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18 Reviews
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read but there could be more detail
I was really looking forward to this one, having read all of Po Bronson's previous stuff (was mostly highly impressed), and being highly interested in the topic. My expectations might have been coloured by that in the sense that I was expecting a more comprehensive treatise on all interesting developments in child psychology over the last 20 years.

Overall a...
Published on 21 Sep 2009 by AK

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read with a pinch of salt.
I enjoyed reading this book and it raises some very valid points. The book is easy to read and the research explained clearly. I particularly enjoyed the chapter 'the lost hour'. However, there are flaws in some of the research studies used to back up the authors points (particularly in the chapter 'why white parents don't talk about race') and not one of these flaws is...
Published 8 months ago by Allrightnow2


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read but there could be more detail, 21 Sep 2009
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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I was really looking forward to this one, having read all of Po Bronson's previous stuff (was mostly highly impressed), and being highly interested in the topic. My expectations might have been coloured by that in the sense that I was expecting a more comprehensive treatise on all interesting developments in child psychology over the last 20 years.

Overall a 4/5, for the simple fact that the result that came out from the research that went in, was a bit too sparse in my opinion. While I have no trouble agreeing to all the findings and very much like the process of showing how iterative efforts are necessary at uncovering working principles, as opposed to intuitively appealing concepts, which tend not to be borne out of practice, I have expected a more thorough analysis of the issues.

Another negative for me was a somewhat lacking introduction, where the authors would explain in more detail, why the specific aspects discussed were chosen, whether those are all the areas, where a change of perspective took place, and if not, why the authors considered those most important.

On the plus side, the conclusions drawn do not ever seem flimsy and complete references are included. The authors also successfully avoid the current trend towards endlessly repeating the same basic concept with different examples, so the 239 pages of content have been thoroughly combed through with Occam's razor. The style, however, seems to strongly mirror what they would have used in the newspaper articles, which predated this book (and were based on the same research), which makes the book very readable but I personally found less than optimal in the book format, where I felt the authors would provide much more depth to the reasoning and the conclusions.

To summarise, if one reads the book as a parent in search of tips how to make their child nurturing more effective, the book delivers to the full. If one is interested in a more abstract fashion in what developments took place in child / developmental psychology in the last 20 years but does not have the time to follow the relevant literature on a regular basis, the book is still OK but not a 5 star.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for parents, 22 Feb 2010
Upon receipt of this book I immediately took issue with the title, how could everything we think about raising our children be wrong ? Surely we have an innate sense of how to raise our own children, or do we ? This book provides a hefty challenge to so many of our previously indisputable parenting principles. For instance the cornerstone of any relationship is communication, the childs first words are usually uttered as a result of parental influence, other factors are at play of course but for the first couple of years the majority of language will be learned through the parents. So we buy DVD's to help with language development and needlessly prop up a multi-billion dollar industry. Sitting our children in front of this " educational tool " while we potter around the house with a clear conscience, happy in the knowledge that junior is busy learning and will be a step ahead of all the other kids. Wrong, a scientific study has shown that the use of such aids will actually decrease the childs vocabulary and proves detrimental to their development. Talking to your child while making eye contact is far better and cheaper too !

Other areas to be discussed are, why the wrong type of praise can actually hinder the childs development, why children sleep on average one hour less than thirty years ago and the effect it has on their health, IQ and emotional well being. The contentious issue of race and how it's handled by parents, why kids lie and why siblings really fight. My personal favourite was the chapter on how gifted children are assessed and educated, the claims by educators to have it down to a fine art yet the studies show they are wrong 73% of the time ! We are shown why teen rebellion is a goood thing, how self control can be taught and how watching kids DVD's can make young children more aggressive.

I'm the proud parent of a seven week old and I must admit to being daunted by parenthood, I've had a head full of preconceptions and misconceptions about parenting for quite some time and I imagine we all believe we are the best parent. Beliefs are fallible but experience is a great teacher while guidance is invaluable, this book does not pontificate, it's not verbose but yet it encourages further inquiry. Holes are poked in the delusion of good parenting and I think by reading this book with an open mind, you will have done more for your child than any tiny tot educational DVD could hope for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the good books for parents, 15 May 2011
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Loved the fact that it is analysing only facts and hard core research and it is not another one of these books where so called "experts" tell you how to raise your kid. Really interesting topics, and really valuable debates.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read but there could be more detail, 1 Feb 2010
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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I was really looking forward to this one, having read all of Po Bronson's previous stuff (was mostly highly impressed), and being highly interested in the topic. My expectations might have been coloured by that in the sense that I was expecting a more comprehensive treatise on all interesting developments in child psychology over the last 20 years.

