cover image Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence

Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence

Laurence Steinberg. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-544-27977-3

In this commentary on, and action plan for, raising young adults, Temple University psychology professor Steinberg (You and Your Adolescent) mines cutting-edge research that unveils the neuroplasticity of the teen brain—a discovery that makes adolescents “the new zero to three,” a time in which experiences greatly influence brain development and future success. During adolescence, the brain’s malleability offers extraordinary opportunity as well as great risk and peril (the latter if environments and experiences are toxic), Steinberg notes. The author calls upon parents, schools, and American society to take a new approach to this developmental stage. By parenting authoritatively, with warmth, firmness, and support, parents can help their children develop self-regulation and noncognitive skills that promote physical and psychological well-being. Explaining complex brain science in a clear-cut manner, Steinberg offers parents and educators practical advice, as well as innovative ideas about how society can better support its youth and adapt to the times; many of our youth-related issues, he asserts, are uniquely American. This is a convincing and eloquent call for change. [em]Agent: James Levine, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. (Sept.) [/em]