Transformation

“Perhaps it is time for a paradigm shift in how we understand the tumultuous time we call adolescence. Dr. Epstein’s landmark book may be just what we need to help enhance our understanding of and better serve those moving through this complex period of life.”
Drew Pinsky, M.D., Host of “Loveline” and “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”;
Medical Director, Department of Chemical Dependency Services, Las Encinas

“Epstein’s book presents a serious and bold challenge to widely held views about teenagers: that they are inherently irresponsible, that they must be shielded from adult challenges, that they are not capable of making sound decisions about matters of health. Epstein demonstrates in a rigorous and persuasive way that teens are in fact highly capable—in some respects even more capable than adults. By shielding and protecting young people from adulthood, we have isolated them from their elders, from their spiritual roots, and from their heritage, leaving many of them angry and confused in the spiritually empty world of teen culture. We need to reexamine our basic assumptions about young people, and Epstein shows us how.”
Deepak Chopra, author of Life After Death: The Burden of Proof

“Many developmental scientists, psychotherapists and popular writers have tackled the problem of adolescence, but none with the objective clarity and perspicacity of Dr. Robert Epstein. He argues persuasively that adolescence is an unnecessary creation of modern culture and gives both parents and professionals new insights about worrisome aspects of the behavior we see so often during the teen years. Epstein’s arguments are well researched and empirically defensible, and he is a lucid writer. At times his prose is riveting.”
Lewis P. Lipsitt, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Medical Science and
Human Development, Brown University

“This is a profoundly important book. Dr. Epstein is raising issues about our
young people that we need to think about and evaluate carefully. Generally, I think the
institutions that serve our young are sound, but this book points to some obvious
problems–most especially the fact that our young people are largely isolated from the
adult world. If you care about America’s young, this is a must-read.”
Dr. Joyce Brothers, author & columnist

“Dr. Epstein is correct in expressing skepticism about all the hype these days
on the teen brain. There is no evidence that the problems of American teens are a
result of immature brains. My own research suggests that what many adults call
risky behavior in teens may actually be associated with brain maturity.
Dr. Epstein writes with unusual clarity on the teen-brain issue.
Given what’s at stake for our society, his views need to be taken seriously.”
Gregory S. Berns, M.D., Ph.D, Distinguished Chair of Neuroeconomics and
Director of the Center for Neuropolicy, Emory University

“I believe what Dr. Epstein is saying one hundred percent. Young people have the
ability to do great things; they just never have the opportunity to do them. They’re also
rarely placed in situations where they have to do them. We treat teens as if they’re just
kids, assuming they can’t do very much, but when they’re put into tough situations, they
tend to perform just as well or even better than adults. As a teen I successfully
impersonated an airline pilot, a medical doctor, a lawyer, and a college instructor.
Imagine what I could have done if I had actually been encouraged to develop
my adult capabilities. And imagine what today’s teens might be able to do
if they weren’t so completely cut off from the adult world.”
Frank W. Abagnale, author of Catch Me If You Can; president, Abagnale &

“The American education system, as we know it, was designed during a period of rapid industrialization. The mission of schools was to inculcate ‘industrial discipline’ as a means of preparing our young people, in factory-like fashion, to work in the new industrial world. That antiquated system no longer prepares our young for the real world they will be facing in the years to come, and, as Dr. Epstein shows, it also isolates young people from adults in ways that have unfortunate consequences. If you care about the future of our young people, The Case Against Adolescence is an essential read.”
Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock and Revolutionary Wealth

“Here are America’s youth, regarded keenly, knowingly–with many popular assumptions and notions set aside in favor of an accurate and thoughtful portrayal of our young fellow citizens, and too, many of the rest of us, who may fail them by overlooking their achievements and possibilities.”
Robert Coles, M.D., professor of psychiatry, Harvard University;
recipient, Pulitzer Prize

