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The Smartest Kids

Thanks Alfie for responding in the Huffington Post with the same startled reaction I had at the front page review in last Sunday’s NY Times book review Likely to Succeed, written by Annie Murphy Boyd about a book entitled The Smartest Kids in the Wold and How they Got That Way, by Amanda Ripley . The book is is rife with assumptions that run counter to fact and which ignores even cursory attention to the differences in the populations involved in our various “international” comparisons.

What an odd choice for that prestigious front cover,  and what better example of what I had noted some weeks ago on this blog about “common sense.”  No copy-editor asks for corroboration of the claims when they go along with the current belief system, of course. Part of the power is subliminal—we just take it in without noticing and it reinforces itself.  We all do it.

An example, from my morning’s quick scan of my emails.


I read it as “school desserts”–and since it struck me as exactly fitting into the current set of “reform” ideas I just sighed and moved to the next e-mail.



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