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Extended Audio Sample NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children Audiobook, by Ashley Merryman Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (9,867 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ashley Merryman, Po Bronson Narrator: Ashley Merryman, Po Bronson Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9781600248412
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In a world of modern, involved, caring parents, why are so many kids aggressive and cruel? Where is intelligence hidden in the brain, and why does that matter? Why do cross-racial friendships decrease in schools that are more integrated? If 98 percent of kids think lying is morally wrong, then why do 98 percent of kids lie? What’s the single most important thing that helps infants learn language?

NurtureShock is a groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They argue that when it comes to children we have mistaken good intentions for good ideas. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, they demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring, because key twists in the science have been overlooked.

Nothing like a parenting manual, the authors’ work is an insightful exploration of themes and issues that transcend the lives of children and adults. One of the most influential books about children ever published, NurtureShock offers a revolutionary new perspective on children that upends a library’s worth of conventional wisdom and gets to the core of how we grow, learn, and live.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Adds insight to irresistible nonfiction subject matter…Destined to turn up in conversations among working parents.”

    New York Times

  • Bronson's genial voice and enthusiasm work well as he narrates his and Merryman's paradigm-shifting text on parenting. In general, Bronson's energy will pull in listeners; he's at his best when discussing the theory and science behind it. His tone and emphasis help guide listeners through sometimes-complex subjects and terms. AudioFile
  • Bronson's genial voice and enthusiasm work well as he narrates his and Merryman's paradigm-shifting text on parenting. In general, Bronson's energy will pull in listeners; he's at his best when discussing the theory and science behind it. His tone and emphasis help guide listeners through sometimes-complex subjects and terms. AudioFile
  • “Blinding…Brilliant.”

    Washington Post

  • “Compelling…Captivating…Explains cutting-edge research to the lay readership…It’s riveting.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Some of the most groundbreaking research on children conducted in years…will knock your socks off.”

    Huffington Post

  • “The Freakonomics of child rearing…A fantastic read…A wake-up call for parents.”

    Good Morning America

  • “The most important book I’ve read this year…If you only read one thing I review, please make it this.”

    Wired

  • “A boon for concerned parents.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Thorough research backs up numerous cited case studies, experts’ findings, and examination of successful progressive programs at work in schools.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Astonishing…Prepare to be slack-jawed…This tour de force is one of the best parenting psychology books in years and will likely be seismic in influence.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A provocative collection of essays…A skilled, accessible presentation of scientific research in layman’s language.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This is an important, thought-provoking book. The chapter on chronic sleep deprivation alone is worth the price. In comparison to thirty years ago, kids from kindergarten through high school are getting an hour less snooze time—which is negatively impacting IQ, knowledge retention, emotional well-being, attentiveness, and weight. The practical implications of such research are obvious—and our family recently made an important household change: earlier bedtimes for all, regardless of age.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “Irresistible…NurtureShock will make you a better mom or dad without you even knowing it.”

    TheDailyBeast.com

  • A Library Journal Best Book of 2009
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An Audie Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julievila | 2/1/2014

    " Holy cow! So much information and so many personal thoughts. Someone remind me to read this again in 5 years when I have teens and tweens. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 HippieMommy | 1/31/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. I think that part of what I loved so much about it is that it helped me to reconsider some of my well-intentioned (but perhaps "wrong") thoughts and actions. I would recommend this book to all parents and to those who work with children. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 1/21/2014

    " I enjoyed this book and only wished I'd read it much earlier in my life as a parent. I've already attempted to adjust how I encourage my children and compliment them. Well written and worth reading for parents and parents to be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Desiree Loeven | 1/6/2014

    " Info book. Some good, new parenting info with solid research, as well as some shaky connections with just as much research. Above and beyond common reasoning in some parts, and answered some of my own troubling parental questions about over-praising,the 'rebellious' years, and how to best teach self control. My favorite part is 1. Intelligence is malleable and growable and 2. Executive functioning and stick-to-it-tiveness can be enhanced through regular planning and activities. Recommend, with a mind to harvest the best bits. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michaela | 12/24/2013

