“This new paradigm does not herald a simple shift from ‘nature’ to ‘nurture.’ Instead, it reveals how bankrupt the phrase ‘nature versus nurture’ really is and demands a whole new consideration of how each of us becomes us. This book begins, therefore, with a surprising new explanation of how genes work, followed by a detailed look at the newly visible building blocks of talent and intelligence. Taken together, a new picture emerges of a fascinating developmental process that we can influence—though never fully control—as individuals, as families, and as a talent-promoting society. While essentially hopeful, the new paradigm also raises unsettling new moral questions with which we all will have to grapple.
The Genius in All of Us is a provocative title, and it would be easy to get the wrong impression. So let me try to defuse any potential misunderstandings: I am not arguing that every human being can become a genius. (Nor would we want a world with that many geniuses.) I am not arguing that we all have exactly the same potential. I am not arguing that genes and genetic differences don’t strongly influence who we are and what we can become.
I am arguing that very few of us ever get to know our own true potential, and that many of us mistake early difficulties for innate limits. I am arguing that genetic influence itself is not predetermined, but an ongoing dynamic process. Not even genetic clones have exactly the same potential, because genes actually depend on environmental inputs to help determine how they get expressed. The genius-in-all-of-us is not some hidden brilliance buried inside of our genes. It is the very design of the human genome—built to adapt to the world around us and to the demands we put on ourselves. With humility, hope, and with extraordinary determination, greatness is something to which any kid—of any age—can aspire.”
~ David Shenk from The Genius in All of Us