From Publishers Weekly
Clinical psychologist Cox's new work is a helpful, if incomplete, guide for anyone who work with children and teenagers, based on what he terms "Factor Ex," "shorthand for the eight pillars of executive control." These eight "thinking skills" are inherently worthy qualities: initiation (the ability to get started on a task), flexibility, attention, organization, planning, working memory (aka short-term memory), self-awareness and emotional regulation (maintaining a sense of "proportion" in one's feelings). Cox devotes a chapter to each skill, explaining clearly what it is, how adults can recognize their child's ability in each and helpful strategies for eliciting improvement. Situation-specific examples are extremely effective, giving readers a concrete sense of each skill's import, and what specifically one can say or do to help develop it. However, Cox's expectations for his charges are extremely high, suggesting that his methods will produce children capable "in multiple environments-on the football field and practicing piano; in the SAT prep course and socializing at the prom"; such a broad spectrum of confidence is a lot to promise, and for many people-let alone children-nearly impossible to achieve. Though he makes occasional nods to the idea of childhood as something other than a prep-for-success regimen, Cox's calls for "wiggle room" could be more insistent and involved; as it is, he leaves the kids little room for self-discovery and simple play.
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About the Author
Adam J. Cox, Ph.D., is a licensed and board-certified clinical psychologist who has devoted his career to the study of Executive Control Skills. He speaks widely at national and international conferences, and has been quoted in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time, Family Circle, and other publications.