Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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***Smart Boys

Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning

by Barbara A. Kerr, PhD, and Sanford J. Cohn, PhD

Reviewed June 5, 2004.
Great Potential Press, Scottsdale, AZ, 2001.  358 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (155.332 KER).

Smart Boys is a book looking at the lives of gifted boys and men.  Barbara Kerr began by looking at the boys she grew up with who were identified as gifted and placed in a special program in St. Louis.  She and Dr. Cohn interviewed them and looked at how their adult lives had turned out.  The authors also looked at many other studies on gifted children and on the lives of boys.  They succeeded at taking a close look at the challenges, problems and opportunities facing smart boys today.

I liked the way this book wasn’t so much about tricks and techniques for making your son smarter.  Instead, it was a look at their whole lives and ideas for helping your smart son grow into a happy, fulfilled, and highly productive adult.  They looked at emotional and social aspects of a gifted boy’s life, not only at intellectual aspects.

One example of an interesting topic was a discussion that it may not be beneficial trying to force your son to be “well-rounded.”  Sometimes smart boys are paralyzed by having too many things that they are good at, and have trouble finding a focus.  If he has a passion, the authors encourage you to let him pursue it.

I felt that this book gave me some good things to think about for both my teenage son and my son who’s approaching middle school age.  I recommend it to any parent of a bright boy and also to teachers who have gifted boys in their classrooms.  Fathers and intelligent men may also find the book fascinating.  This book didn’t revolutionize my parenting or give me a wholly different outlook, but it did give me many things to think about.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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