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Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined by [Kaufman, Scott]
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4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Length: 428 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Editorial Reviews


“Kaufman presents a convincing ‘theory of personal intelligence.’ But what emerges most clearly is how all children—gifted, disabled or simply humming with untapped abilities—need a fine-tuned, holistic education to shine in their own extraordinary ways.”Nature

“Kaufman makes a convincing case for incorporating valuable but less easily measured attributes into our view of intelligence…Most powerfully, Kaufman illustrates the importance of uncovering what gives each person his or her own brand of intelligence, taking into account individual goals, psychologies and brain chemistry.”Scientific American Mind

“A good read…introduces the reader to the world of intelligence testing in a highly literate style and pulls back the curtain on some very bad practices in public schools…Kaufman makes a strong case that anyone can be great, even the ‘ungifted.’”Post and Courier

“A warmly human and coolly scientific survey of both the reductive and the liberating fruits of two centuries of cognitive research.”The Scientist

“A convincing—and moving—case for the great potential of even an ‘ordinary’ mind.”Parade

“Fascinating….a smart, lucid, and down-to-earth exposition of the underlying neuroscience and the contentious history of theories of intelligence….Blending incisive analysis with a warm sympathy for intellectual insecurities—and potential—Kaufman demonstrates that even the most ordinary mind is a strange and wondrous gift.”Publishers Weekly

“Kaufman’s portrait of the history of intelligence provides a background on experiments in cognitive psychology, biographical information about influential researchers, and details of his own experience in the special education classroom, making this academic work also personal. Highly recommended for readers curious about human intelligence.”Library Journal, starred review

“Kaufman makes a convincing case that stereotyping students is not only unsupported by research, but also discriminatory… An inspiring, informative affirmation of human potential combined with an overview of historical developments in standardized tests, cognitive psychology and current research."Kirkus Reviews

“A moving personal story of overcoming the effects of having been labeled as learning disabled, and at the same time a wide ranging exploration of a set of fascinating topics related to ability, learning, and achievement. An inspiring account that should both educate and give hope to children, teachers, and parents.”—Ellen Winner, Professor of Psychology, Boston College, and author of Gifted Children: Myths and Realities

Ungifted provides a wealth of information about unlocking the potential of those at all levels of the IQ and personality scales. It is interwoven with the author’s early life history, which was a tragedy of misdiagnosis.”—James R. Flynn, Emeritus Professor of Politics, University of Otago, and author of What is Intelligence?

Ungifted insightfully interweaves a personal story with scientific research to prove that many of us have special gifts that can lead to greatness. Scott Barry Kaufman shows that we just cannot let others tell us what those gifts are.”—Dean Keith Simonton, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of California, Davis, and author of Origins of Genius

Ungifted moves us closer to being more intelligent about how we define intelligence. Scott Barry Kaufman’s new theory of intelligence includes IQ but is not limited to it—it also includes generous doses of inspiration, talent, energy, curiosity, creativity and sometimes, serendipity. His definition is dynamic and sculpts, rather than sterotypes and confines.”—Darold A. Treffert, M.D., author of Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired, and Sudden Savant

Ungifted is a virtuoso book that gracefully weaves science, psychology, and the author’s personal experience into a powerful argument for valuing the cognitive strengths of all students, particularly those sidelined in the past by short-sighted assumptions about the limits of their potential.”—Steve Silberman, correspondent, Wired magazine

About the Author

Scott Barry Kaufman is adjunct assistant professor of psychology at New York University. He completed his doctorate at Yale, received an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, and completed his undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University. He is co-founder of The Creativity Post, and writes the blog Beautiful Minds for Scientific American Mind. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2645 KB
  • Print Length: 428 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0465025544
  • Publisher: Basic Books (June 4, 2013)
  • Publication Date: June 4, 2013
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B3M3UME
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,261 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Todd I. Stark VINE VOICE on June 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Intelligence turns out to be a difficult topic, for reasons that aren't at all obvious at first. Our understanding of mental ability has been captured in several independent threads of research that are surprisingly oblivious of each other for the most part. Our stereotypes of the gifted and the ungifted often miss the details of what is going on. The study of individual differences in general, while useful, doesn't just de-emphasize, but actually systematically misses some of the most important things going on when people become exceptionally successful contributors.

