Reviewed by Carolyn Cook.
This book details the findings of an extensive five-year longitudinal study that strove to answer two questions: How do young people become committed to the development of their talent? And, why do some young people become disengaged from their talent? The authors sought to find commonalities and differences between those teens that went on to use their talents into adulthood from those that drifted away from their areas of talent into jobs that required only average skills.
Talented Teenagers is divided into three sections. Part I discusses what talent is, what talented teenagers are like, how they live, and the research study itself. Part II discusses areas of talent as well as the impact families, schools, and teachers have on talent development. The final section discusses the commitment to, and cultivation of, talent and includes a summary of the research.
"What Have We Learned?" found at the end of Part III, is a reader friendly summary of this very complex piece of work. Particularly concise is the "Summary of Factors Associated With Talent Development" section. The authors list the following eight factors, from their research, that influence talent development.
The authors, Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde and Whalen, have produced a very detailed account of their research findings. This book is best suited to the research enthusiast, as it is quite complex at times, but the information discussed within would be valuable to anyone interested in supporting gifted teens develop their talent.
Permission to reprint this review was granted by Carolyn Cook.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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