Sunday, June 13, 2010

76 - The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ are Wrong; David Shenk

I think all of us probably know someone with superior intelligence who was born to parents of just average intelligence. How does that happen?  In The Genius in All of Us , author David Shenk attempts to show the reader why genius is not all about the genes we were born with. Shenk explains why intelligence is more of a combination of genes and the environment we were raised in, along with outside stimuli, that determines our potential for greatness.

Sadly, the majority of us never reach our potential for greatness in our lifetime. According to the author, if you want something bad enough, you must do it over and over and over again, never giving up until you succeed. Most of us give up on early dreams and sometimes even career pursuits when the going get rough. Why do some of us have more drive than others? Why are some of us quitters while others would never think of quitting?

Studies have shown that children who early on have been spoken to often, read to on a regular basis, nurtured and encouraged to achieve, have a better chance of achieving greatness. There is one chapter in particular that I found very interesting called: How to Ruin (or Inspire) a Kid, proving parenting does matter.

The author uses numerous examples and case studies where hard work and self discipline have resulted in outstanding achievement.  One example was the famous baseball played Ted Williams who began hitting baseballs at the age of six every waking hour of free time. Reportedly he never stopped practicing until his hands began to bleed. He wasn't born talented, he just worked harder than everyone else at it.

MY THOUGHTS - I really enjoyed this audio book, read by Mark Deakins. I found this book well researched and case studies just fascinating.
RECOMMENDED - 4.5/5 stars
Library audio book


  1. When I saw the title of this post/book, I rushed over, even though I was in the middle of setting up some links in a post of my own.

    Fascinating review, and I'd love to read this book and learn more about developing genius. :)

  2. This one sounds truly interesting. I should make time for more non-fiction!

  3. We have discussed this book in our reading group and, while I have not read it, I still have an opinion based on what others have posted.

    I do not care how much they practice a skill, some people will NEVER succeed, let alone excel. I have a daughter who was a competitive figure skater and I know that practice does NOT always make perfect. For every Tara Lipinsky (whom I watched practice every day) there are 100 or even 1000 skaters who practiced just as hard but ever achieved any level of success.

  4. I hear what you are saying JoAnn. Of course, like anything there are exceptions.

    I wanted to be a model, but I wasn't tall or thin...LOL

  5. Susan, did not mean to throw you off routine, but I think you will probably enjoy this one as much as me. (I hope so)

  6. It's such an interesting topic, isn't it? My husband and I were talking about this very subject this morning and then I come in and find your review. :-)

  7. DIane, I would love this book. I've always been fascinated by the whole nature/nurture thing, and I recently read a great article in Sports Illustrated about genes and whether or not talent is hereditary. Of course it was sports related and not about intelligence, but fascinating nonetheless.

    I'm a nonfiction fan, so I'm going to put this on the list :) Thanks for your thoughts.

  8. Ooh, this sounds great! I love the science behind genetics as I think we assume a lot of things that are not true...

  9. I have always leaned more to the nuture side than nature (apart from those with development disabilities). Thanks for spotlighting another terrific nonfiction read!

  10. This sounds like a fascinating book, and also a great book for parents. I think that it would be very interesting to learn about the things that inspire genius, and I am going to have to put this book on my list. Thanks for the great review! I will be looking for it!!

  11. This makes sense... the harder you work at something, the better you will be at it. Yet what is it that makes some of us work harder and some of us give up so easily?

  12. This looks like a perfect gift for my hubby. And, of course, I'd get tot read it too :)


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