The best thing about this book is that it is positive about teenagers. The media is full of negative coverage of teenagers. Further, books about teenagers tend to concentrate on the problems they have and how to cope with them, essentially treating teenage-hood as a type of annoying temporary disease.
The author had chosen to make his (eye catching) thesis that teenagers represent the peak of being human and the teenage years are the key thing that differentiates us from other animals.
This is deliberately provocative, but he does an admirable job backing up his statements with a well-researched, well written book setting the latest scientific evidence on how children move though the teenage years and on to adulthood. The teenage years are not just a transition, but a stage of life in its own right, and a great one at that.
Anyone with teenagers, or who knows any, will recognize the descriptions of their enthusiasm, mood-swings, relationships and introspection. There is no dogma here: he runs though the scientific evidence, which is often conflicting and then he assesses what it might mean in practice. Development, health, sex, drugs and relationships are all covered.
There is real humanity in this book. The science is warmed with practical illustrations and a real affection for the subjects of his investigation.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone with teenagers. Their rebelliousness, laziness, risk-taking and lack of respect may be maddening for their parents and other adults. This offers some explanations as to why, even if the key one is just that they are actually superior to us grown-ups.