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Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men Hardcover – August 14, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 307 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Boys Adrift ". . . is powerfully and persuasively presented. . . Excellent and informative references and information are provided."   JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)

"A must-read for any parent of boys." Dr. Mehmet Oz

"Fascinating . . .terrifying . . . Sax identifies an epidemic of lost boys. Luckily, he offers solutions." The Globe and Mail

"Startling . . .like a brick thrown through your window." Canadian Broadcasting Corporation --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., is a family physician, research psychologist, and acclaimed author of Why Gender Matters. He is founder and executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education in Montgomery County, Maryland (NASSPE). Dr. Sax’s scholarly work has been published in a wide variety of prestigious journals, including American Psychologist, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Journal of the American Medical Association. He is a popular speaker and has been a featured guest on CNN, PBS, Fox News, NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” “The Today Show,” and many other programs. He lives in Montgomery County, Maryland.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (August 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465072097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465072095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (307 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard the first mention of this book on NPR and immediately ordered the book. It arrived just the other day and I sat down and read it through in one sitting, after listening to the author's very articulate discussion about the major factors which are contributing to the fact that boys -AND men - are faring worse than ever. The book is the result of many years of detailed study and research, not just some pop psych book hastily written and thrown out there.

I'll list some of the major points of the book but first I wanted to note some of the things I've observed, all of which the author covered as well. First, personal experience: As a parent of three, I've seen firsthand the changes in the school system in the last 25 years. Our oldest was allowed to walk about his classroom and his personality and inability to sit still for long periods of time was addressed, without meds (this does NOT mean that I think ADD or attention-deficit disorder does not exist but I DO think that in today's world he might well have been defined as ADD instead of having other options first). He loved school and he thrived and does not have ADD. In fact, as time went on, he settled down and became a rather steady, focused student.

As the author of this book has also noticed, there have been some alarming changes in the school system over the years. Kindergarten went from being a "hands-on" place, one that is good for boys, to a place where students were pushed to read, learn by doing worksheets and move away from field trips, exploring the world, meeting people in various professions or just touring a bread factory. This is a MAIN point made by the author, that
boys (and all children) need to "know" things by a combination of book learning and real experience.
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Format: Hardcover
My youngest son is 22 and a senior in college. He called me the other day and said he had read a book and it changed his life. He told me that I had to go out and buy this book - "today!". I did and after reading it, I find that I am alarmed and at the same time reassured. My youngest son, in particular, is very much in the catagory of adrift and unmotivated. Now I know why. Now he knows why. He is incredibly reassured that he is normal, that he is not alone, and that there are steps he can take to "fix" his world. The first thing he is doing is unplugging his video devices; PC, Wii, xbox, nintendos, even his TV. He visited with his college advisor to get back on track with his physics major. Yes, he is very smart. But he is derailed in many ways for all the reasons laid out well in this remarkable book. I can tell you that you should, you must and you would be remiss if you have a male child and do not buy, read and digest this information. It will change your family and the way you do things. My husband is a director on the local school board and we intend to make some noise in our local school district because this is too huge of a problem across our country and in our schools to ignore. Thank you to Dr. Sax for his insightful, well researched and extremely helpful, motivating book. My son is a better person for knowing why he is the way he is and now has the tools to make himself over - better. I intend to help him get there. READ THIS BOOK!
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Format: Paperback
I'm a mom of two sons, 12 and 14 years old. A doctor friend of mine recommended this book (she also has sons). Dr. Sax starts out with a lot of promise: here are our cultural problems; here are reasons why our boys are experiencing these problems... then what? Change the schools, delay kindergarten, radically alter diets, ban the internet? I feel something IS different for boys today; I see it daily. Yet I can't turn back time and start them later in kindergarten or revamp the current trends in schools. There aren't any all-boy schools in my town. Dr. Sax's "answers" seem broad and vague.

I've read dozens of books over the years--primarily because my boys' childhoods have been so different from my own (farmer's daughter). The best ones provide practical suggestions I can use. Unfortunately, I didn't find much practical advice in Boys Adrift. My dad's answer for my brothers and me was work--manual labor, often outdoors. My bros (in their 40s now) didn't like school and barely figured out they needed to hop on the academic bus in time to go to college (which they did). Now they have their own businesses. So if today's boys are stuck with too much "Wissenschaft" in school, where is Dr. Sax's list of boys camps where they can balance that with "Kenntnis"? Where are the resources for hands-on learning such as the First competitions ([...]) or Lego Mindstorm? How about links to the Boy Scouts of America or other programs? Are there groups promoting apprenticeships? I'm disappointed: 185 pages of lead-up and 34 pages of Wissenschaft-type solutions. I'm still searching for ways to help my boys become good, smart, healthy men AND live within the systems and time frame of their generation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
2011 POSTSCRIPT: Anyone thinking of buying this book should first read a great new expose in the American Journalism Review, entitled "How the News Media Peddle Junk Science." You can access it via a search engine search, or by using the shortened link, bit.ly/junkscience. Another news development is research on the gender gap in math performance. A summary of this research can be accessed via an online search for: "Major New Study Examines Explanations for Math Gender Gap." -- KF

Leonard Sax pronounces modern boys as in a state of shambles, and then sets out to tell us why. He posits intriguing theories, several of which have some empirical support:

First, schools have shifted to an overemphasis on academics for children as young as five, before many boys in particular are developmentally ready to read and write.

Second, video games promote a false sense of power while further disengaging boys from the real world.

Third, ADHD medications are "steamrolling" through American boys, potentially harming young brains and producing negative personality changes.

And fourth, environmental contaminants - in particular synthetic estrogenics from plastic water bottles - may be delaying and disrupting boys' pubertal development and contributing to ADHD, obesity, and other problems.

Whenever someone claims to have discovered a "growing epidemic," my alarm bells go off. In this case, Sax is so focused on proving his pet theories that he shamelessly distorts information and misses the larger picture. For example, he makes the alarmist claim that there is "a rise in violent crime" by young men. To those who don't know better, this might sound plausible.
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