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[Book Review] Ungifted: Redefining Intelligence

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Here at Thinking Organized, we know that intelligence manifests itself in many different ways. Some of our students are amazing artists, gifted athletes, current events aficionados, fabulous bakers, or experts on specific topics such as Formula I Racing. When they enter our office, they are not solely defined by a neuropsychological report, but also by their passions and character. Many people view academic achievement and IQ as the best indicator of intelligence and future success, and this can have a harmful effect on students’ self-concept and ability to realize their potential.

In Scott Barry Kaufman’s fascinating book, Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, he shares his own story about going through life labeled with an auditory learning disability and combines this with relevant research regarding various aspects of intelligence. Kaufman proposes his own definition of intelligence: “Intelligence is the dynamic interplay of engagement and abilities in pursuit of personal goals.” The book is filled with studies proving that a person’s success and fulfillment in life are dependent on so much more than an hours-long decontextualized test administered on one single day of a person’s life. Traits such as openness to experience, maintaining a growth mindset, self-control, and meaningful engagement in pursuit of a goal all play important roles in defining a person. Kaufman also weaves elements of his own personal narrative into the book that gives the reader a real-life sense of why the information is significant while adding engaging humor. If you are looking for an interesting, scientific non-fiction read that doesn’t feel like you are going through a textbook, we highly recommend this book. It will alter your perspective of the true potential inherent in each and every individual and help you reconsider what it means to be labeled as having a “learning disability” in today’s world.

Erica Mechlinski[Book Review] Ungifted: Redefining Intelligence

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