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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, if Somewhat "Light" Coverage of Giftedness
I've noticed the reviews here-- editorial and otherwise-- have expressed rather mixed opinions about this book. And, in a sense, the book's subtitle ("The mixed blessings of extraordinary potential") serves to underscore the somewhat mixed blessings of the book, itself.
Did I find this to be an interesting book? Certainly. Did I seriously "get...
Published on June 30 2004 by Peter Messerschmidt

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't break your arm while patting yourself on the back
Am I the only one who sees the irony in Americans congratulating themselves more while achieving less? I could call myself 'gifted,' because I display the personality traits discussed in the book. However, I'm not sure the 'gifted' label is helpful. The problem is that the importance of potential is elevated, and the importance of hard work is downplayed.
I...
Published on March 27 2000 by Mary Katherine


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, if Somewhat "Light" Coverage of Giftedness, June 30 2004
By 
Peter Messerschmidt "denmarkguy" (Port Townsend, WA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
I've noticed the reviews here-- editorial and otherwise-- have expressed rather mixed opinions about this book. And, in a sense, the book's subtitle ("The mixed blessings of extraordinary potential") serves to underscore the somewhat mixed blessings of the book, itself.
Did I find this to be an interesting book? Certainly. Did I seriously "get something out of it?" I'm shrugging a bit, at this second question. The author has certainly succeeded in writing a book many gifted people will relate to, simply because they will recognize themselvbes in the pages. But does the mere ability to make people relate to the text make this a *useful* book? Again, I am shrugging a bit, and I find myself saying "Yes, this was interesting, but I am not really that much wiser, so what exactly *was* the point....?" Ultimately, the "usefulness" of the book will depend on what the reader is looking for-- MY perception is that this book is more "descriptive" than "educational."
But back to the book's contents. It is divided into three sections:
Part One establishes what exactly the author *means* by the term "gifted grownup." On the initial plus side, Streznewski avoids the trap of correlating "giftedness" with numerical IQ scores. Instead she attributes giftedness to (a somewhat arbitrary?) 3-5% of the population who have exceptionally perceptive minds, quick thoughts and extraordinary talents. These people are then subcategorized into Strivers, Superstars and Independents. The rest of the section offers a bit of historical background on "defining giftedness," theories on the brains of gifted individuals, as well as an interesting (and fairly accurate) commentary on the way many gifted adults tend to "hide" their giftedness, due to social/environmental pressures.
Part Two traces the impact of giftedness of the life of a person, from birth to adulthood, covering childhood and parenting (along with other family dynamics), schooling and work. I found myself able to relate especially well to the section describing the difficulties many gifted children have while in school.
Part Three focuses on "Gifted Lives," covering such topics as gifted adults and relationships, special issues facing gifted women, and gifted senior citizens. At the end, Streznewski has added a section of resources and recommended reading.
"Gifted Grownups" did an excellent job of providing a large number of "Oh wow! Me too!" moments-- and thus offers nice validation, especially for those Gifted Adults who may feel like "misfits" in the world. Streznewski uses quotes from the many (over 100) gifted adults she interviewed in her research for the book, and many will be able to recognize themselves in these excerpts. Yes, there are indeed others "like you," out there!
But as I finished reading, it all struck me as being somewhat long on opinion and too focused on the fact "that" gifted adults face certain challenges, while too short on scientific research, explanations and "why" those difficulties occur. And it is also long on somewhat self-congratulatory "feel good" vignettes, but short on real-life solutions, help and applications for those Gifted Adults who find life to be a struggle. Finally, I found Streznewski to step somewhat lightly over the psychological issues facing the gifted.
In short: "Mixed blessings." But given how few books are available on Adult Giftedness, it was definitely worth a read. However, not enough "meat" here to warrant a 5-star rating.
Final thoughts: Recommended (7.5 out of 10 possible bookmarks). If you're a Gifted Adult, it'll offer you moments of recognition. More highly recommended for teachers of the gifted, in that it provides insights they might not otherwise have, and certainly recommended for any member of a family that feels "mystified" by a gifted family member.
Thanks for reading!
--Peter
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't break your arm while patting yourself on the back, March 27 2000
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
Am I the only one who sees the irony in Americans congratulating themselves more while achieving less? I could call myself 'gifted,' because I display the personality traits discussed in the book. However, I'm not sure the 'gifted' label is helpful. The problem is that the importance of potential is elevated, and the importance of hard work is downplayed.
