The author is a psychologist who explodes the myths surrounding talent, practice, genius, and intelligence. As a child, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman was essentially told that he was too dumb to make anything of his life. The results of an IQ test sent him straight to a special school for learning disabled students, and when he returned to the public school system he was immediately tracked into the slow lane. A book he consulted in the local library told him that, at his IQ range, receiving a high school diploma would be an achievement. A decade and a half later, Kaufman is a professor at NYU, having received a PhD in psychology from Yale. Ungifted is Kaufman's attempt to explain his success by questioning everything we kw about the predictors and pitfalls surrounding the pursuit of intellectual greatness. He explores the latest psychological research in genetics (including the cutting-edge research on epigenetics) and neuroscience, as well as evolutionary, developmental, positive, and cognitive psychology, to uncover the truth about human potential. What he finds is surprising. For example, it turns out that IQ is a poor predictor of lifetime creative achievement, despite the fact that it's treated-especially in the school years-as the end-all-be-all of intelligence metrics. More generally, Kaufman discovers that your genes affect the rate at which you learn something, but talented genes aren't the only route to accelerated learning. Ultimately, he argues, forcing everyone-dyslexics, autistics, prodigies, savants-through an educational system designed exclusively for high-IQ types who score well on a particular kind of test is a disservice to us all. Kaufman peels away labels like gifted and talented to reveal the diversity of paths to success, showing that what we need is a more holistic approach that takes into account each person's specific psychology. Weaving together research, anecdotes, and a singular compassion, Ungifted proves that anyone - even those without observable gifts at any given point in time - can become great.
Scott Barry Kaufman is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University. He completed his doctorate in cognitive psychology at Yale University in 2009, and holds an M.Phil. in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge. In addition to publishing more than 25 book chapters and articles in top professional journals, Kaufman is the editor of the forthcoming Beyond Talent or Practice? : The Complexity of Greatness. His work has been covered in media outlets such as Scientific American Mind and Men's Health, and he writes a popular blog for Psychology Today called Beautiful Minds.