Decidedly ambivalent about the Pulitzer Prize winners.
Philosophical Wednesday.

Readable psychology.

I do not have children, and I have never been that interested in children (my nieces and nephews notwithstanding). And yet I enjoyed the hell out of Po Bronson's and Ashley Merryman's bestseller NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children.*

Nurture I didn't expect to like it or find it all that interesting, but it was one of those books I picked up because it was getting a lot of word-of-mouth attention, and for some reason, every book Po Bronson touches seems to become a mega-bestseller. Well, I guess I know why he's so popular. What he and Merryman have produced here is a quick-reading, interesting psychology textbook, and that's a rare beast. (Take it from someone who took a lot of credits of psychology in college.)

The premise of the book is to debunk, basically, a lot of the things we "know" about childrearing. There are chapters on how telling your child constantly that he or she is smart actually lowers their motivation (consider instead praising their effort); how the one less hour of sleep modern kids get can lead to increased rates of obesity and ADHD; why kids lie (and they all do--I LOVED this chapter); why IQ tests administered to young children don't work; and language acquisition (among many other topics). All parents should give this book a quick glance, and I think it would be even more useful for people who work with kids on a regular basis, including children's librarians.

*This is why it's a good idea to sometimes read nonfiction out of your regular subject area interests. You never know what you'll find.