Smarty Pants Podcast

Top of the Tots

What child prodigies have to tell us about our achievement obsession

By Stephanie Bastek | March 9, 2018

Americans love a child prodigy: Shirley Temple, Bobby Fischer, Henry Cowell … the list goes on. There’s just something about kid geniuses that enchants us—fascination at how differently they must see the world, and envy at how they’ve got it made. But in her new book, Off the Charts, Ann Hulbert looks at a range of children who’ve made a splash over the past century, and whose lives have informed our approach to child-rearing and education. Nature versus nurture is just the start of the debate—and it turns out there’s no model for raising any kind of child, genius or not, and no guarantee of success, whatever that means.

Go beyond the episode:

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

Subscribe: iTunes • Feedburner Stitcher • Google Play • Acast

Download the audio here (right click to “save link as …”)

Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!

Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Comments powered by Disqus