I have had roomates from England and Australia, and I can state that Americans are considered smug, arrogant and completely ignorant of other cultures. Books like this, which encourage self-congratulation rather than study and hard work, exacerbate the problem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars you have got to be kidding me, June 19 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
This book is not "snobby" or "elitist"! It simply focuses on a segment of the population which is often misunderstood or marginalized. A book on gifted adults is no more elitist than say, a book on adults with ADD/ADHD or a book on adults with learning disabilities. Well, I suppose the tone could be elitist in another book, but this one is mostly made up of interviews with gifted people from all segments of the population who, despite differences in background, have experienced startlingly similiar experiences in school and in the workplace. The tones vary considerably, depending on the subject.
Some people's brains work faster, just as some people are born with an amazing ability to throw a football or make a basket. Yet funding sports and rewarding athletes isn't considered "elitist" just these people's due for having these gifts.
Anyway, this book is not advocating massive social change so that gifted people can have everything their way. It focuses more on personal solutions than political. In fact, noting that many gifted people are idealistic, the author and interviewees both recommend finding ways to use your gifts to benefit society and connnect with others, yes, even the "non-gifted".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Answers to questions I didn't know to ask..., Nov. 11 2001
By 
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
I had the misfortune of being certified highly gifted in the fourth grade. I call this a misfortune for a variety of reasons.
1) Given the dynamics of my family, I had no support to help me deal with "being different" while I was growing up.
2) Although the school system I attended had programs for the gifted, they were more like college prep courses and did little if anything to address the emotional/psychological factors of giftedness.
3) All the hype and pressure about me being gifted left me with no real sense of what that meant realistically, let alone how I could use my "gifts" to my advantage.
This book addresses these issues, and more. Much more. Through reading how being gifted has affected others, I have come to realize that many of my issues are, in fact, "normal". It addresses a number of the myths and realities of being gifted, and how misperceptions can and do impact our lives. It talks about different kinds of "giftedness", and describes dominant characteristics of each type.
For me, this book is a godsend. I only wish Ms. Streznewski had written it, and I had read it, about 3 decades ago.
BKA
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3.0 out of 5 stars Suffers from the typical problems of the gifted movement, July 31 2001
By 
"ospawno" (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
It is quite alright to tell children that they learn in a different fasion than the average person, but someday, these same people will have to help gifted children become adults. If one wants to have a nice home and not live in an SRO, one will have to sit and a desk and slave over extremely boring, simplisitic dribble for 8 hours a day. You can't fight the world every day of your life, sometimes you just have to adapt. This book is FINALLY a first step towards this goal. But, sadly, the author merely presents a problem in a rather disorganized way in my opinion. No solutions are given. While the psychologists of the world waste years, day in and day out trying to help the poor gifted, ever day another brilliant person gives up on society and conformity wins out. Is there a solution? Not in this book.
However, I have found amphetamines extraordinarily helpful. Talk to your psychiatrist. Sometimes it is just nice to get through your day at that boring job, and make enough money to enjoy life when you are not working. No one needs to be a martyr. Think of giftedness as ADD+150 IQ.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This book is not all that great, July 19 2001
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
Hmmm...its hard to rate a book like this. Firstly it is RARE. This is its good point. There arent many books out there which address gifted adults.
The downside is this book is drab. Pure and simple. Mary Lou spends a lot of time repeating herself. By the time you have read the first few pages, you get the basic idea of the whole book. Also, even though she spends a lot of time explaining situations and life stages as such the whole book has a disjointed feel to it. Thirdly, she lacks an independent mind on quite a lot. School is good if it adjusts for the gifted child she implies. Absolutely untrue! School is bad for EVERYONE. If you dont believe me read the books by John Taylor Gatto or read Ed School Follies. This lack of gumption or knowledge is excusable in a normal person, but in an author...well shes joining the 98% of them whose books arent worth it. Also these kinds of books have an inherent problem. As I said these books are rare and affect the reader a lot. If you read one good piece of information in them a reader is in quite serious danger of accepting bad information because they have accepted the book in their mind. Yes, that sounds harsh but its unfortunately true. Finally, on bad points,being gifted means being away from the norm. I hated how the book subtlely places people in new categories (as opposed to old ones)(Note I dont say you have to agree with me on this, its a personal opinion).
On good points....well for example are you a person who is ,say, 30 and has friends who are 10 and 60? Gifted people are different in many ways and therefore face a lot of pressure in everyday life which most people dont perceive. These are very powerful social pressures... you may find people a bit similar to you in this book and that will be quite a relief I suspect. ...