Overall a 4/5, for the simple fact that the result that came out from the research that went in, was a bit too sparse in my opinion. While I have no trouble agreeing to all the findings and very much like the process of showing how iterative efforts are necessary at uncovering working principles, as opposed to intuitively appealing concepts, which tend not to be borne out of practice, I have expected a more thorough analysis of the issues.

Another negative for me was a somewhat lacking introduction, where the authors would explain in more detail, why the specific aspects discussed were chosen, whether those are all the areas, where a change of perspective took place, and if not, why the authors considered those most important.

On the plus side, the conclusions drawn do not ever seem flimsy and complete references are included. The authors also successfully avoid the current trend towards endlessly repeating the same basic concept with different examples, so the 239 pages of content have been thoroughly combed through with Occam's razor. The style, however, seems to strongly mirror what they would have used in the newspaper articles, which predated this book (and were based on the same research), which makes the book very readable but I personally found less than optimal in the book format, where I felt the authors would provide much more depth to the reasoning and the conclusions.

To summarise, if one reads the book as a parent in search of tips how to make their child nurturing more effective, the book delivers to the full. If one is interested in a more abstract fashion in what developments took place in child / developmental psychology in the last 20 years but does not have the time to follow the relevant literature on a regular basis, the book is still OK but not a 5 star.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read - but I wanted more...., 21 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. Simon R. Waters (UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is fascinating, and well worth reading. It may challenge many of the ideas you have about children's development.

The book is quite short, with about a third given over to references and notes. There is an implicit assumption you understand US school system and the corresponding terminology, but not impenetrable to this Brit.

Usually the narrative is clear, and flowing, and conveys difficult concepts well. Every so often when presenting the results of a scientific study, it leaves off before it has really covered enough background to the study making it hard to understand how generally applicable a result is.

The first two chapters covered topics I'd learnt about before, but they are well presented, and the focus on children, and explaining the original research behind the ideas, broadened and deepened my understanding.

One of the few books I will definitely reread. Wish it had been written 18 months earlier. If you only buy one book about parenting, buy this one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read with a pinch of salt., 30 Mar 2014
I enjoyed reading this book and it raises some very valid points. The book is easy to read and the research explained clearly. I particularly enjoyed the chapter 'the lost hour'. However, there are flaws in some of the research studies used to back up the authors points (particularly in the chapter 'why white parents don't talk about race') and not one of these flaws is mentioned. Therefore it doesn't give a particularly balanced view and It didn't convince me of its tag line 'why everything we think about raising our children is wrong'.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Articulate Explanation, 3 Mar 2010
By 
A. D. Caller "acaller" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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As an expert Educational Consultant I read this book expecting in advance that it would yet another publication that professed common sense when indeed the common sense expressed by many such publications is far from common. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find instead that Bronson has fashioned an articulate, well argued and substantive account of what those who work in Education and advise families when things are not going well at school, as I do, already knew. Even so, there is much to learn from Bronson - it is no surprise to anyone that teenagers do better if they get an extra hour's sleep in the morning - but while the chapter summaries might appear predictable in some ways, the information that Bronson uses to back up his assertions are profound, his sources sure, and his conclusions will argued and clear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for parents and educators, 26 Dec 2012
By 
M. Mildiner - See all my reviews
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So much high quality research distilled into such a compact and readable format.
I highly enjoyed this and have shared it with many friends.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative, 15 April 2010
By 
J B (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
Not usually a reader of non-fiction but had read so many good reviews about this book (and some excerpts) that I decided to buy it. Found it really easy to read and interesting. Also not threatening (as a parent-to-be some books on children/child development make you feel as though if you don't do it their way you'll be consigning your child to a future of deprivation/hopelessness/deep psychological torment!). The chapters stand alone so you can mix and match according to your interest. Would recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a must for everyone involved with children, 28 April 2014
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The best book for an overview on research on parenting and education - teaching - a must for everyone involved with children
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