“Robert Epstein’s critique of our conventional view of adolescence is timely. Of all its wide implications, perhaps the most significant is the one for education. Treating young people as adults and giving them the opportunity to embrace responsibility are strategies that the empirical research and analysis of Epstein’s work justify. This is a vital book for parents and policy makers on the state and federal levels. It is a long overdue contribution.”
Leon Botstein, president, Bard College; author of Jefferson’s Children: Education
and the Promise of American Culture

“Dr. Epstein has written a very provocative essay about adolescence. His arguments
deserve serious consideration and open debate.”
Ellen Langer, Ph.D., author of Mindfulness; Professor of Psychology,
Harvard University

“Epstein’s book on adolescence is a fresh and timely look at what makes teens miserable, and how their condition can be helped. It is a very original approach, sure to ignite discussion and controversy. A great deal of what he says is right on the money, and few people have written on this subject with his combination of expert knowledge and clear prose.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow; Professor of Management,
Clairemont Graduate Center

“Teenagers are not children. Dr. Epstein convincingly demonstrates the harm caused by treating them that way. With an intellectual honesty not often seen, this book cuts through the mountain of prejudice and negative stereotypes and shows teens as they once were, and some day will be again. This is an important book, and one that strikes the next nail in the coffin of the bigoted ‘storm and stress’ view of adolescence. This book should be required reading for all youth workers, all parents trying to better understand their kids, all politicians setting youth policy, and most especially for teens who instinctively recognize the injustice and harm of our system. This book is a powerful tool for articulating that injustice.”
Alex Koroknay-Palicz, president & executive director, National Youth Rights

“While human evolution has for hundreds of millennia trusted teens to be fully
competent adults and parents, our present culture has somehow found it convenient
to view them as children. Robert Epstein makes a powerful case for
correcting this costly error.”
Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept

“Parents puzzled about the reasons for changes in child-rearing since they were
children may find some answers in Robert Epstein’s argument about what he calls ‘the
artificial extension of childhood.’”
George F. Will, columnist

The Case Against Adolescence constructs a powerful argument against trivializing
a significant fraction of the population in the interests of an illusion. Whether you’re a
parent, a teacher, a policy maker, or a recovering victim of enforced childishness,
you need to read this book.”
John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down and The Underground
History of American Education
; former New York City and New York State
Teacher of the Year

“Dr. Epstein offers a compelling mixture of historical evidence and modern
insight into the present problem of infantilization of youth. If we trust our youth with
the inevitable responsibilities of modern life sooner rather than later, we can reinvigorate
our society. Dr. Epstein’s ideas provide an academic framework for a number of
issues–like allowing teens to vote in municipal elections at age 16–that are close to my
heart and crucial for the future of American society. In this iconoclastic work, Dr.
Epstein shows not only how much we lose by belittling teens, but also how much we
stand to gain by empowering them.”
Gale A. Brewer, Member, New York City Council

“We are all individual and desire to be treated as such. Dr. Epstein makes a good
case for adolescents to be treated not as a group with a formula, but as individual unique
Suzanne Somers, actress and author

“Because of my family’s troubled history and because I’m the mother of two teens,
I have a deep interest in the mental health of young people. This book has opened my
eyes, and it will open yours too. We’ve completely isolated teens from the people
they’re about to become, and we’ve trapped them in a meaningless world
controlled by peers and media. We’ve forgotten how capable young people are,
and they know it and are frustrated. We need to completely reexamine
how we treat America’s teens.”
Mariel Hemingway, actress

“This is an amazing book, long overdue. I’ve been saying for decades that the way to bring out the best in young people is to give them meaningful responsibility and authority, and the Guardian Angels have shown in countries around the world how powerful this model is. The surest way to make teens miserable is to treat them like kids, and the best way to make them strong is to let them grow up. Dr. Epstein lays out these issues like no one ever has before.”
Curtis Sliwa, Founder & President, Guardian Angels; host,
“The Curtis Sliwa Show,” WABC Radio, New York

“Dr. Epstein’s ideas about teens are revolutionary. Many of our teens today have
serious problems, and if Dr. Epstein is right, those problems are largely of our own
making. This book will bring our ideas about teens down to earth.”
Buzz Aldrin, Ph.D. (Col., USAF, ret.), Apollo 11 Astronaut

