Smart Boys : Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning

Smart Boys : Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning

by Barbara A. Kerr, Sanford J. Cohn

Boys will be boys--but gifted boys may need help. Depression, underachievement, sensitivity, and relationship struggles are just some of the issues that many smart boys face on a daily basis. This book presents suggestions to help gifted young men embrace optimism, motivation, and achievement, and it offers thought-provoking insights and tips for engaging in… See more details below


Boys will be boys--but gifted boys may need help. Depression, underachievement, sensitivity, and relationship struggles are just some of the issues that many smart boys face on a daily basis. This book presents suggestions to help gifted young men embrace optimism, motivation, and achievement, and it offers thought-provoking insights and tips for engaging in successful interactions. There are also interviews with gifted adult men who have experienced and overcome crises or failures.

Editorial Reviews

Today's Books
Colleagues Barbara Kerr, author of Smart Girls, and Sanford Cohn, founder of Center for Academic Precocity, offer ideas on steering bright male students toward academic success, healthy personal development.
Roeper Review
There is much of value to read and ponder from Smart Boys.
Fall, 2003
Prescribes ways to ensure that gifted boys meet their full potential.
"Parents and teachers dealing with particularly bright boys will find this book a useful and encouraging resource."
ERIC Clearing House for Disabilities and Education
Describes issues in parenting, teaching, mentoring, and guiding gifted boys and men.
Marten W. deVries
"This book is a welcome addition to the child-rearing literature, expanding the possibilities for the modern mother and family."
M.D. and Sec. General, World Federation for Mental Health (May 2000)
Vision Berlin Blank Center
A provocative piece of writing.
Gifted and Talented International
Smart Boys is a book to reread, and then to keep close for reference--it and Smart Girls too.
Professors of psychology in education, Kerr and Cohn produce a well-researched and thorough book about gifted children, teens, and adults. Each chapter ends with essential points that summarize the main topics and with a lengthy reference list. The authors also present original research relating to a group of male students who participated in an accelerated learning program in St. Louis in 1960. The fascinating research reports information on the impact that the education has had on the men as adults. The third section of the book, Special Challenges for Gifted Boys, includes four chapters devoted to challenges faced by gifted males, including underachievement, emotional problems, antisocial behavior, boredom, and violence. A chapter titled "They're Called Sissies, Fat Boys, and Nerds" focuses upon sexuality, obesity, and social skills. This chapter is useful for educators because gifted boys who are feminine, obese, or nerdy are often the target of bullies. There is also valuable information about why life is difficult for homosexual males who are gifted. Parents will find the final section on guiding gifted males as they grow into adulthood especially useful with its focus on each educational level, including college. This book is appropriate for all school, academic, and public libraries. Although it is written for adults, many gifted students might wish to learn more about what it means to be labeled as gifted. Adults and gifted teens will appreciate the background research, organized format, and obvious caring attitude about gifted males. Index. Source Notes. 2001, Great Potential Press, 368p, $24. Ages Adult. Reviewer: Sheila B. Anderson SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24,No.6)
Library Journal
This practical and provocative book explores the phenomenon of youthful male giftedness. Both professors of psychology in education at Arizona State University, Cohn and Kerr (Smart Girls: A New Psychology of Girls, Women, and Giftedness) combine original research based on a follow-up study of an accelerated-learning class from St. Louis, MO, in 1969 with a literature review of previous studies to ground their conclusions about giftedness and masculinity. Discussions cover life-cycle issues and the impact of giftedness on the academic and social adjustment of such boys, including problems of underachievement and antisocial personality characteristics. In addition to analyzing gifted minority youth, the book offers inspiring suggestions for guiding and parenting gifted boys. Conveying a clear sense of the loss of potential demonstrated by the starkly conventional lives of the St. Louis children as adults, the authors tackle deficiencies in the educational system and broader societal issues that inhibit talented boys. Accessibly and clearly written, this wide-ranging book should enrich the understanding of parents, teachers, and mentors. Its gender specificity also allows for concrete analyses and specific suggestions. Recommended for public libraries and specialized education collections.-Antoinette Brinkman, formerly with the Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

Anodyne, Inc. DBA Great Potential Press, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

Read an Excerpt


What is happening to our gifted boys? As psychologists who specialize in the development of talent, we hear disturbing news from our clients, our students, and the media. An overwhelming number of the bright boys who are referred to us and others for counseling are underachieving. That is, they are just not bothering to do their homework, and they are not getting involved in school activities. They are bored in the classroom and disengaged outside of the classroom. In some suburban high schools, it seems the girls are taking over the student government, the school paper, and the yearbook, while the boys have abdicated any and all leadership roles. Bright boys may see athletics as the one area in which they must achieve if they are to be valued and accepted, while they simultaneously camouflage being smart. Even though they may have a secret contempt for the attitudes they perceive as underlying school sports, they harbor no real hope of making any changes so that they, too, might receive the respect that athletes get.

In their adolescent relationships, they are often hesitant and distrustful. They may have only a few male friends. They dislike the superficial aspects of the dating game. Even though they may be contemptuous of the current dating system, they are confused about any alternative ways of relating to young women. Those who are gay are usually closeted, especially now in the wake of several recent conspicuous murders and other acts of violence toward gay males. Certainly, bullying is a frequent occurrence for them and their acquaintances, and they see the bumper stickers that say, "My child just beat up your honor student." The gifted boys whoare shy are often called "nerd," "dork," or "geek" by their agemates...

The real tragedy of the gifted male is that he has the cognitive complexity to understand the illusory nature of the quest for the masculine ideal, while at the same time feeling helpless to abstain from that quest. It is the thesis of this book that many gifted boys and men struggle throughout their lives to ignore the urgings of their intellect and creative selves in order to fulfill socially ordained masculine roles. It is our belief that parents and educators can and, indeed, must help our gifted boys tune in to their inner selves and, by doing so, help them realize their intellectual potential. This book examines and integrates current literature on boys and men with research on male giftedness in order to create new, practical approaches to guiding gifted boys. We present to the reader a new vision of what a gifted boy can become--a vision of courage, creativity, and commitment.

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