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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.
|Introduction: The Kid||p. 5|
|The Myth of Gifts|
|Genes 2.0-How Genes Really Work||p. 13|
|Intelligence Is a Process, Not a Thing||p. 29|
|The End of "Giftedness" (and the True Source of Talent)||p. 43|
|The Similarities and Dissimilarities of Twins||p. 59|
|Prodigies and Late Bloomers||p. 69|
|Can White Men Jump? Ethnicity, Genes, Culture, and Success||p. 81|
|Clusters of ethnic and geographical athletic success prompt suspicions of hidden genetic advantages. The real advantages are far more nuanced-and less hidden.|
|How to be a Genius (or Merely Great)||p. 93|
|How to Ruin (or Inspire) a Kid||p. 104|
|Parenting does matter. There is much parents can do to encourage their kids to become achievers, and there are some important mistakes to avoid.|
|How to Foster a Culture of Excellence||p. 116|
|It must not be left to genes and parents to foster greatness; spurring individual achievement is also the duty of society. Every culture must strive to foster values that bring out the best in its people.|
|Genes 2.1-How to Improve Your Genes||p. 125|
|We have long understood that lifestyle cannot alter heredity. But it turns out that it can...|
|Epilogue: Ted Williams Field||p. 133|
|Sources and Notes, Clarifications and Amplifications||p. 139|
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