What the Reviewers Are Saying

"Anyone who cares about adolescents, has been impressed by their abilities, or has sympathized with the mixed messages and confusing pressures they face in society will be encouraged by this book and will want to share it with others. The book would serve as an ideal text for a graduate-level course in adolescent development, a great resource for anyone teaching any kind of human development course, or a valuable reference for those striving to make a difference in the lives of young people through policy and programming."
—Kathleen Leonard, Department of Psychology,
University of Massachusetts Lowell, The Free Library (May 2010)

"Among the many good titles on the invention theory of adolescence, Epstein’s is the most comprehensive and authoritative."
Julianne J. Smith, Library Journal (February 2010)

"Teens are highly capable—in some ways more than adults—and this landmark discussion offers paths for reaching and enhancing the competence in America’s youth."
Independent Publisher (July 2010)

“Time to abolish adolescence–so argues Epstein, former editor in chief of Psychology Today and host of the Sirius Satellite Radio show ‘Psyched!,’ in this extensive, groundbreaking book.... Epstein’s credentials and research are extensive; his arguments, persuasive. He is an astute observer of the world around him, especially its do-nothing adolescents.”
Linda Beck, Library Journal (Starred Review)

“… [Research] largely confirms the general picture Epstein presents. Teenagers should be deemed to be adults, albeit young ones, and treated as such by those around them and by social institutions at all levels. There is no need for a special category of ‘adolescents’ and no need for the corresponding concept of ‘adolescence’ except as a reminder of the pathological phenomena observed in teenagers when we treat them as children.”
David Moshman, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology

“I couldn’t agree more with Epstein’s arguments regarding infantilization. This book
has the potential to be an important conversation starter about social policy and as such
should have a broad audience. His book is replete with examples of young people who
have not been allowed to live up to their true potential and with other examples of how
today’s adolescents are actually quite capable of mature behavior…. This book has an
important core message—infantilization is harmful, and adolescents can be competent.”
Susan L. O’Donnell, PsycCRITIQUES

“Epstein estimates that young Americans are now ten times more restricted than adults, and twice as restricted as convicted criminals. He says teenagers are infantilised and deprived of human rights.... It is a strong argument: that by increasing restrictions upon children, and denying them civil freedoms and responsibilities, neurotic parents are in fact facilitating the very thing which they seek to prevent—they are driving their offspring even deeper into the toxic world of online teenage culture.”
Melanie Reed, The Times (London)

“I have to admit, when I first picked up his book I didn’t think there was any possible
way I would agree with his views…. Yet after I finished reading The Case Against
, I began to see that much of what he says makes sense, and I understood
completely why Dr. Joyce Brothers said, ‘If you care about America’s young,
this is a must-read.’”
Elizabeth Wilkins, EmpoweringParents.com

“This great book disputes the recent trend to infantilize young people. The author offers massive evidence that many of our culture's problems (teen crime, depression, suicide, substance abuse, etc.) are a direct result of continuing to deny young people's obvious maturity.... I recommend reading this book right away–don't wait until you become a parent of a teenager. The insightful information in this book should change your whole outlook on parenting.”

The Case Against Adolescence is…enormously valuable as a provocation and well
worth reading…a knock on the side of the head.”
Bruce Bearistro, Education Canada

“Epstein provides a cogent and coherent account of the data about the capacities of young people.… The book should be required reading for anybody concerned with young people—but especially those making policy. Things can be done differently. Epstein’s book leaves us in no doubt that they should.”
Howard Sercome, Scottish Youth Issues Journal

“Epstein presents a persuasive, marketable plan to rescue youth programs from their endless, futile mandate to suppress adolescent precocity, and American social policy from the perpetual ineptitude of blaming teens for social problems caused by adults.”
Mike Males, Youth Today

“Epstein shows that differences in the teen brain are the result of social influences,
rather than the cause of teen turmoil. He concludes that a careful review of the research
shows the teen brain we read about in the headlines—the immature brain that is
supposedly the cause of teen problems—is nothing less than a myth.”
Michael Smith, The Washington Times

