The Plank

The Genius Problem

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As the father of a verbally precocious young girl, I was very interested in David Brooks' analysis of how to raise a brilliant novelist:

If you wanted to picture how a typical genius might develop, you’d
take a girl who possessed a slightly above average verbal ability. It
wouldn’t have to be a big talent, just enough so that she might gain
some sense of distinction. Then you would want her to meet, say, a
novelist, who coincidentally shared some similar biographical traits.
Maybe the writer was from the same town, had the same ethnic
background, or, shared the same birthday anything to create a sense
of affinity.

This contact would give the girl a vision of her
future self. It would, Coyle emphasizes, give her a glimpse of an
enchanted circle she might someday join. It would also help if one of
her parents died when she was 12, infusing her with a profound sense of
insecurity and fueling a desperate need for success.

I was totally on board until that last part.

--Jonathan Chait

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