Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined: The Truth about Talent, Practice, Creativity, and the Many Paths to Greatness

Kaufman Scott, Author
Scott Barry Kaufman. Basic, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-465-02554-1
Ebook - 427 pages - 978-0-465-03789-6
Paperback - 424 pages - 978-0-465-06696-4
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The vexed issues of what great intelligence is and whether it’s as crucial to success as we imagine spur this fascinating treatise on cognitive psychology. Psychologist and Psychology Today blogger Kaufman explores the many controversial questions surrounding intelligence and its cultivation. Is it a single thing measurable by an IQ number, or a repertoire of distinct talents? Is it dictated by genes or shaped by environment? Does it foretell creative intellectual contributions or is it just an index of test-taking skills and the result of having a well-heeled family? Can people develop and increase their intelligence—and how? (Practice and “grit,” it seems, can move mountains.) Kaufman explores the subject through a smart, lucid, and down-to-earth exposition of the underlying neuroscience and the contentious history of theories of intelligence, and delves into lurid expressions of giftedness: child prodigies; savants with astounding memories; brilliant artists teetering on the brink of madness. He interweaves episodes from his own youth as a decidedly ungifted special-ed kid diagnosed with a learning disability who, through determination and pluck, overcame doubts that he could finish high school and wound up at Yale and Cambridge. Blending incisive analysis with a warm sympathy for intellectual insecurities—and potential—Kaufman demonstrates that even the most ordinary mind is a strange and wondrous gift. Photos & appendices. Agent: Giles Anderson, Anderson Literary Agency. (June 4)
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