    " I actually upgraded The Wisdom of Whores after reading this book. The two books should be read together as a "How we Fool Ourselves 101" primer. Every current parenting notion ruined one by one on the rocky shore of science. And some sneaking suspicions you had confirmed to boot. Want to really know about bullying, tv-viewing, early language development, "gifted" kids, teen lying...well here you go. Be brave. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suphatra | 12/23/2013

    " Recommended read for parents, parents-to-be, and those who work with children. Makes you rethink how you think about raising children. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathryn | 12/14/2013

    " Presses have stopped. Kathryn really enjoyed non-fiction. Kathryn will have to read it again sometime soon. Well, maybe later this year. I don't want to overdo it. I will encourage anyone and everyone to read this book, but most especially, parents. Parents will be fascinated by this book. I've actually tried things they say work and they do. Actually work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chak | 12/11/2013

    " Nurture Shock was the best parenting book I've ever read. Admittedly, I haven't read many. I don't tend to like them, but I have read a few. On the cover, there is a quote from Good Morning America which calls the book "The Freakonomics of child rearing...", with which I completely agree. If you liked the way Freakonomics challenged conventional wisdom (and conservative wisdom - ZING!) with science presented as a fast-paced, quippy narrative, then this book is for you. So, why didn't I give it five stars? I gave it four stars because I felt there should have been more recommendations, given how many fascinating findings there were. However, I don't think that recommendations were necessarily the goal the authors had in mind. Overall, I really liked the book, it challenged my way of thinking about children in some ways and reinforced things I believed on my own that are unpopular (such as Baby Einstein videos and "educational programming" for very young children is more than a waste of time, it is BAD). Here are the brief version of my notes from this book (please don't let having a list of takeaways discourage you from reading the book, because I think this is a VERY important book for parents to read and the notes below don't even come close to capturing the most important points of the book): 1. Don't EVER tell a child he is smart. 2. Praise has to be incredibly specific, and based on the child's efforts. 3. Kids need more sleep than they usually get. Not having enough sleep messes up everyone's brains, but in kids, it is exponentially worse. 4. Don't let the sleep schedule slide on weekends. 5. Take a specific and proactive approach to discussing race with your child. Platitudes such as "everyone is equal" are useless at best. Talk about skin color specifically and how people discriminate based on that and why that, specifically, is wrong. 6. Effective lying demonstrates a specific kind of intelligence. Children often lie just to please their parents. 7. Intelligence testing / testing for gifted programs prior to second grade is completely, utterly useless and is far more likely to identify the wrong children as advanced at early ages. 8. Ignoring the fights between siblings is a really bad idea. 9. If your teenager argues with you, it's probably a good thing. 10. You can teach a kid to have self control and focus, even at fairly young ages (such as kindergarten). How I wish my son went through the "TOOLS" curriculum they so lovingly discuss in chapter 8. 11. Watching Arthur will most likely cause more aggression in children than watching Power Rangers. Baby Einstein is not just useless, it's often detrimental to a very young child's vocabulary development. 12. Having a zero tolerance toward bullying and other acts of aggression is most likely ineffective and can cause some unwanted and unexpected results. 13. Talking to your baby is not as important as reacting appropriately and correctly to his attempts at vocalization. 14. Babies cannot learn language from any sort of recorded medium. 15. I loved learning about the "Hedonic Treadmill" theory, which was explained on page 228 as "... we have to keep working hard just to stay in in the same relative place in society. Even when our situation improves, the sense of achievement is only temporary, because our hedonistic desires and expectations rise at the same rate as our circumstances." This means "...lottery winners are not any happier, long-term, than non-winners..." 16. Trying to get a child younger than 12 to do a gratitude journal in order to help them realize how lucky they are and how much they have to be thankful for can really freaking bite you in the ass. Don't do that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Culatta | 10/12/2013

