Tag Archives: Audio books

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Nurtureshock : new thinking about children

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Alternative title to this book could be:

  • All Your Instincts About Parenting are Wrong
  • This is How We Unknowingly Harm Our Kids

Nurture Shock has been a New York Times Bestselling title and made a number of waves when it was first publishes. Bronson and Merryman discuss a myriad of topics and parental instincts that are actually damaging to our children. Some of the notable elements are:

– Call our children smart. This forces smart kids to cut back on effort for fear of failure. Praise their efforts and see their grades and comprehension rise.

– The entire concept of the US school system is designed to be convenient for adults, not the kids. School starts early so that teachers & parents can avoid traffic. All that testing done to get your kid into preschool has no merit and is not a fair assessment as kids mental capabilities are not linear.

– Educational shows produce more aggression in shows that regular TV. Why? Because of the large number of insults, jests and nuanced bullying that is unresolved. Most American TV shows are centered on witty rebarbs and smart comebacks. While that may well work for adults, children don’t really understand the difference. They see someone be insulting without any reprimand. Just look at DW in the TV show Arthur.

Other topics discussed are: lying, self-esteem, teen rebellion, sibling relationships, how kids view race, aggression and language acquisition. To say that I really enjoyed this audio book is an understatement. What Bronson and Merryman do is dig through an enormous amount of studies to give us the main bullet points. Much of what is good for our kids is counter to our natural beliefs and counter to the society that has been established for these kids. The language acquisition segment was perhaps my favorite and I have been trying many of the suggestions made by Bronson’s and Merryman’s observations with great success with my son. I just really wish that his focus hadn’t been on mono-lingual girls. I’ve already heard that boys have a slower language acquisition rate, and after this book, I’m still wondering if that’s true. What about kids who are raising in a bilingual home? Where does their rate of language acquisition fall? Other than the fact that by the age of 1, children have filtered out all other language to focus on the ones they hear daily, I don’t know much about this topic. Maybe there are no studies done on it, but learning about rich girls learning to talk eloquently at 15 months does not relate at all to my situation.

This is a great book for parents and falls into the topic of parenting books that I generally like to read. Fact-based discussions of scholarly social studies.

If you liked Nurture Shock, then I readily recommend these titles as well:


Do you audio?

Some, slightly organized, thoughts on the world of audiobooks

Working at the library, I see a lot of people shy away from audiobooks when wanting to request an item that’s not on the shelves. Usually I get either a confused face, or an annoyed face at suggesting the audio version, which tends to have 100 less holds than the book. Even in the blogging world, I read a lot of reviews from people who listened to the book instead of reading it.

Do you audio? How so?

I’ve tried a couple times, but I can never really commit to it. I don’t know if its because the discs tend to be 12 hours long and I can only listen to them in 30 minute increments. Sometimes it feels like cheating, having the book read to me. Most of the time, my attention starts to wander and its more difficult rewinding through a disc than it is flipping back a couple of pages. A friend told me that her parents use audiobooks on long roadtrips. Since most of the family reads the same genre of books, they’ll listen to one disc, have a discussion, then pop in the next disc. This makes sense to me. Its like being in a traveling book club, cross country. Another friend of mine actually took this one step farther, and recorded her favorite movies onto cassette tape (yes, that’s right, audio only of a movie) and would listen to that on road trips.

If you do listen to audiobooks, how much does narration matter?

From the few audiobooks I’ve listened to, I’ve realized that the reader is perhaps the most important element to the story. Their intonation, tone of voice, pacing, all of that determines the mood and feel of the story. I wonder how the reader selection process goes? Does the author pick who reads? How often does the author read? Is there any author that does the narration for all of the audiobooks?

Audiobook trivia:

– No audio version exists for Catcher in Rye. JD Salinger won’t allow it.

Caedmon (now a subsidiary of Harper Collins Publishers) can be credited with having started the recordings of literature more than 50 years ago. (www.audiobookquest.com)

– Those early recordings were made onto vinyl records, then cassette tapes in the 1970’s, finally transferring over to CD and MP3 formats.

So you tell me, do you listen to audiobooks?