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Download The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ Audiobook, by David Shenk Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (637 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Shenk Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9780307704450
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With irresistibly persuasive vigor, David Shenk debunks the long-standing notion of genetic “giftedness,” and presents dazzling new scientific research showing how greatness is in the reach of every individual.

DNA does not make us who we are. “Forget everything you think you know about genes, talent, and intelligence,” he writes. “In recent years, a mountain of scientific evidence has emerged suggesting a completely new paradigm: not talent scarcity, but latent talent abundance.”

Integrating cutting-edge research from a wide swath of disciplines—cognitive science, genetics, biology, child development—Shenk offers a highly optimistic new view of human potential. The problem isn't our inadequate genetic assets, but our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have. IQ testing and widespread acceptance of “innate” abilities have created an unnecessarily pessimistic view of humanity—and fostered much misdirected public policy, especially in education.

The truth is much more exciting. Genes are not a “blueprint” that bless some with greatness and doom most of us to mediocrity or worse. Rather our individual destinies are a product of the complex interplay between genes and outside stimuli-a dynamic that we, as people and as parents, can influence.

This is a revolutionary and optimistic message. We are not prisoners of our DNA. We all have the potential for greatness.

Includes a bonus PDF of the back pages, containing chapter notes, expansions on the material, and a bibliography Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • Intent on burying the concept of inborn genius, Shenk uses the 128 pages of "The Argument" to drive home how mistaken the notion of being genetically destined at birth to be a Mozart or a Michael Jordan is. For genes aren’t the inalterable essences that environmental effects merely help out; rather, genes and environment interact to realize a person’s potential in a constant and complicated process that Shenk attractively exemplifies through the athletic life of Ted Williams, who began hitting practice at age six and, equally important, never gave it up; also, considered to have magically sharp sight, he tested only high normal upon entering naval aviation—the thing was, he developed himself to, as Ty Cobb said, "see more of the ball than any man alive." En route to the startling revelation that Lamarckism (variation by inheritance, not Darwinian natural selection) has truth in it, after all, Shenk corrects common knowledge about what twin studies and IQ tests really show; clarifies the arguably most misunderstood genetics term, heritable; and scientifically revives faith in not just practice and determination but also parenting and lifestyle as crucial factors, along with genes, in the realization of talents. Since this flies in the face of a century of genetic determinism, Shenk employs the equally engrossing 141 pages of "The Evidence" to cite, quote, paraphrase, and comment upon the sources for virtually every assertion in "The Argument. Booklist, starred review
  • An inspiring and liberating book. It's a powerful antidote to the genetic determinism rampant in the Age of the Genome, and an instructive guide, grounded in science, to living a more enriching life. STEVEN JOHNSON, author of The Invention of Air, Ghost Map, Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open, Emergence, and Interface Culture
  • This book, both rigorous and accessible, is a close study of the idea of genius, an investigation of popular misconceptions about genetics, and an examination of the American virtue of self-determination.  It is written with assurance, insight, clarity, and wit. ANDREW SOLOMON, author of The Noonday Demon (National Book Award Winner, 2001)
  • A great book. David Shenk handily dispels the myth that one must be born a genius. From consistently whacking the ball out of the park to composing ethereal piano sonatas, Shenk convincingly makes the case for the potential genius that lies in all of us. RUDOLPH E. TANZI, PH.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Director, Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • David Shenk sweeps aside decades of misconceptions about genetics -- and shows that by overstating the importance of genes, we've understated the potential of ourselves. This is a persuasive and inspiring book that will make you think anew about your own life and our shared future. DANIEL H. PINK, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
  • The importance of David Shenk's book is that he has made accessible to a wide audience the advances in the understanding of how each person develops. I congratulate him. SIR PATRICK BATESON, FRS, Emeritus Professor of Ethology, Cambridge University; former Biological Secretary of the Royal Society (UK); and co-author, Design For A Life: How Behaviour Develops 
  • [Shenk] tells engaging stories, lucidly explains complex research and offers fresh insights in the nature of exceptional peformance,,,,such efforts have resulted in a deeply interesting and important book. David Shenk may not be a genius yet, but give him time. New York Times Book Review
  • Inspired...The Genius in All of Us has quietly blown my mind. Salon
  • …a welcome new book…you’ll find [Shenk] a fluid, easy writer…The Genius in All of Us is a quick, compelling read. The Boston Globe
  • Empowering...myth-busting...highly readable...entertaining. KIRKUS REVIEWS  
  • In clear, forceful language, backed up by a boatload of science, David Shenk delivers a message that should be read by every parent, educator, and policy-maker who cares about the future of our children. The Genius in All of Us convincingly debunks the "genes are destiny" argument when it comes to human talent, and will force you to rethink everything from IQ tests and twins studies to child-rearing practices. Shenk's book turns Baby Mozart on his head, and will give pause--a hopeful, empowering pause--to parents who wish to nurture excellence in their children. STEPHEN S. HALL, author of Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience
  • David Shenk freshens and transforms a familiar subject to reveal all the interacting forces and factors that make us who we are. Development is a tricky business and Shenk understands this. By focusing his considerable writing talents on this terribly important topic, he has provided parents, policymakers, and educators with a book that will help them cut through the noise and make sense of every child's development. MARK. S. BLUMBERG, Ph.D., F. Wendell Miller Professor of Psychology, University of Iowa; editor-in-chief, Behavioral Neuroscience; and author, Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us about Development and Evolution