“Epstein looks in depth at the history of adolescence and finds that most cultures
throughout human history don’t even have a word for it—it is a recent artificially created
time of life. I hope it changes. It would be great to see those in power stop looking at our
young as a sub-human species that needs to be totally controlled, but instead provide
enough adult interaction that will develop a mature competence in them.”
Ron Flickinger, News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana

“In his provocative new book, professor and author Robert Epstein argues that,
just as our society has underestimated the abilities of women, people of color and the
elderly, we treat adolescents with much less respect than they deserve and much less
freedom than they have experienced in the past.... Alexander the Great founded his
first colony at age 16 and suppressed a revolt that same year. Did he shower,
keep his room clean, and take out the carnage? If not, was he grounded?”
Michael Jaffe, New Jersey Psychologist

What the Bloggers Are Saying

"More than any other single book I have read in the past decade, this book has rocked my thinking about youth and youth ministry. Epstein’s contention — extremely well documented — that we 'infantilize' teenagers, keeping them in a protracted form of childhood, resonated with me (not that it sits easily, though, or is simple in any way)... If I’ve ever said another book was a must-read for parents and youth workers, ignore that, until you have read this book."
Mark Oestreicher

"There are few books that have had a long lasting, world view altering impact on me; The Bible, The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoevsky), The Fountainhead (Rand), Jesus, Through the Centuries (Pelikan), Messy Spirituality (Yaconelli), and now Teen 2.0 (Epstein).."
Ed Whipple

"Teen 2.0 is a game-changer ."

“Epstein’s book is a timely work that should be heeded by anyone who has any sort of contact with those whom we currently call ‘adolescents.’ Having worked with high schoolers for the better part of three years, his proposed method of viewing teenagers as adults has proved extraordinarily successful.... Epstein’s book is thorough and well- researched. It is a must for any parent, educator, youth worker, or anyone else who works with teens or is interested in American culture.”
Matthew Lee

"Teen 2.0 is very accessible and, quite frankly, a must-read for any parent, youth worker,
or person who cares about the development of young people. I highly recommend it,
but be warned: it will rock your world."
Jeff Goins, Pilgrimage of the Heart

"In the last year I read and was deeply disturbed by the book, Teen 2.0. If you are going to read a book in 2011,
make it that one. It shook me."
Adam Mclane, Youth Unlimited Daily

“As Dr. Robert Epstein has shown in his convincing book, the result of infantilization
[on teens] has been almost wholly negative.”
Classically Liberal

“I just started reading The Case Against Adolescence. So far it’s fantastic.”
The Christian Imagination

“Really powerful…. Epstein is saying that we can do better, and I agree. Our kids are real people, and we have to treat them that way by acknowledging that their needs differ substantially from the average and helping them pursue their diverse interests to succeed past their difficulties.”

“Dr. Robert Epstein is someone who ‘gets it.’”
Puerile Psyche

“This is big. This is very big. There is a new book out there that seeks to reveal all the
harmful ways we harm our adolescents: The Case Against Adolescence by Robert
Epstein…. Someone understands!”
The Ranting Teacher

“I think Dr. Epstein is right, and I think a lot of genuine cruelty is perpetrated
under the guise of ‘protecting the children.’”
Classical Values

“Fascinating and persuasive book.”
Laissez Faire Books

“This new book…is a must for everybody who has anything to do with teenagers!”

“I agree with Epstein that infantilization is making teens angry and depressed. When
your body screams you are an adult and adults keep insisting you are a child, it has to be
Dr. Helen

“Dr. Epstein is no survivalist crackpot driven by conspiracy theories. The former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today who earned a Ph.D. from Harvard says that we inflict great harm on our states and nation by stretching childhood out for decades.”
State Policy Blog

“Everyone should read Robert Epstein’s The Case Against Adolescence, which argues
that adolescence is a destructive concept and that many teens are much more
capable than given credit for.”
The Misanthropic Economist

"It's fantastic.... the research and stastistics are wonderful, very useful and eye-opening."
Just Another Blog (written by a young person)