Customer Review

74 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly optimistic and straightforward, May 27, 2000
This review is from: 7 (Seven) Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences (Paperback)
There's literally a little something for everyone in this book, which popularizes the cognitive psychological work of Howard Gardner, whom Armstrong goes out of his way to credit with developing the theory of multiple intelligences.
That little something should be a comfort to all of us -- we each are smart in our own way. Gardner has identified seven specific types of intelligence that all human beings have access to in varying degrees. Armstrong's very welcome addition is to help lay readers understand what qualities are embodied in each intelligence and how to gauge our own specific level in each category.
He also explains that we need not be limited by those intelligences that are least developed in us. It is never too late to take up activities that will help us cultivate each of the seven primary intelligences and, in the process, have fun, experience personal growth and enjoy life.
Gardner is, from what I've read, still tinkering with adding more types of intelligences to his original list of seven. This edition of Armstrong's book lists two new possibilities -- naturalistic intelligence and existential intelligence -- and explains Gardner's criteria for identifying intelligences that can be added to the list.
This is not a feel-good, self-help book. The theory of multiple intelligences could be a major breakthrough in cognitive psychology and certainly warrants further research. Armstrong's gift is to make those of us who don't toil in the groves of psychological academe aware of Howard Gardner's work and its potential impact on our individual lives.
Buy the book, read it and think about the intelligences you have most developed. Think about others around you and their hierarchy of developed intelligences. It doesn't take long to realize that everyone -- from a king to a pauper -- can lay valid claim to a unique genius composed of their levels of development in the various identified intelligences, their life experiences and the choices they make. If nothing else, multiple intelligences should remind us forcefully that everyone deserves our respect as human beings.
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