NATURE'S GAMBIT: Child Prodigies and the Development of Human Potential by David Henry with Lynn T. Goldsmith Feldman

NATURE'S GAMBIT: Child Prodigies and the Development of Human Potential

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People talk about child prodigies with awe, but seldom know much about them. What they are and what they are not is the theme of this research project on six children. The author wants to know what they have to tell us about human development. Prodigies exist because of a coincidence of various factors--culture, field of endeavor, opportunity, family and a special talent. When it all comes together, the phenomemon is stunning. There is a distinction among high IQs, geniuses and prodigies, but it is often hard to make. Feldman defines prodigies as children under 10 with a gift in a specific area--music, chess, math, art, writing, etc. They perform in their field at a very high adult level and may be perfectly ordinary in other aspects of life. They are specialists rather than generalists, although the borders are fuzzy. The six children he selects--they were not easy to find--were from rather traditional, stable families, all of whom made considerable sacrifices for these children. (The problems in finding schools and tutors are enormous.) Considering the attention lavished on them, the children are not brats, nor are they turned into freaks as prodigies sometimes were years ago. The more questions asked, the more that are generated in this intriguing study. And the children's breathtaking skills will have readers shaking their heads in amazement. As this book amply demonstrates, nature's gambits are indeed wondrous.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1986
Publisher: Basic Books