Friday, August 28, 2009

NurtureShock gets a rave review from Psych Science

Delightful.... this engaging volume, in its mix of pitch-perfect science writing and soft-pedaled guidance for parents.... [is] a rewarding and an entertaining excursion." (a link to the full review) Wray Herbert, in his "We're Only Human" blog for the Assoc. for Psychological Science. A former Editor in Chief for Psychology Today, Herbert also writes Newsweek's column, "Mind Matters."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NPR's All Things Considered today

I should be on talking with Robert Siegel about NurtureShock today, 20 minutes into the second hour of the broadcast. Here's the NPR page for it.

NS in Vanity Fair's Hot Type

find it in the September issue, with either Michael Jackson or Farah Fawcett on the cover, page 162 ...

Is NurtureShock the new fad?

In our early media interviews, we’ve been asked a good question: How do we know that the new science we cover in NurtureShock won’t soon be debunked another decade from now?

NurtureShock works hard to set straight old psychology. But should we have any faith that today’s science won’t be laughable when society looks back on it decades from now? This is an argument first popularized by Ann Hulbert’s book, Raising America, which argued a hundred years of parenting fads haven’t made us better parents. Every generation produces its parenting experts, and then the next generation knocks them down.

So, can today’s science be trusted?

Well, Ashley and I aren’t asking readers to simply take our word for it, or the scientists’ word for it. It’s not a question of who to trust. We don’t think readers should just turn off their critical faculties when they’re listening to advice from a “parenting expert.” In fact, we don’t think parents or policymakers should trust any information delivered as simple, blunt tips. Don’t take advice unless you really understand it and comprehend where it comes from – no matter how lofty the credentials of the expert.

In the same way the food movement has advocated, “get to know your farmer, learn where your food comes from,” people will make adopt better strategies for nurturing, and make better decisions, when they demand to see the evidence behind every parenting expert. Take control.

That’s why we present scholars’ methodology in such detail: so readers can judge for themselves if it makes sense. All of the research in NurtureShock has been replicated by multiple scholars, over ten years; we laid out as much of this research as we thought readers could take. We looked for confirmation from other disciplines –from neuroscience, biology, epidemiology, cross-sectional and longitudinal social science, and experimental manipulations done in the lab. We hoped to set the bar high for how this material is presented and explained to the public.

The point is, you can’t trust all modern science just because it’s new – just because the researchers used MRIs and control groups. For NurtureShock, we read over 100,000 pages of scholarly articles, attended numerous scientific conferences where we were the only journalists in attendance, and participated in the conversation for several years. We grilled the scholars on their numbers. The vast majority of work we reviewed had weaknesses, and we tossed it aside. When we came home from conferences with stacks of posters, five inches thick, a surprising amount of it seemed misguided and irrelevant. We didn't give this weaker science "equal time" - we left it out. Only the best science was chosen for the book.

Don’t trust us. Get informed, and trust yourself.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NurtureShock in New York Times

"New York City schools play a starring role in a chapter of Nurture Shock, a new book from the best-selling author Po Bronson.

"Mr. Bronson, whose best-known blockbuster was What Should I Do With My Life? (Random House, 2002), has a knack for adding insight to irresistible nonfiction subject matter. The latest is a mostly counterintuitive tour of psychological and scientific thinking about child rearing that seems destined to turn up in conversations - at least in New York - not just at preschool pickup but at high-powered dinner parties and in water-cooler conversation among working parents.

"New York's big scene comes in a chapter called 'The Search for Intelligent Life in Kindergarten,' as the example of what not to do when it comes to school testing. Mr. Bronson and his co-author, Ashley Merryman, present the body of research suggesting that tests administered before kindergarten - like those that determine admission to gifted and talented programs in New York and elsewhere - are far from solid predictors of future academic success."

Read more ...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Apologies for Running Out of Free Books!

Readers - we've heard from many of you that our publisher was offering free books through several web sites, and then said to many of you, "sorry, we've run out." I don't know the particulars too well, but apparently they expected a few hundred people to ask for books, and instead got a few thousand requests. They were just overwhelmed. Sorry for the mixup and I hope no hard feelings. - Best, Po

Powell's Staff Pick

"Though rarely would I refer to a parenting book as a "page turner," NurtureShock is just that fascinating. Bronson and Merryman call on neuroscience to show how conventional parenting wisdom often doesn't jive with the biological reality of a child's brain. If you want to learn the science behind how to best praise your child, or understand why teenage rebellion is a good thing, read this book."

Recommended by Rhonda,