Mastermindsby Rosalind Wiseman, author of Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World (Harmony, September 2013)

Boys are so much easier than girls. There’s no drama.

Boys just punch it out and it’s over.

Eleven years ago when I published Queen Bees & Wannabes, a huge amount of attention was placed on girls and their social dynamics. But in all the years I’ve worked with boys and girls, I knew that boys struggled with many of the same challenges girls did—we were just having a really hard time seeing it. As the years passed I grew increasingly concerned, as I saw many boys adopt an appearance of detachment from their most meaningful relationships, their future academic or professional success, and any desire to make the world a better place. In the words of Will, age 20:

In my AP classes, I was always one of five guys. The same five guys in a classroom of girls. I had plenty of guy friends who could have taken those classes but they didn’t want to do it. They’d rather be the best among the mediocre. Really my friends would rather look stupid.

Two years ago, I decided to pull back the curtain on Boy World—a place I knew was much more complex than most people believe. (more…)

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Quiet by Susan CainSusan Cain’s acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Quiet, is now in paperback. Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves. This week, Educational Leadership, the flagship publication of ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) said this about the book: “Quiet will help teachers who hope to make classrooms more welcoming to introverted kids gain a greater understanding of how highly reserved children operate, how to respectfully coax them out, and how to help them learn to work comfortably in groups—in school and out.”  We couldn’t agree more. And to read Susan’s article, “What Do Teachers Really Think of Quiet Students?, click here.

Quiet by Susan Cain

I first thought about the powers and challenges of introversion some 26 years ago, when I began my freshman year at Princeton University.

From the minute I set foot on campus, I saw that college could be an extraordinary place for introverts and extroverts alike. A place where you were expected to spend your time reading and writing. A place where it was cool to talk about ideas. A place where there were so many people, each doing his or her own thing, that you could create your own brand of social life. If you were an introvert, you could find friends with common interests and enjoy their company one-on-one or in small groups; if you were an extrovert, the social possibilities were endless, just the way extroverts like them.

I was an introvert, and I thrived. (more…)

The Social Animal by David Brooks

Several years ago I did some reporting on why so many kids drop out of high school, despite all rational incentives. That took me quickly to studies of early childhood and research on brain formation. Once I started poking around that realm, I found that people who study the mind are giving us an entirely new perspective on who we are and what it takes to flourish.

We’re used to a certain story of success, one that emphasizes getting good grades, getting the right job skills and making the right decisions. But these scientists were peering into the innermost mind and shedding light on the process one level down, in the realm of  emotions, intuitions, perceptions, genetic dispositions and unconscious longings.

I’ve spent several years with their work now, and it’s changed my perspective on everything. In this book, I try to take their various findings and weave them together into one story. This is not a science book. I don’t answer how the brain does things. I try to answer what it all means. I try to explain how these findings  about the deepest recesses of our minds should change the way we see ourselves, raise our kids, conduct business, teach, manage our relationships and practice politics. This story is based on scientific research, but it is really about emotion, character, virtue and love.

We’re not rational animals, or laboring animals; we’re social animals. We emerge out of relationships and live to penetrate each other’s souls.

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

In this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education, staff reporter David Glenn has written an interesting piece considering the pioneering work—and controversial viewpoints—of psychologist, professor and author Carol Dweck. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) took note of this article and linked to it in their weekly INBOX e-newsletter, sent out today.

Dweck, currently a professor at Stanford University, is a leading expert on motivation and personality psychology.  Having done more than twenty years of research on mindset, she has come to form what many consider to be a contrarian view: by fostering the belief that intelligence is a fixed trait, and praising students for simply “being smart”, educators do a disservice not only to students but to society-at-large.

The article has sparked varied reactions among Chronicle readers.  In exchange for a free copy of Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, we’d like to get your point of view as well.  Simply read the Chronicle article and/or the book excerpt and post a thoughtful comment here.  Then email us for your free copy (please be sure to include your full school mailing address).