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Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask Hardcover – March 18, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476712654
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476712659
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Parentology is brilliant, jaw-droppingly funny, and full of wisdom—backed up by the latest scientific studies. Dalton Conley is one of the most talented writers of his generation, and this mesmerizing book is bound to change your thinking about parenting and its conventions.” (Amy Chua, Yale Law Professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother)

“Honest, smart, and strange….In this half-memoir, half-experiment, Dalton Conley rattles the data, and some surprising things fall out.” (Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé)

About the Author

Dalton Conley is University Professor at New York University. Conley holds a BA from UC Berkeley, an MPA and a PhD in Sociology from Columbia University, and an MS and PhD in Biology from NYU. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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You will learn a lot in this book, even if it doesn't present the material in a how-to fashion.
danah boyd
Its seems odd (but perhaps not) that a bright man with such knowledge of research would not look to Gottman's research on marriage.
Andrea M. Schara
Laugh out Loud funny and makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one who has a unique parenting style.
John Villanueva

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ian Marshall on March 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had heard the author, Dalton Conley, along with his children on the Freakonomics podcast a couple of years ago. It turns out that the release of this book coincided with the 20-week mark of my partner's pregnancy, so as an expectant father and a scientist I thought this looked interesting. This is a very personal story of the author's own parenting experience and how he has dealt with the various challenges his children have presented - his strategy involves digging into a lot of original research on various childhood-related topics. He doesn't give clear instructions to other parents, nor does he claim that his approach is the best, but he tells his story in a very personal, relatable, and entertaining way. If you're looking for a straightforward list of parenting does and don'ts then this isn't the best place to look, but if you want to get inside the mind of someone who has thought deeply about his role as a parent in a unique way then this is a good book for that.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ryan J. Dejonghe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I appreciate Dalton Conley’s attempt here. As stressed out parents, we appreciate laughter. We also want to know how to do this parenting thing better. Add in scientific research to prove results and blend it all together—it sounds good, doesn’t it? Well….

The problem comes about when the reader can’t tell if Conley is being serious or is joking. He talks about strapping electrodes to the heads of “little buggers”, but that phraseology discredits the merit of research. You can be funny when introducing or summarizing, but mixing into the research process devalues the outcome.

I can’t tell if Conley’s recommendations for attachment parenting are serious or not. He talks about kids acting fine, but secretly are sending messages in the brain that they are not. And it goes on and on: naming kids, getting your tubes tied, putting your kids in special classes, being rich, etc.

This book had a lot of Conley experimental thinking involved as he raised his own children. Unfortunately, this doesn’t answer the question: does it work? Other parenting books like CHILDREN: THE CHALLENGE and HOW TO TALK SO YOUR KIDS WILL LISTEN have taken decades of research and proven method to present effective parental approaches. The more recent book IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME takes this research and refines it into a loving and friendly format that parents can quickly (key word: quick) read and implement. PARENTOLOGY has none of that.

At the end of the day, if I’m left confused, then the book has not achieved its goal.

I want to thank Simon & Schuster for providing an electronic review copy of this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By danah boyd on March 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Conley's book will have you rolling on the floor laughing and you'll even learn a lot in the process. As a researcher and parent, I rarely have any patience for parenting books. I either get angry at the presentation of the science or annoyed at the dryness of the writing. Worse, the prescriptions make me furious because anyone who tells you that there's a formula to parenting is lying. This is the first parenting book that I've read that I actually enjoyed and am actively recommending to others. Conley's willingness to detail his own failings, neuroses, and foolish logic (and to smack himself upside the head with research data in the process) showcases the trials and tribulations of parenting. Even experts make a mess of everything, but watching them do so so spectacularly lets us all off the hook. You will learn a lot in this book, even if it doesn't present the material in a how-to fashion. Instead, this book highlights the chaos that ensues when you try to implement science on the ground.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gentle Reader on March 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Conley's parenting style may not be everyone's cup of tea but the book does what it promises: uses his admittedly unorthodox approach for an accessible and entertaining review of a lot of social science research I'd never heard of. He makes fun of himself and has a sense of humor about the parenting project in general. The one point I think could have been stressed more is the role of the rest of society in defining who we are and how we'll end up; for instance, afflictions such as Attention Deficit Disorder did not even exist until fairly recently. But that's a wonky point and Conley's book is for people who have their kids now and might enjoy some new ways of thinking about raising them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By South Eastern Reader on May 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
After finishing the last page, It took me two days to categorize this book. Despite the title, I conclude that it is a love story - a really good one. By the end of the book, you are sure of nothing but the amply evident fact that this dad loves his children - perhaps more than he ever thought possible. Yes, there are many mentions of soft and hard science findings throughout the book, but they are a mere aside. This is just the really witty, intelligent, and sometimes painfully personal story of Dalton, E, and Yo. (It is a tribute to these kids that they participated in and consented to the publication of many honest details.)

So why read the book? Read it for the emotional journey. You'll feel familiar parental pangs of uncertainty, humility, and tenderness. This is a "you are not alone" book. It is also a fun read for subdued suburbanites who will surely blush at the grittiness of childhood in the big city. In addition, Dalton is hardly a stereotypical dad - a fact that helps to underscore the universal nature of parental love.

Why take a pass on the book? If you are looking for serious guidance for specific family and parenting situations, this book is best put on the back-burner for another time. In fact, you can even walk away from this book with the message that academic studies and expert opinions may not be very reliable tools in the messy world of parenthood. The bottom line (implicit) message seems to be to take each day one at a time, do your best, and be guided by your love for your child.
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