Sykes, teacher and author of other works concerning exceptional persons hemmed in by contemporary mores, is a virtuoso practitioner of the scattershot method of exegesis--if one of the many chips from his readings of the giants of philosophy, sociology, psychology, etc., doesn't hit the target, another will. This all amounts to an interdisciplinary assault on the plight of what Sykes sees as an emerging elite--the ""growing number of mutations and semi-mutations which refuse to yield to the majority rule of mediocrity."" This spiritual elite--a concept many would find repellent--is advised to take account of the typologies of Freud, Jung, Shelden and others to better understand themselves and their fellows. Sykes offers other guidelines to thought, action and life styles which are tailored to help the talented withstand the draining of their psychic energies in the face of the stresses and complexities of our plastic society. Gifted ones need time to ""ripen,"" they must have sound training in their specialty, learn to risk the consequences of rebellion against the ""norm,"" accept Yeats' dictum to ""quarrel with oneself,"" and ""patiently turn each event of the day into a magnificent symbol. . . to pass with style from the demands of time and the demands of eternity."" Heady stuff, right? That is, if you're a mutant or even a semi, not just homo sapiens. A spark shower which winks out quickly.