Off the Charts by Ann Hulbert
The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies

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...delivers something infinitely richer — a nuanced study of the lives of 15 child prodigies, as well as the parents and mentors who shaped them, and the theories that (tried to) explain them.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

From the author of the widely praised Raising America--a compelling exploration of child genius told through the gripping stories of fifteen exceptionally gifted boys and girls, from a math wonder a century ago to young jazz and classical piano virtuosos today. A thought-provoking book for a time when parents anxiously aspire to raise "super children" and experts worry the nation is wasting the brilliant young minds it needs.

Ann Hulbert examines the lives of children whose rare accomplishments have raised hopes about untapped human potential and questions about how best to nurture it. She probes the changing role of parents and teachers, as well as of psychologists and a curious press. Above all, she delves into the feelings of the prodigies themselves, who push back against adults more as the decades proceed. Among the children are the math genius Norbert Wiener, founder of cybernetics, a Harvard graduate student at age fifteen; two girls, a poet and a novelist, whose published work stirred debate in the 1920s; the movie superstar Shirley Temple and the African American pianist and composer Philippa Schuyler; the chess champion Bobby Fischer; computer pioneers and autistic "prodigious savants"; and musical prodigies, present and past. Off the Charts also tells the surprising inside stories of Lewis Terman's prewar study of high-IQ children and of the postwar talent search begun at Johns Hopkins, and discovers what Tiger Mom Amy Chua really has to tell us. But in these moving stories, it is the children who deliver the most important messages.
 

About Ann Hulbert

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Published January 9, 2018 by Knopf. 400 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Self Help. Non-fiction
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Star Tribune

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Reviewed by Rachel Sugar on Jan 12 2018

...delivers something infinitely richer — a nuanced study of the lives of 15 child prodigies, as well as the parents and mentors who shaped them, and the theories that (tried to) explain them.

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