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


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 ...
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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.
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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
From The Critics
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

  • ISBN-13: 9780910707435
  • Publisher: Anodyne, Inc. DBA Great Potential Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 370
  • Sales rank: 449,762
  • 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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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
Section I Giftedness and Masculinity 15
Chapter 1 Our Follow-Up Study of Gifted Men 17
Chapter 2 Who Are These Gifted Boys? 39
Chapter 3 All Those Books about Boys 81
Section II Milestones and Danger Zones 99
Chapter 4 The Young Gifted Boy 101
Chapter 5 The Adolescent Gifted Boy 125
Chapter 6 The Adult Gifted Male 155
Section III Special Challenges for Gifted Boys 175
Chapter 7 Underachievement 177
Chapter 8 Gifted Sociopaths, Redeemable Rebels, and How to Tell the Difference 201
Chapter 9 They're Called Sissies, Fat Boys, and Nerds 229
Chapter 10 Gifted Minority Boys 255
Section IV Guiding Smart Boys 275
Chapter 11 The Gifted Male in the Family 277
Chapter 12 Guiding the Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual Development of Gifted Males 301
Chapter 13 Realization of Potential for Gifted Males: Courage, Creativity, and Commitment 319
Index 343
About the Authors 359
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2001

    Smart Boys by Barbara Kerr and Sanford Cohn

    This book provides everyone who reads it an understanding of the challenges gifted males experience as children and as adults. The stories make readers aware of how we are not all the same and that our individual nature needs to be nourished. If this happens these boys can grow into confident men, if not, their gifts are sadly compromised. Each chapter deals with the specific problems boys have in being as smart as they are and how our culture--be it family or social--needs to become more aware of nurturing the individual aspects of each child's personality so they can develop into the totality of who they are meant to be. This book is very readable and flows through the personal and collective stories that all males--gifted in a variety of ways and from various backgrounds--experience as they struggle to become themselves. We can all learn more about how to treat the unusual and valuable aspects of those gifted boys and men we deal with daily from reading this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2001

    A Must-Read for Parents of Smart/Gifted/Creative Boys

    Smart Boys is a must read for anyone who loves or works with gifted men and boys. I've read other recently published books about boys in today's society, and in each book, although I felt I came away with a better understanding of most other boys, I didn't feel that I understood my own son's needs better. Smart Boys will speak to many parents like me who need a book that talks about their gifted sons, gifted brothers, gifted husbands and gifted fathers, or, for fathers and other men, themselves. The book offers exciting new possibilities for understanding what it means to be a boy and man in today's world, and raises some interesting and perhaps controversial topics for thought and discussion and suggestions for raising smart boys.

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