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicky | 2/6/2014

    " An interesting read for parents on how they can influence the development of their children. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alicia | 2/5/2014

    " This book was interesting to read, but only sub-par in its reporting of genetic information. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alicia Brown | 2/1/2014

    " FABULOUS book. I everyone who feels worthless or unable to learn should read this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandon | 1/23/2014

    " The author basically explained how genetics does not necessarily code for genius and that a whole bunch more (including our environment) influences our lives that genes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brett Jager | 1/23/2014

    " Interesting book comparing traditional Mendalian genetics vs. breakthrough genetics + environment genetics. It's not just a nature vs. nurture argument for the people we become but a combination of both. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerry Michel | 1/20/2014

    " Especially liked the layperson's description of how the brain is built for continual growth; enjoyed the first half better than the second half...the recommendations for giving parents/students/colleagues concrete ways to move neuroscience research into learning in the classroom and home are really helpful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Chen | 1/14/2014

    " I am in the field of early childhood education. This is the book that I've been wishing for. A great read for teachers, parents, and people who wants to know more about intelligence. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Edel | 1/3/2014

    " Some very interesting ideas -- but does one have to say the same things -- nearly verbatim -- half a dozen times on each page? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 12/14/2013

    " Inspiring! Intelligence is not determined entirely by genetics. It's Genetics + Environment, and mostly environment. You can learn anything you want! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 11/24/2013

    " A nail in the coffin for genetic determinism. Useful for parents when thinking about what we or out children 'cannot' do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johan Sulaiman | 11/7/2013

    " what makes a genius? not so much genes or genetics. The recipe is: hardwork, persistence, competition, excellent training methods and/or teacher (at an early age as possible) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kari | 10/29/2013

    " Very interesting studies about where 'genius' is born. Very good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hw | 9/21/2012

    " Great introduction, very useful references. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Gorycki | 8/3/2012

    " This is a well written inspiring book. It is organized in an interesting fashion with 158 pages dedicated to Sources and Notes, Clarifications and Amplifications. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miya | 12/23/2011

    " I absolutely loved this book! It was fascinating, intriguing and it made me want to be better :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 6/27/2011

    " Enjoyable. Good read and interesting research. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cassy | 5/31/2011

    " I loved this book. It definitely made me think...and continue thinking after I put the book down. Definitely a recommend! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeannine | 5/20/2011

    " I liked this book, but wished there was more meat to it. It does have extensive chapter notes, but short of reading all the same materials he read, they don't really help me understand it more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 sheena | 5/17/2011

    " Another self-help book from Dad. Happy, happy. Joy, joy. All about how dangerous and limiting it is to insist that our talents and potentials are a result of biology alone. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 5/13/2011

    " Interesting book. I already believe that you can do anything if you try hard enough. If you want to accomplish something bad enough nothing but yourself can stop you, so this book confirmed in my mind what I really already believed. "

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About the Author
Author David Shenk

David Shenk is the author of five national bestsellers including The Forgetting, Data Smog, and, most recently, The Immortal Game. He is a contributor to National Geographic, Slate, Gourmet, Harper’s, the New Yorker, NPR, and PBS.

About the Narrator

Mark Deakins is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator and actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.