Top positive review
A massive, dense well researched book.
8 June 2016
A massive investigation into the demographics surrounding intelligence and American society. Much of the writing applies to the UK too. This book isn't exactly easy reading and takes some effort to work through, the results are well worth it though.
The central argument of the book is that intelligence is a strong predictor of life prospects, including the chance of getting a good job, being happily married, avoiding drugs, crime, large families and children born out of wedlock. The result of trends in US Society is seeing two separate groups emerge which increasingly have less and less interaction with each other. It follows that charity is not able to help poor people on the whole as their poverty is a result of their low intelligence.
Emotive reactions and politically correct thinking shouldn't interfere with scientific facts, if IQ is indeed hereditary to a large extent then nothing we say or feel will alter that. Having said this, there are plenty of people willing to twist data and misrepresent facts to suit their own far-right racist views. I'd warn the reader to be both open minded and critical of the book and to draw their own conclusions based on their wider knowledge of this debate.
I wasn't totally clear who the book was written for, the general public or academics? The book seems a little bloated and dry for your average reader but it seems to have been marketed to them. I felt the authors too were a little hesitant to draw conclusions from their data. Predicting the future is far from easy and making policy recommendations which will work is often even harder.
I wasn't convinced that the book did enough to take into account the social and economic barriers often found in societies around the world by which the children of the wealthy and privileged are given a much bigger hand up in life. The dismantling of some of these barriers is surely necessary before we can fairly judge. Plants growing in inferior quality soil will be unlikely to grow to the same height as those not, regardless of genetics. The book does argue using statistics that the brighter children of poorer parents will over the course of time achieve higher levels of success in their lives than those dull children born into middle class families.