I really loved this book and hung on to every word even though its non fiction. It's easy to listen to and Dr. Sax makes excellent, believable points backed up by studies. As a parent to a little boy and also as a person who has witnessed the phenomenon that he is talking about, I found this book easy to get into and leaving me with several convictions about how I will parent my son.
This was not so much an eye opener but a confirmation of things I have observed over the last few years. I found myself saying, ' I knew it!, a lot.
So many studies have been done on this subject, and the results are quite alarming to me.
The narration of the book was perfect.
The link between plastic and low testosterone in young males was surprising to me. I started thinking about all the plastic Evenflo products my son had in his mouth as a baby.
I would recommend this book to a lot of people, especially those with young male children and teenagers. There are many things parents and teachers can learn from this book. I don't think of this book as spotlighting a problem, as much as how one might learn from the studies, and parent or teach differently to avoid this outcome.
Today, with my children in ski school and their father at work, I had a whole day of skiing by myself in the company of Dr Sax on audio, and my "Ski Tracks" app on my phone. My top speed today was 94 km/h (I ought to invest in a spine protector), and I never stopped between lifts as there was noone I had to wait for. Midmorning, however, I realised that for once I didn't resent the time spent on the chairlifts because I so enjoyed listening to the detailed theories by Mr Sax as to why boys today are not motivated and tend to underachieve, and this was the reason why I was skiing so fast! :-)
Now, that I've listened to the entire book, I want to get the latest edition in print so that I can stick in lots of little post-it notes and use the book as an actual reference book whenever needed.
On the book: I'd like to think that it's very well researched given the amount of studies quoted and names of researchers given, but the disadvantage of an audiobook is the lack of footnotes and bibliography that one could delve into. Dr Sax puts togehter a very comprehensive list of contributing factors, starting with 1) the educational system (too much theory, not enough practice: "Wissenschaft" versus "Kenntnis" as he says) that requires children to sit still and master literacy and numeracy at an age where they should be in a more playful environment, 2) evil videogames that fry your brain (not really news), 3) exposure to environmental oestrogens disrupting brain development, 4) lack of positive male role models to show boys what to aim for when they grow up and 5) overly frequent diagnoses of ADHD and prescriptions of medications to "quiet down" boys instead of adjusting teaching methods and environments.
I am so glad that my two sons (6 and 9 years old) have never played video games (yet) or been medicated for suspected ADHD. They both enjoy competitive sports, have plenty of exercise and physical outlets, and spent the first two years of their formal schooling in an outdoor Wald-Kindergarten (forest KG), an educational concept that Dr Sax is very keen to propagate in the US. On the downside, my children drink a lot of bottled water, exposing them to phtalates from PET bottles and other environmental oestrogens. Guess what? As of today, the tipple of choice (by me for them) is tap water served in glass jugs! With regard to single-sex schooling, this will be impossible to achieve as long as we live in Switzerland, as this is simply not done here, neither in public nor private schools, but I think this may only become important once puberty starts, not so much during primary school years.
This would be a great book for a book club that hosts parents and/or teachers, as well as relatives of boys and young men as some of Dr Sax's theories may be considered controversial by some.... a passionate discussion could ensue - fun!! Outside of discussion rounds, I'd recommend this read to all parents, particularly those in the US with sons.
As a European living in central Europe, I would have liked some more studies and statistics for this part if the world, as clearly this was very much a US focussed book, and many of the cultural and educational aspects are very different over here. I'd also like to have a more recent edition of the book; even though I only bought this audio book a couple of months ago, it actually is from 2007, and for a book based on scientific research on pharmaceuticals, neurology, child development, psychology and educational approaches, six to seven years on, some of the research is bound to be dated already.
University administrator. Commuter cyclist. Dad, husband. Loves books of course. Aspiring Jedi Knight and Warder.
Among non fiction, very high.
How much society is now structured to foil and confound the natural progression of boys. If your son struggling with school, you should listen to this book. It is very powerful. It is well researched and when combined with the research you'll see that the Dr. Sax's recommendations are actually common sense. We've really overdone and overthought society and this book is a call for us to go back to more modest times.
There are aha! moments throughout the book.
I'm an administrator at a university and I wanted to consider information about why young men are not being successful at university. I'm now researching mentoring programs exclusively for men. Because of this book!
