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The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told about Genetics, Talent and IQ is Wrong Audio Download – Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Format: Hardcover
Shenk: The genius in all of us.

The great thing about Shenk's book is that it casts out the belief in the immutability of intelligence. I grew up with the concept of "g" (general intelligence) and saw its profound effect on education. It suited stratified societies to continue the myth of "g" but it couldn't explain away drive and motivation. Yong Zhao (2009) also warned of the educational problem of high scores, low ability.

In an equation that acknowledges that intelligence is a function of environment (G X E), the triggers for intelligence growth were identified as:
1. Speaking to children early and often;
2. Reading early and often;
3. Nurturance and encouragement;
4. Setting high expectations;
5. Embracing failure;
6. Encouraging a `growth mindset'. (pp. 39-40)

In the story of Suzuki developing a world famous violin pedagogy, his starting point was a faith that every student has enormous potential, and then with parental support that potential is developed.

Shenk says that at birth the parents of the child have two alternatives:
a. The prodigy that is pushed by narcissistic parents, and then fall back into mediocrity in adulthood; or
b. The emotionally balanced child who will gather skills and develop greatness as an adult. Walter Mischel's marshmallow experiment of delayed gratification is still as relevant today as it was thirty years ago.

Epigenetics is an area of genetic study that is developing, and it claims that the effects of events and trauma can be transferred across generations. John Cloud wrote in Time magazine- Why Your DNA Isn't Your Destiny (January 6, 2010).

Shenk's contribution to genetics, education and life is his belief in the plasticity of human potential. All educators need to rejoice at this conclusion, and the book should be compulsory reading for all teachers and aspirant teachers.
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Format: Hardcover
The Genius in All of Us traverses a similar path to Talent is Overrated and Outliers, but has enough differences to warrant a look. Unlike Gladwell's splendid Outliers, which is more of a journalistic investigation and less aimed at personal development, The Genius in All of Us focusses on the specific type of 'hard practice' that high acheivers perform. Unlike Talent is Overrated, Shenk's focus is less on corporate excellence and more on personal excellence.

Shenk's focus seems more personal (almost -if one can forgive the cliche- existential), and this permeates throughout his work. At one point, he even discusses the struggles he has as a writer, and he clearly puts himself through some punishment in the writing and editing process, re-drafting until he is absolutely happy. As a consequence of his own perfectionism, this book is short, with only half of it being taken up by the actual text- the last half is his notes and references. It is good to see a book in this genre with a flora of referencing; I did however, feel a little cheated when I realised this book was over halfway through (especially after buying the hardback).

Had I been aware of this before hand, I would still have bought the book, and having realised Shenk's network of referencing at the back, I would have worked through his notes concurrently, as they do provide an extra level of analysis.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book tells a similar story to various others in so far as the increasingly accepted position that there is no such thing as talent and that effort and practice is what counts.

Please give this review a like if you find it helpful, thank you for reading.
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Format: Paperback
Whereas in Denise Shekerjian's book, Uncommon Genius, the focus is on 40 recipients of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship grant (often referred to as "the genius grant"), David Shenk's focus is on how and why, "dynamic development," greatness of achievement "is something to which any kid - of any age can [and should] aspire." If not in all of us, there is potential genius in most of us. "I am arguing that few of us ever get to know our own true potential, and that many of us mistake early difficulties for innate limits. I am arguing that genetic influence itself is not predetermined, but an ongoing process."

Shenk has done his homework, citing in his 25-page bibliography eight seminal articles published by K. Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University. For almost four decades, they have conducted research on the process of achieving peak performance. Their influence on Shenk soon becomes evident: He names Part One, Chapters One to Six, "The Myth of Gifts." The Ericsson research leaves little (if any) doubt about the importance of (on average) 10,000 hours of "deep, deliberate practice under strict and expert supervision. Natural talent ("gifts") and luck can also be factors. For example, when members of youth sports teams are grouped according to calendar year birthdays, those born during the first six months have an advantage and those born in January-March have a significant advantage.

Shenk suggests another factor to consider, also. "The genius-in-all-of-us is not some hidden brilliance buried inside of our genes. It is the very design of the human genome - built to adapt to the world around us and to the demands we put on ourselves.
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