Genius in All of Us PBK – press release
The Genius In All of Us
Why everything you’ve been told about genetics, talent and intelligence is wrong
PUBLICATION DATE: 11 JANUARY 2011
£8.99 ● Paperback ● ISBN 978-184831-218-0
‘A deeply interesting and important book.’ New York Times
‘The Genius in All of Us has quietly blown my mind.’ Salon.com
‘Cogent and compelling … The Genius in All of Us will convince many readers that the conventional wisdom about talent is due to be overthrown. Shenk gets that revolution well under way.’ The Week
‘Shenk robustly disputes the popular belief that intelligence and talent are genetically predetermined, and methodically explains the thousands of hours of practice behind the ‘genius’ of a host of musical and athletic superstars (and those amazing London cabbies).’ Freakanomics Blog
‘The thinking man’s Outliers.’ New York Magazine
“Shenk’s explanation of the science involved is lucid and accessible… the implications of his argument for teachers are clear. Books with such profound implications for education don’t come along very often” Australian Educator
In THE GENIUS IN ALL OF US bestselling author David Shenk reveals how talent is not a thing which is possessed or not possessed by individuals, but rather a process which we can learn and harness to achieve greater and greater things. At the heart of his persuasive, inspiring and controversial book is the argument that discipline, not genius, is responsible for greatness in individuals.
This ambitious book boldly rejects the conventional ideas and images of genes as “genetic blueprints”. We are used to thinking about talent as somehow supernaturally bestowed on people, which is illustrated in our use of phrases such as “gifted”, “good genes”, “innate ability”, “natural-born painter/ runner/ writer”. Our culture traditionally regards superior talent as a rare and mysterious gift bequeathed to a lucky few: our educators have built curricula around this understanding of ability, using systems such as selective streaming in schools, and I.Q. and other “ability” tests to determine which of us are ‘naturally’ more intelligent than others.
But in THE GENIUS IN ALL OF US Shenk argues that genes do not dictate individual destinies and that we are in fact a complex product of the interaction between our genes and the environment. He suggests that if we can learn to recognise that talent abundant and plentiful, then we could tap into a limitless source of human ability and intelligence.
This excellent, accessible and well-researched book examines both the emerging science of epigenetics, the study of how the environment modifies the way genes are expressed, and the nature of exceptional ability and how it arises which, as Shenk illustrates, science is revealing to be the product of highly concentrated effort.
What is so compelling about THE GENIUS IN ALL OF US is that it forces us to think about talent and intelligence from a developmental perspective. It rejects the idea of “innate” talent but not to replace it simply with “hard work.” Shenk’s ultimate message is “genetic influences matter, parenting matters, culture matters – and all in the context of their interaction with one another.”
If you were intrigued by Outliers, then this is the book to read. THE GENIUS IN ALL OF US brings the public up to date with the developing science behind Gladwell’s ideas, and some new ones too.
Labelled “deeply interesting and important,” by the New York Times, THE GENIUS IN ALL OF US is a call to all who aspire to achieve, in any arena and on any level. It is perfectly timed for the New Year New You features – and in a world obsessed with discovering innate abilities, the evidence gathered here offers a refreshing re-examination of fixed, inborn assets replacing it with the notion of buildable, developing assets. This is a revolutionary and optimistic message. We are not prisoners of our DNA. We all have the potential for greatness. The new science helps us understand how perfectly ordinary human beings grow up to do good, great, and even extraordinary things.
DAVID SHENK is the author of five previous books, including The Forgetting, Data Smog and most recently The Immortal Game. He is a contributor to National Geographic, Harper’s, The New Yorker, National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System, and a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com.
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