    " This is a great "pop psychology book" and each chapter brings a new set of discussion topics. My family is going to use this for a "Family Book Club" book before next year's beach trip. Looking forward to talking more with my family about it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bethan | 9/10/2013

    " Read for the bookclub that I keep reading the books for and then missing. Interesting experiments on kids, coupled with unfounded extrapolations on the meaning of the results. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cate | 8/25/2013

    " I read this when I was having a few problems with the teenager. It did nothing but to scare me into thinking that everything I was doing was somehow wrong or unable to be changed. It had some good advice but really ... sometimes it's better just to trust yourself "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caren | 8/19/2013

    " I only read half of it, but what I did read was GREAT! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karren | 3/24/2013

    " Quick read that challenges some of your assumptions about parenting -- very interesting and I will probably review it again later. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanice | 10/31/2012

    " A must read for every parent. A different way of thinking about children regarding sleep, praise, early language etc. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ren | 7/2/2012

    " This was an interesting review of different studies on child/teen development. I especially liked sleep effects and the correlation between parental interaction and language development. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erica McArthur | 6/26/2012

    " Informative but still a quick and easy read. Definitely recommended to anyone who has kids or who has ever thought of raising kids. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terra Holman | 2/25/2012

    " As someone who deals with kids and all their personalities on a daily basis, I didn't find too much enlightening here. However, I think it'd be a great read for new parents. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katy | 12/9/2011

    " It was an interesting book, and nowadays some of insights keep popping up in mainstream press (Oh really, starting the school day later will give the highschoolers more sleep. Yep, genius :D) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 George | 11/26/2011

    " The Freakonomics of child development books. Enjoyable, but too scattered in it's approach. I would have preferred a bit more depth. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lise Embley | 9/25/2011

    " Wish I'd read this book 25 years ago. I know it is much more recently written than that, but It would have been very useful information when my first three were young. I hope it will influence education policy. Very readable, actionable, and interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Corinna | 5/21/2011

    " maybe i gave this 4 stars since i've seen much of the authors' discovery's in my own family's behaviors. clearly defined, well written, fairly easy read. i liked that there seemed to be an actual desire to understand rather than support a specific outlook or study. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keirsten | 5/12/2011

    " One of the best parenting books I've ever cared to read. This book offers real reliable information that left me feeling deeply informed on various subjects! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann Marie | 5/9/2011

    " This is very thought provoking. I still haven't fully processed my thoughts. I think it would require several readings to absorb it all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 5/9/2011

    " like a really good lit review of the current social science research on education and development. read it in a couple days, and will probably reread when parenthood becomes more imminent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Blackbirdpie | 5/8/2011

    " Interesting topics but the writing was sometimes sloppy and exaggerated. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 5/8/2011

    " Wow! As a mom I really got a lot out of this book. If you have kids, it's a must read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean | 5/4/2011

    " Highly recommend to all parents! "

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About the Author
Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman's NurtureShock was on the New York Times bestseller list for six months. One of the most influential books about children ever published, NurtureShock landed on more than 35 "Year's Best" lists and has been translated into 16 languages. The authors have won nine national awards for their reporting, including the PEN USA Award for Literary Journalism and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Outstanding Journalism. Prior to their collaboration, Bronson authored five books, including What Should I Do with My Life?, a #1 New York Times bestseller with more than ten months on the list. Merryman's journalism has appeared in Time, Newsweek, New York, The Washington Post, and many other venues. Bronson lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children. Merryman lives in Los Angeles.
About the Narrator

Po Bronson is the author of five books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller What Should I Do With My Life? His New York magazine articles with Ashley Merryman on the science of parenting have won the Magazine Journalism Award and a Clarion Award. Their articles for Time magazine have won the award for outstanding journalism from the Council on Contemporary Families. Bronson lives in San Francisco, with his wife and two children.