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4.0 out of 5 stars My jaw is on the floor, April 10 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
This book is an absolute must-read for all of us who grew up as "gifted children", but soon found that the real world did not welcome us with open arms. So many of Ms. Streznewski's observations were frighteningly accurate descriptions of my own life experiences, and the many interviews she conducted made me feel less alone.
I've been meandering through life for over ten years thinking that my high IQ was useful in school, but had little relevance in the professional world. Finally, I am enlightened to the fact that "giftedness" does not end at graduation. Suddenly my spotty job history (I get bored very easily and bosses find my outside-the-box thinking threatening), and difficulty in choosing a long-term career make some sense!
I agree with others who stopped at four stars, because although this book provided me with incredibly valuable information about why I am the way I am, it doesn't offer much insight as to how to better focus my potential. I believe that there is a lot of talent being wasted every day because many extraordinarily gifted, talented people are not accepted by society and the business world. How about a sequel that addresses the challenges unique to gifted adults, and strategies to overcome them?
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4.0 out of 5 stars A gifted athlete could not get to the Olympics alone., March 24 2001
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
Nor would our society expect him/her to do so. Why should we expect intellectually gifted children to achieve their full potential alone? I read this book because my 23 year old gifted son has been *kicked out* of college. Reading about the 3 gifted *personalities* has been especially helpful in understanding many of the difficulties my son has had for as long as I can remember. The chapter describing the particularly difficult passage in life of ages 18-30 is actually almost too painful for me to complete. It is illustrated with many case examples of others, like my son, who unfortunately are suffering serious consequences by not fitting society's expectations. The benefit of the book lies in these same case examples, which clearly illustrates that my son is not unusual for who he is.
I could not give this book 5 stars, as similar to the opinion of another reviewer, I was looking for a chapter at the end of the book which briefly re-capped and summarized potentially successful intervention strategies (perhaps in the form of a decision tree or flow chart). It's not there, and I would have found a chapter like that beneficial instead of having to essentially re-read the book and try to figure it out myself. In spite of that, I plan to buy two copies. One for us and one for my son. Maybe I should even buy a third for the professor at the university who told my son that he simply needed to learn time-management to graduate from college. If it were only that simple!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A gifted athlete could not get to the Olympics alone., March 24 2001
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
Nor would our society expect him/her to do so. Why should we expect intellectually gifted children to achieve their full potential alone? I read this book because my 23 year old gifted son has been *kicked out* of college. Reading about the 3 gifted *personalities* has been especially helpful in understanding many of the difficulties my son has had for as long as I can remember. The chapter describing the particularly difficult passage in life of ages 18-30 is actually almost too painful for me to complete. It is illustrated with many case examples of others, like my son, who unfortunately are suffering serious consequences by not fitting society's expectations. The benefit of the book lies in these same case examples, which clearly illustrates that my son is not unusual for who he is.
I could not give this book 5 stars, as similar to the opinion of another reviewer, I was looking for a chapter at the end of the book which briefly re-capped and summarized potentially successful intervention strategies (perhaps in the form of a decision tree or flow chart). It's not there, and I would have found a chapter like that beneficial instead of having to essentially re-read the book and try to figure it out myself. In spite of that, I plan to buy two copies. One for us and one for my son. Maybe I should even buy a third for the professor at the university who told my son that he simply needed to learn time-management to graduate from college. If it were only that simple!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gifted adults, and parents of gifted kids: Read This Book, Dec 19 2000
This review is from: Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Hardcover)
Gifted Grown Ups provides a revealing look at the lives of a diverse collection of adult gifted; some successful in today's terms, some ... less so. It reveals what these adults remember of their childhood, good and bad, and how these adults have learned to cope with (or hide in!) a society which does not value gifts of intellegence.
I think every parent of a gifted child will see glimpses of themselves in the book, and begin to see how they themselves are dealing with, as adults, what their children are going through and will go through as they grow.
Teachers of the gifted should read this, too, to discover the very real differences that the children they teach are experiencing, both now as children and later as adults.
And all who have any exposure to gifted children or adults should read this book to see just what a little comment here or a look there can do to force the gifted to hide even deeper under their cover of 'normal'.
My favorite part, though, is to read about gifted grown ups shedding that cover, and becoming the selves they've been hiding, whether in college, their 30's, 50's, or beyond!
A excellent book!
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Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential
Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential by Marylou Kelly Streznewski (Hardcover - March 29 1999)
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