With irresistibly persuasive vigor, David Shenk debunks the long-standing notion of genetic giftedness, and presents dazzling new scientific research showing how greatness is in the reach of every individual.
DNA does not make us who we are. Forget everything you think you know about genes, talent, and intelligence, he writes. In recent years, a mountain of scientific evidence has emerged suggesting a completely new paradigm: not talent scarcity, but latent talent abundance.
Integrating cutting-edge research from a wide swath of disciplines, cognitive science, genetics, biology, child development, Shenk offers a highly optimistic new view of human potential. The problem isn't our inadequate genetic assets, but our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have. IQ testing and widespread acceptance of innate abilities have created an unnecessarily pessimistic view of humanity and fostered much misdirected public policy, especially in education.
The truth is much more exciting. Genes are not a blueprint that bless some with greatness and doom most of us to mediocrity or worse. Rather our individual destinies are a product of the complex interplay between genes and outside stimuli-a dynamic that we, as people and as parents, can influence.
This is a revolutionary and optimistic message. We are not prisoners of our DNA. We all have the potential for greatness.
©2010 David Shenk (P)2010 Random House
As a researcher on the topic of genius myself, I was very impressed with Shenk's take on the topic. He weaves together several promising lines of research to create a convincing narrative. Furthermore, he has a gift for explaining difficult concepts (e.g., heritability) and research (e.g., epigenetics). I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in genius, intelligence, creativity, and human development more generally. Brilliant!
mostly nonfiction listener
Sort of a companion piece to Gladwell's Outliers. The two books go together well as Shenk is taking on an orthodoxy of thought around the gifted few - the geniuses. Important for parents and educators to understand the potential in our kids and students to achieve if given means and motivation to practice.
Avid reader and listener, I enjoy history, popular science, suspense and legal thrillers with a dash of epic fantasy thrown in for flavor.
I have been reading extensively on talent and IQ for about three years. You know the regular suspects: Outliers, The Talent Code, Talent is Overrated, Bounce and the likes.
Shenk's book is fascinating in the depth of the science he goes into. With the book you get his full endnotes in PDF, which is quite the launching pad for further reading and research.
Well written, very well researched and very intersting.
This is a great book. It's very up to date with citation of many of modern scientific studies. Usually a book like this is very up and down. Some exciting research mixed with some very boring downside. But this managed to keep me on my toes. I am actually looking forward to listening this again after listening to a few other books about neurology and psychology, hopefully gaining a better understanding of the whole picture. I loved how they brought up the most successful people being the ones who did not give up. It's really all a numbers game, this concept went beautifully with
I listened to the concluding chapter a few times because it sums up the book really well.
I can't suggest this enough.
I love (audio)books.
David Shenk does a deeper dive into what causes genius, beyond where Gladwell took us. Specially the genetics/ dna/ epigenetic part. Well researched insights. Worth reading (listen).
I read this book from the perspective of 'parent' and found it quite enlightening. My children are involved in activities outside of school and this book gave me some sense of what math clubs, competitive soccer, piano, and other activities will do for my children as well as what they will not do. It left me with the final query of whether I would even want to wish genius upon my children.
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