A fascinating premise and plenty of personal experience aren’t enough to carry this book from conceptual advice into...

We Could All Become Geniuses


An earnest, sprawling assessment of how we approach learning and thinking.

Part memoir, part theory, this book has a lot of thoughts about thought. Drawing largely on his experience as a teenager who left Japan to attend a boarding school in Connecticut, Ogata explains how he approached new challenges, from learning to pronounce certain words in English to physics. His central thesis is that learning can be organized into five steps—observation, inquiry, confirmation, discovery and review. The anecdotes Ogata shares to illustrate these steps are often intriguing and enlightening, such as his detailed observation regarding the syntax of thinking in Japanese and its contrast to the syntax of thinking in English. Ogata clearly illustrates how this type of observation informed his oral and written communication. Yet as the chapters continue, the five steps become redundant, processed again and again in different examples of problem solving. Ogata defines a genius as “a person with the ability to perform rare and creative thinking.” How Ogata’s five steps lead to genius-level thinking is an approachable line of thought, but it remains somewhat abstract how and why readers are supposed to apply these steps in common dilemmas. A sturdier framework for presenting these concepts may have helped rein them in. Some of Ogata’s suggestions—such as using a how-to approach in solving problems—are concrete enough to be useful, but other examples stem from the business world and other limited arenas. There’s a lot of talk of fun—a word that appears dozens of times in the text—but not all readers will be convinced that there’s entertainment to be had in slowing down and examining personal thought processes. At best, the broad guide is an enthusiastic treatise that urges readers to be conscious of how they think and recognize the untapped resource of their own curiosity.

A fascinating premise and plenty of personal experience aren’t enough to carry this book from conceptual advice into practical application for daily life.

Pub Date: April 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0991024001

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Duke Ogata

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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