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He first came to cancel culture. Now he wants to cancel smartphones

Mr. Haidt's writing promises these powerful players something elusive: a scientific and social explanation of the crises they face, combined with a Silicon Valley founder's level of confidence about how to solve them. (Mr. Haidt often sounds like what might happen if the destructive Cassandra swallowed Dale Carnegie: alarmed by the disasters humans have concocted, but stubbornly doubting our ability to undo them.)

Toby Shannan, the former chief operating officer of e-commerce company Shopify, sought Mr. Haidt's advice on dealing with ideological battles in the workplace. He said Mr. Haidt got him through a difficult time before the election of Donald J. Trump in 2016, when some of his employees were furious that Shopify hosted online gift stores for right-wing groups. like Breitbart News. With Mr. Haidt's guidance, Shopify determined that users could sell products with political commentary, but none with explicit calls to evil.

“He was sort of the philosopher of the dial,” Mr. Shannan said.

It was his work on “The Coddling of the American Mind,” diagnosing what became known as cancel culture, that propelled Mr. Haidt to the center of a debate that for years preoccupied opinion editors, blue accounts on Twitter and everyone's dads. He rode a wave of concern about the rising generation and became the voice of those who did not want to align themselves with the right-wing anti-cancel culture warriors, but who also felt alienated by the other side . For his readers, Mr. Haidt gave credence to the irritation of the left against the left – and, inevitably, the irritation of the right to the left as well.

Mr. Haidt has been interviewed by podcast heavyweights – Ezra Klein, Kara Swisher, Sam Harris, Dax Shepard, Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, Tim Ferris. At Bari Weiss podcast, he linked the chaos and confusion of today's world to what humanity experienced after the destruction of the Tower of Babel: “We may never be able to understand each other again. »

Priscilla Chan, co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, liked “The Pampering of the American Spirit,” so she contacted Mr. Haidt, he recalled, and they had dinner with her husband, Mark Zuckerberg. Mr. Haidt also spent a day lecturing at Meta on the effects of social media on mental health and democracy. Patrick Collison, chief executive of payment processing startup Stripe, is also a friend, Mr. Haidt said, and has rented “Pampering.” Bill Gates vouched for for “Pamper”. Barack Obama also seems to be a reader of Mr. Haidt. He gave a speech in 2015 which spoke of the pampering of students, and seemed to echo the themes from an Atlantic cover story which Mr. Haidt had written, with a co-author, as a precursor to the book.

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