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The Genius in All of Us
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With irresistibly persuasive vigor, David Shenk debunks the long-standing notion of genetic "giftedness," and presents dazzling new scientific research showing how greatness is in the reach of every individual. DNA does not make us who we are. "Forget everything you think you know about genes, talent, and intelligence," he writes. "In recent years, a mountain of scientific evidence has emerged suggesting a completely new paradigm: not talent scarcity, but latent talent abundance." Integrating cutting-edge research from a wide swath of disciplines--cognitive science, genetics, biology, child development--Shenk offers a highly optimistic new view of human potential. The problem isn't our inadequate genetic assets, but our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have. IQ testing and widespread acceptance of "innate" abilities have created an unnecessarily pessimistic view of humanity--and fostered much misdirected public policy, especially in education. The truth is much more exciting. Genes are not a "blueprint" that bless some with greatness and doom most of us to mediocrity or worse. Rather our individual destinies are a product of the complex interplay between genes and outside stimuli-a dynamic that we, as people and as parents, can influence. This is a revolutionary and optimistic message. We are not prisoners of our DNA. We all have the potential for greatness.
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About the Author

DAVID SHENK is the national bestselling author of five previous books, including "The Forgetting, Data Smog, " and most recently, "The Immortal Game." He is a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com, and has contributed to "National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, Gourmet, Harper's, The New Yorker, "NPR, and PBS.

Reviews

"[Shenk] tells engaging stories, lucidly explains complex research and offers fresh insights in the nature of exceptional peformance, such efforts have resulted in a deeply interesting and important book. David Shenk may not be a genius yet, but give him time."-- "New York Times Book Review" "Inspired..."The Genius in All of Us" has quietly blown my mind."--"Salon" ..".a welcome new book...you'll find [Shenk] a fluid, easy writer..."The Genius in All of Us "is a quick, compelling read." - "The Boston Globe" "Empowering...myth-busting...highly readable...entertaining." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS "Intent on burying the concept of inborn genius, Shenk uses the 128 pages of "The Argument" to drive home how mistaken the notion of being genetically destined at birth to be a Mozart or a Michael Jordan is. For genes aren't the inalterable essences that environmental effects merely help out; rather, genes and environment interact to realize a person's potential in a constant and complicated process that Shenk attractively exemplifies through the athletic life of Ted Williams, who began hitting practice at age six and, equally important, never gave it up; also, considered to have magically sharp sight, he tested only high normal upon entering naval aviation--the thing was, he developed himself to, as Ty Cobb said, "see more of the ball than any man alive." En route to the startling revelation that Lamarckism (variation by inheritance, not Darwinian natural selection) has truth in it, after all, Shenk corrects common knowledge about what twin studies and IQ tests really show; clarifies the arguably most misunderstood genetics term, "heritable"; and scientifically revives faith in not just practice and determination but also parenting and lifestyle as crucial factors, along with genes, in the realization of talents. Since this flies in the face of a century of genetic determinism, Shenk employs the equally engrossing 141 pages of "The Ev

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