Here's the Book in a Nutshell
"Who is smarter, Asians or Westerners? Are there genetic explanations for group differences in test scores? How can parents work to improve their child's intelligence? Can schools eliminate the social class and racial gaps in academic achievement? The book argues that intellect is not primarily genetically determined but is principally influenced by societal factors. There is a need to revamp our entire approach to education, because malleable, controllable factors like schools and social environment, and not hard-wired genetic codes, hold the keys to the future of intellectual advancement." Check out Dr. Nisbett's own web site at The University of Michigan
Why He's a Nominee for Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People
According to Malcolm Gladwell, the brilliant & best-selling author of Outliers, Blink and The Tipping Point:
"Richard Nisbett's Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count is a devastating and persuasive refutation of all those who believe intellectual ability is fixed at birth. Few Americans have done as much to deepen our understanding of what it means to be human."
What We Can Do To Make Our Kids & Ourselves Smarter
Carey Goldberg, of the Boston Globe, interviewed Nisbett and asked him for advice on how to make our kids and ourselves more intelligent. For the entire interview, "Get Smart", click here.
1. Talk to your kids a lot!!
"The child of professional parents hears 30 million words by age 3. For the child of working-class parents, it's 20 million, and the child of a welfare parent, it's 10 million. And the richness of vocabulary is utterly different: The 3-year-old child of professional parents uses a more advanced vocabulary talking to parents than a welfare mother does in talking to her child. In addition to talking to kids, there's reading to kids. Also, surprisingly, some things that happen before birth turn out to be important: Mothers who exercise have bigger babies with bigger brains. And it looks like breastfeeding can account for as much as 6 points in IQ."
2. If adults want to get smarter they need to EXERCISE & NOT RETIRE!
"Exercise. Don't retire. Hang around with smart people. Stay in school. You can start vigorous exercise in your 60s and reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer's by 50 percent. In countries with low retirement ages, the IQs of people drop more from age 50 to age 65 than they do in countries with high retirement ages." Read Happy Healthy Long Life regularly! Just kidding.
"The best evidence we have indicates that children with above-average self-control have higher intelligence." There's no question that self-control is a behavior that parents can teach their children.
4. Check out Chapter 10 - Raising your child's intelligence & your own. Look below for the excerpt!
Who Is Geoffrey Canada & How Does His Work Relate to Nisbett's?
I don't know if Nisbett mentions Canada in his book--but he should. I first heard about him on an Ira Glass This American Life radio broadcast. I was awestruck by his Harlem program, called "The Harlem Children's Zone". Here's the link to the episode, which aired 9/26/08. It's called, "Going Big", and it's Act One, "Harlem Renaissance". Thirty minutes long--but worthy of a listen.
Click on the "Full Episode" link on the left and listen to it in real time for free. If you want to download it to your Ipod, it will cost you 95 cents. I've listened to it twice. It's wonderful!
Excerpt from Terry Gross' Fresh Air episode interviewing Geoffrey Canada and Paul Tough.
It's the brainchild of education and social-services reformer Geoffrey Canada, and it's nothing less than an audacious poverty-eradication effort that, as Publishers Weekly explains, is "predicated upon changing everything" in the New York City neighborhoods it targets, "creating an interlocking web of services targeted at the poorest and least likely-to-succeed children."
As students progress through an all-day prekindergarten and then through a charter school, they have continuous access to community supports like family counseling, after-school tutoring and a health clinic
All of that institutional structure, Tough explains, is "designed to mimic the often-invisible cocoon of support and nurturance that follows middle-class and upper-middle-class kids through their childhoods."
How about a look at the Table of Contents & a free preview of this book?
Link to the Google excerpt of the book.
Table of Contents
1 Varieties of Intelligence 1
2 Heritability and Mutability 21
3 Getting Smarter 39
4 Improving the Schools 57
5 Social Class and Cognitive Culture 78
6 IQ in Black and White 93
7 Mind the Gap 119
8 Advantage Asia? 153
9 People of the Book 171
10 Raising Your Child's Intelligence ... and Your Own 182
Epilogue: What We Now Know about Intelligence and Academic Achievement 193