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Successful Intelligence: How Practical and Creative Intelligence Determine Success in Life Paperback – September 1, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
If Sternberg is right, IQ tests measure only "inert intelligence," academic knowledge that does not necessarily lead to goal-directed action or real-world problem-solving. Professor of psychology and education at Yale, he argues that a different type of brain power, "successful intelligence," determines one's ability to cope in career and in life. "Successfully intelligent" people capitalize on their strengths and correct or compensate for their weaknesses; self-motivating and flexible in their work style, they create their own opportunities, actively seek out role models, recognize and accurately define problems and know when to persevere. Of particular interest is Sternberg's contention that successful intelligence can be nurtured and developed in our schools by providing students with curricula that will challenge their creative and practical capabilities, not just their analytical skills. Although successful intelligence, as defined here, eventually comes to sound like a catch-all category for positive mental habits, this insightful, savvy guide will help readers avoid self-sabotage and translate thought into action. BOMC and QPB alternates.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
When the subject is human intelligence, our society, argues Yale psychology professor Sternberg, is far too fixated on IQ. Such tests--and most other academic measures of achievement--typically gauge one's ability to memorize material, what the author terms "inert intelligence." Unfortunately, memorization does not equal success in life. According to Sternberg, people need to develop and nurture three types of intelligence for personal and professional success: analytical, creative, and practical. He defines each and provides commonsense ways for people to foster them. Another key is mental flexibility: being able to adapt to situations and to rethink that which we thought we already knew. Writing simply and without a bit of jargon, Sternberg successfully challenges the common notions of what intelligence is and isn't Brian McCombie --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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So I was looking forward to this follow-up book, "Successful Intelligence." Unfortunately it was not near as good as his first book.
The book is too long - it's almost as if his publisher told him to flesh it out with discussion of the defects of intelligence tests and personal anecdotes from his own life and that of his children. There are too many of these analyses and anecdotes. He could have cut the book by at least a third. And at times the book is more of a self-help manual - focus on goals, be persistent, identify problems. As another reviewer on Amazon said, perhaps he should have titled the book "Successful Abilities."
Certainly his theory that there are three components of intelligence - the analytic, the creative, and the practical makes lots of sense. And too much emphasis may be put on the analytic element, because it is most easily tested in so-called intelligence tests. Sternberg makes a good case for that, showing that there is not much correlation between the ability to score highly on these types of tests, and ultimate success in business and professional areas (some correlation, but it's pretty underwhelming).
All in all, if you are interested in a good book on intelligence, I recommend Sternberg's first book "The Triarchic Mind" and give this one a miss.
Written in 1997 and highly relevant today, the book revolves around the history, purpose, and accuracy of what is actually evaluated on IQ tests, it also addresses many of the issues pertaining to the use of standardized testing, and the real reason SATs became a part of the college filtering experience.
Sternberg drives home his belief that of the multiplicity of intelligences that exist (of which there are many) successful intelligence is by far the most effective and useful to students because it accurately correlates with the skills that are required to succeed in the real world.
Successful Intelligence consists primarily of three components: Analytical Intelligence (which involves judging and evaluating ideas), Creative Intelligence (which involves inventiveness and imagination in problem solving), and Practical Intelligence (which involves using, utilizing, and applying strategies, ideas, and facts). He elaborates on the importance of using these three intelligences in tandem to get a complete picture of intelligence.
This book has been incredibly valuable to me as a college professor because it has forced me to re-evaluate certain aspects of my teaching such as spending more time discussing the content of my curriculum for analytical purposes, instead of merely having my students engage in the common and futile exercise of rote memorization. It also confirmed some things that I suspected, and can now have reasearch to prove, such as the faultiness of multiple choice tests, and the true educational value of essays.
If you are a teacher, or interested in becoming one, you will benefit from this marvelous educational tool in the short and longterm. Buy it today.