Award-winning professor Robert J. Sternberg offers a new definition of intelligence which includes the willingness to take risks and overcome obstacles. His definition predicts how students will fare in problem-solving in both their personal and professional lives. With the keys on how to achieve life's more important goals, Successful Intelligence will change the way we regard aptitude and intelligence.
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A fine addition to the growing literature that refutes the long-held idea that there is such a thing as ``general'' intelligence and that it can be quantified. A professor of psychology and education at Yale and a prolific writer (The Triarchic Mind, not reviewed, etc.), Sternberg strongly and persuasively challenges the usefulness of IQ, SAT, and other tests that, he notes, measure only knowledge that is ``inert'' (i.e., decontextualized and often quickly forgotten). The type of intelligence that helps people succeed in life requires imaginative approaches to problems that are far more ``ill-structured'' than those found in the largely one-dimensional, multiple-choice approach of standardized instruments for quantifying intelligence. Successful intelligence is more multifaceted; it includes elements of creativity, adaptability, practicality, intellectual risk- taking, interpersonal skills, and perseverance. In addition, our standard intelligence tests often are culturally biased and favor those with good test-taking skills. In making his argument, Sternberg also demolishes the Herrnstein/Murray hypothesis in The Bell Curve that much of intelligence is inherited; on the contrary, he notes, intelligence is ``incremental'' (our ability to learn grows with learning itself). With the exception of some repetition and some self-evident assertions in a concluding chapter that delineates 20 aspects of successful intelligence (does it really need stating that ``successfully intelligent people spread themselves neither too thin nor too thick''?), Sternberg writes clearly and gracefully, holding the reader's attention by peppering his theoretical material with interesting anecdotal examples. Like the writings of Howard Gardner and Daniel Goleman, among others, this book will prove helpful to a wide range of readers, from professional educators to mental health professionals, business managers, and parents in appreciating just how multifaceted intelligence is and how it can be better nurtured in each person. (Book-of-the-Month Club/Quality Paperback Book Club altnerate selection) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
If Sternberg is right, IQ tests measure only "inert intelligence," academic knowledge that does not necessarily lead to goal-directed action or real-world problem-solving. Professor of psychology and education at Yale, he argues that a different type of brain power, "successful intelligence," determines one's ability to cope in career and in life. "Successfully intelligent" people capitalize on their strengths and correct or compensate for their weaknesses; self-motivating and flexible in their work style, they create their own opportunities, actively seek out role models, recognize and accurately define problems and know when to persevere. Of particular interest is Sternberg's contention that successful intelligence can be nurtured and developed in our schools by providing students with curricula that will challenge their creative and practical capabilities, not just their analytical skills. Although successful intelligence, as defined here, eventually comes to sound like a catch-all category for positive mental habits, this insightful, savvy guide will help readers avoid self-sabotage and translate thought into action. BOMC and QPB alternates.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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