A survey of famous twentieth century contemporaries, based on their biographies, as well as current research studies of the gifted, attempts to catalogue behavior and relate cause to effect; it also gives a few answers (namely that normality and the happy home lead to contentment rather than creativity) and raises still more questions for further investigation. Inventoried and analysed here, along with many, many case illustrations from the Goertzels' Four Hundred, are parental pressures: the hands that ""rocked the cradles of eminence"" were those of opinionative people, and dominating mothers rather than fathers had the firmest grip. The distinction is made between dominating and mother-smothering (and the latter reared the most dictators- i.e. Hitler). of the eminent are from troubled homes and they tend to be public servants, scientists and statesmen; handicapped children are often the most strongly motivated to achieve; and 3 of 6 of the great performers were problems when in school. Most likely to succeed? The unhappy youngster with perhaps a stigmatizing disability to overcome from a disturbed home in a rural area with a forceful- preferably female-parent who has a strong respect for learning! If your child seems reasonably secure and adjusted, don't expect much of him; love and peanut butter only lead to the oblivion of mediocrity.