Dr. Sachs has a very compelling theory suggesting that there are 5 critical elements that are major factors in the alarming number of men in America that are unmotivated and lack initiative. The changes in early childhood education, the frequent use of ADD medications for young boys, the lack of male role models, and other factors are laid out in a very easy to digest style. He references many patients he has seen, and offers an extensive number of research studies worldwide to support his theory. This would be especially valuable for parents of young boys who are showing behavioral issues where the signs are pointing toward ADD medications. Learning what current brain research shows will make you think more than twice about medicating with Adoral or Ridilin. And for those who are interested in learning about alternative early childhood programs and same sex education, there are some eye-opening examples and case studies.
Artfully presented case examples.
This book has some interesting parts on understanding boys and why they do the things they do. I think some parents would greatly benefit from the chapter on ADD (I think this may be the strongest part of the book).
I also wish I held back my son, as the author recommends, and had him start school later rather than earlier as he did.
I think the main weakness of the book is in the section on video games. There have been many studies on the impact of video games on boys, many of them conflicting each other. However, there seems to be a clear indication that there are benefits in playing video games and it appears they are not so far detached from reality as the author states.
What about surgical operations via remotely controlled robots? What about pilot trainers which allow pilots to prepare for real flights without endangering anyone's life? What about NASA astronauts who practice each aspect of their flights on electronic simulators? Aren't all these real life "video games"?
The part on video games was one of the main reasons I picked up this book hoping that it may provide some clarity on the subject. Unfortunately, the author missed the mark here. I was truly hoping to hear some suggestions on how parents could create a healthy balance of all important aspects in the typical boy's life including video games, outdoors activities, reading books, and doing well in school.
Hello, I'm excited to connect with you. My interests are, but not limited to: Philosophy, Psychology, Entrepreneurship, Male Oppression, Alternative Nutrition & Health, Cycling, and my Yogic practice :-)
I think the narration quality was top notch; didn't appreciate the character he injected into the section where Sax quotes a variety of listener emails he received.
Unless he revises his theory on how to help "boys adrift", no. Sax brings to light some serious issues that are contributing to boys "checking out" and "failing to launch" but, I feel, only penetrates the surface. I found his final chapter, where he outlines a possible solution to the problem, disturbing. His response to the boy epidemic boils down to shaming ie. "You're a big boy now, time to leave the video games behind."
Again, I think Sax has done a great thing and a wonderful job of shining a light on the state of boys in 2013, but he's not asking the essential questions. In regards to the lack of motivation around boys in school - perhaps being forced to attend could have *something* to do with it? The Unschooling movement has developed some great thinking in this area that helps address the plight of both genders, and offers an alternative that isn't actually new, but old! Before the prison we call "public schools" was developed, all children were essentially given much more free reign to learn what they wanted and exercise their natural volition as a human being. Sax, based on this reading, is entirely pro public school which is disheartening.
He barely grazes the surface of how the ideology of Feminism has demonized masculinity - this is another important factor in exploring "boys adrift."
Overall: An okay book on a serious issue in society that is *not* getting enough attention - but ultimately drops the ball by supporting public schools, not shining more of a light on how parenting can effect the motivation of boys, and ends up patronizing and shaming the very subject of the book. Maybe this topic is just too hard for an older generation to observe clearly. I highly recommend the work of Dr. Warren Farrell for a more comprehensive look at boys and men today.
ps. *way* too much pandering to a female audience and female issues. You could fill a library with literature that addresses Female Oppression. Considering the severity of Men's Oppression, and society's nearly total ignorance of it, we need all the focus and empathy to be on men if we want positive movement to occur.
Adopted a more objective, balanced tone when offering the ideas of the book - but this fault might lay more with the author.
Cut the feedback emails back a whole bunch - it went on and on (phew!).
Yes, this book really sheds light on why so many boys and young men are struggling in our society.
I've always been a strong supporter of education of women, but women are now the ones excelling. While I won't stop supporting efforts for girls and women, I think we need to develop new ways to support boys and young men.
Some practical reasons why boys are adrift and what we can do about it.
Lots of real life boys.
Boys need strong men, a community, in their lives.
A must get for anyone working with boys.