Picked it up for $1 at a garage sale. Worth every penny :-/.
The question any book review should answer is “should I read this?” And no, not really. The striver, superstar, independent thing wasn’t a bad addition to the lexicon, but most of the book was a collection of anecdotes and interviews from the strivers subset, and not particularly good ones. Special special snowflakes, all of ’em, which gets kinda tiring when we’re defining gifted as 95th percenters and up, who read books for fun (wow!). The whole thing was circle-jerk goodfeelz from beginning to end.
Still, it’s food for the occipital to munch on. And as far as occipital-style cognition goes, you can’t do much better than primary sources. But like I said, the primary sources were mostly self-congratulatory midwits.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Another interesting bit was the section on gifted criminals. According to my definition, that indicates busted amygdala and functioning neocortex, or sociopath (not psychopath). From the given stat of 20% of prisoners (figures the 80/20 rule applies to the criminal underworld, eh?), we might be able to begin estimating the prevalence of aspiepaths in the white population. A very ignorant estimate would put them at 1% (autism rate) of 20% of the white population of criminals, which is approximately 1 in 23, which comes to 0.0087%, or a bit less than one in ten thousand.
Only one aspiepath account showed up, but it was easy to spot:
Of all those interviewed, Lee is perhaps most aware of the game he is playing with himself. “A smart kid may take risks because of a problem, but your mind won’t let you get away with it. On one level I told myself that I robbed that church for fun, but on another level I know that I have [a] problem, and getting into trouble would get me back in here where I can get help.”
Bored and “disgusted” with school almost from the beginning, Lee designed his own electrical experiments at home. One involved hot-wiring the water dish of a bird feeder when he was about 10. “It was amazing; the birds somehow knew and wouldn’t land on it.” His parents tried military school, where he constantly flouted the rules. Public school was “more of the same. I’d get bored and get into trouble. They never went fast enough or deep enough for me.”
His parents tried to explain his needs to teachers. “The teachers would always say, ‘He isn’t doing the work we give him now, why should we give him new work?’ It was like being made to count the grains of sand in a bucket. There’s nothing to work with, with sand. It’s easy to do 1 + 1, then 5 + 8…18 + 5 isn’t really any different; it’s still ‘sand’- the repetition of the same pattern. It would be different if they gave you new things. It could be like counting a bucket of diamonds. Hold them up to the light and you get different shapes, and glitters and shines.”
The product of a stern father-indulgent mother type of family, Lee says he plans to go to college. The group home to which he has been sentenced for the second time should at least help him finish high school without getting into any more trouble. He explains, “It just doesn’t work with me living at home…there is too much conflict with my father.”
Lee says he is perfectly willing to cheat in this world, “If you’re slick enough not to get caught.” He would take another person’s job. “I’d get him fired, but only if I knew I could do the job better.” At the same time, he expresses a desire not to “hurt people.” Lee would like to see society “work hard to bring everybody up to top mental level. Maybe that’s just selfish on my part; it would mean there would be more people like me and I’d have company.”