Leah Hager Cohen's Book on Doubt

October 4, 2013

Our congratulations to alumna Leah Hager Cohen's 10th book, a non-fiction narrative entitled "I Don’t Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn’t)," released in September. (photo courtesy of WBUR)

I Don’t Know was recently featured on Cognoscenti, an ideas and opinions website of Boston’s NPR affiliate, WBUR. Listen to the broadcast and read the transcript for a window into this absorbing book. Inspired by an essay Cohen wrote in October 2012 for Cognoscenti, her latest work is as compelling as it is relatable: she skillfully examines our collective reluctance to admit that which we do not know. Through anecdotes and reasoned research, she demonstrates how we collectively try to hide our ignorance and doubt.

At one time or another we have all been afraid to say, 'I don't know,' for fear of appearing unintelligent or uninformed.

We can all relate to her premise. At one time or another, we have all been afraid to say, “I Don’t Know” for fear of appearing unintelligent or uninformed. But Cohen reminds us that sometimes wisdom is borne from admitting ignorance. Ultimately, she concludes that doubt allows us to listen better, communicate more effectively, and “embrace a natural part of being human: not knowing.”

Doubt allows us to listen better, communicate more effectively, and 'embrace a natural part of being human: not knowing.'

Parents may appreciate how Cohen has applied her premise to childrearing. In an opinion piece, entitled “In Parenting, When Is It Okay to Say ‘I Don’t Know’?” Cohen talks about the important value of admitting ignorance to your children.

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Cohen is an Explo faculty alumna and a current member of Explo's Curriculum Advisory Board. She is the Jenks Chair in Contemporary American Letters at the College of the Holy Cross and an instructor in the MFA creative writing program at Lesley University. To learn more about this talented Explo alum and her prolific career, we encourage you to visit her website.

By Lauren Frazier

Tag: Alumni News

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