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Book Review of: How Do You Compare?
We highly recommend this
Review of How Do You Compare by Andrew N. Williams
|Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author
of over 4000 articles in print or online. |
For me, this book started off on dangerous ground but handled it well. You see, I'm in Mensa (the High IQ Society) and there are some problems with how we are often portrayed in movies or written about in books and periodicals.
And so I'm a little edgy when someone starts talking about intelligence. When Chapter One started talking about Mensa and I saw the subhead, "Are Mensa Members Narcissistic?," I thought, "Here we go again. More negative stereotyping." But, it wasn't that at all. It was actually <gasp> a solid piece of writing that left the reader accurately informed. This whole book is like that. Williams is a researcher, and everything in the book is backed by something other than the opinionated blather that seems to dominate publications today. And that something consists of--well, you can read the book to see what I mean.
Not to dwell on Chapter One, but I have quite a bit of interest in this subject and if I tell you about how well Williams handled Chapter One you will get a feel for the overall quality of the book. Inside Mensa, we geniuses debate all the time about what intelligence is and what genius is. The standard intelligence tests basically address only 7 areas of intelligence--primarily those involve in information processing and reasoning ability. This is a bit myopic.
Why is this myopic? For example, consider an elite athlete.
If this example of the athlete is not enough for you, consider people who amaze us with their creativity or other talents despite not being known for their math or reading skills:
The list goes on and on. The point is there are many areas of intelligence our standard tests don't even look at. Just because you don't get a score of X on some standard test doesn't mean you aren't very, very smart. Williams brings this point out and helps readers to really see where they are smart and perhaps why.
Williams takes this same approach in subsequent chapters, addressing such things as how creative you are, how healthy your relationships are, how good a lover you are, and how happy you are. He even has a section that helps you discover where your locus of control is and what that means.
The book contains 12 simple tests. After each test is an explanation that helps you interpret your score. Williams also provides very useful information on how you might address some needed areas of improvement.
How Do You Compare is a good tool for personal assessment. It can help anyone to squelch the negative messages of insufficiency we constantly are bombarded with. And, it can help other people to overcome overestimates of their abilities. But, I think it will primarily help people to take stock of themselves and feel pretty darn good.
You can use this book to keep yourself mentally and emotionally on track. Perhaps if enough people did, we'd all live in a much brighter world.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.