The author of Ungifted is well situated to make an important contribution to our understanding of intelligence. He has made a deep academic study of a wide span of existing research programs, he has worked directly in collaboration with many of the leading researchers in several related fields, he has passionately engaged these ideas since childhood when he became painfully aware of the academic sorting process for giftedness, and he himself is a wonderful example of many of the principles that emerge in his new book.

This is not another book that just starts out with a vague progressive vision of education and ability that everyone is a potential "genius" and then fills it in with wishful thinking. No, this is a book that dives very deeply and realistically into the literature of psychometrics, heritability, cognitive neuroscience, and expertise. It looks closely at patterns from the span of phenomena of human differences including savantism, prodigy, autism, schizophrenia, personality, g factor, motivation, and creativity.

Ungifted is so compelling, rich, and significant a book for me that most of it was well worn by the end of the first day it arrived.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have noted, Ungifted is part personal story, part professional opinion, and lots of reviewed and summarized research.

As for the research, this book is not an easy, engaging layperson's read along the lines of Bronson and Merryman's Nurture Shock, which I also enjoyed. In Ungifted, be prepared for some intellectual heavy lifting at times. The author is reviewing and summarizing tons of studies, painting a picture as complex as the topics he covers, as well as highlighting areas where more research is needed to answer remaining mysteries. When he was talking about something I wasn't that interested in, I became a bit bored slogging through all the material. But when it was a topic I was interested in, I appreciated every last drop of the information. Having read this cover to cover, I'd advise readers who find themselves in the midst of a topic they're not as interested in as others to just skim along a bit. You don't need to digest everything to understand the overall points he's making.

When it comes to the author's personal story and informed opinions, this has got to be one of the most likeable authors whose work I've ever read -- a mix of humility, vulnerability, compassion, determination, intelligence, humor and great accomplishment. Throughout the book are instances where what researchers know and what happens in practice to students are at odds. The author's personal story illustrates many lessons learned from the research he reviews on the landscape of human intelligence and achievement, but he's also enough of an exception to some of those correlations to serve as a vivid reminder that all should be encouraged and supported.
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Format: Kindle Edition
There are several buzz words that go around in academic circles - I know because as chair of the Psychology Department at SUNY New Paltz, I live there (in academic circles). People like to talk about "pedagogy," "student-centered learning," "interdisciplinarity," "active learning," "service learning," and so on. One of the core buzzwords within modern academia is this - DIVERSITY. In modern higher education, we are to "embrace diversity" - even if we don't exactly know that that means.

Scott Barry Kaufman knows what it means to genuinely embrace diversity. With a prestigious PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Yale, and a research background in the broad diversity that characterizes the human cognitive mind (including various conscious and various non-conscious processes), Dr. Kaufman is a true expert on the nature of real and meaningful psychological diversity.

Ungifted is Dr. Kaufman's gift to the world. In captivating, accessible, and genuinely written prose, Dr. Kaufman takes us on a tour of issues related to diversity in cognitive processes - by summarizing his own experiences as being labeled with learning disorders in childhood to summaries of the most cutting-edge research from the juggernaut that is the modern literature on individual differences in cognitive processes and mechanisms.

With an eye toward helping us deconstruct and question modern methods of teaching and learning, Ungifted leads the reader through the story of a young man who started the educational process as being labeled as "learning disabled" and in need of special services - to completing his PhD in cognitive psychology at Yale - under the tutelage of Robert Sternberg, perhaps the best-known and most significant living academic psychologist.

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