The Pursuit of Happiness

The Lives of Sudbury Valley Alumni

by Daniel Greenberg, Mimsy Sadofsky and Jason Lempka
364 pages

What becomes of students who attended Sudbury Valley as they pursue their lives as adults? This book is a unique contribution to the literature that evaluates schools and educational philosophies. It explores the lives of former students who spent their formative years at the school. It examines in depth their values, their character, and their careers, drawing extensively on their own words, as in the following excerpt:

“I am very attached to the realm of activities which are usually classified as ‘academia’. I always tell people that the main reason I went back to Sudbury Valley as a staff member is that I have never been in a more intellectual community in my life. I have never seen another place where people would talk about everything starting from first principles, and mean it – and not for grades. People are in the conversations because they want to be there. They’re not trying to impress anyone with their knowledge, they’re not trying to win praise, they’re just talking about these things because they’re so interested. I wanted an intellectual community, I wanted to be part of that kind of give-and-take, and I really have seen very little of it outside of Sudbury Valley, although I’ve been to a lot of universities.”