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IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea

Murdoch, Stephen

75 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1630268712 / ISBN 13: 9781630268718
Published by Wiley
Used Condition: Fine Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea

Publisher: Wiley


Book Condition:Fine

About this title


Advance praise for

IQ A Smart History of a Failed Idea

""An up-to-date, reader-friendly account of the continuing saga of the mismeasure of women and men.""
—Howard Gardner, author of Frames of Mind and Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons

""The good news is that you won't be tested after you've read Stephen Murdoch's important new book. The better news is that IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea is compelling from its first pages, and by its conclusion, Murdoch has deftly demonstrated that in our zeal to quantify intelligence, we have needlessly scarred—if not destroyed—the lives of millions of people who did not need an IQ score to prove their worth in the world. IQ is first-rate narrative journalism, a book that I hope leads to necessary change.""
—Russell Martin, author of Beethoven's Hair, Picasso's War, and Out of Silence

""With fast-paced storytelling, freelance journalist Murdoch traces now ubiquitous but still controversial attempts to measure intelligence to its origins in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . Murdoch concludes that IQ testing provides neither a reliable nor a helpful tool in understanding people's behavior, nor can it predict their future success or failure. . . . A thoughtful overview and a welcome reminder of the dangers of relying on such standardized tests.""
—Publishers Weekly

""Stephen Murdoch delivers a lucid and engaging chronicle of the ubiquitous and sometimes insidious use of IQ tests. This is a fresh look at a century-old and still controversial idea—that our human potential can be distilled down to a single test score. Murdoch's compelling account demands a reexamination of our mania for mental measurement.""
—Paul A. Lombardo, author of Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court & Buck v. Bell

From the Inside Flap:

IQ scores have the power to determine the chances we have in life: the people we meet, the schools we attend, the jobs we get, the lives we live. Very few of us, however, understand what IQ tests and ratings really mean. In this fascinating, provocative book, Stephen Murdoch explains the turbulent history and controversial current uses of intelligence testing.

At the turn of the previous century, so-called experts assessed people's mental abilities by measuring the strength of their hands, the size of their heads, even the swiftness of their blows. A few years later, when psychologists started measuring problem-solving with their newfangled IQ tests, the fledgling field took a radical leap forward at just the right time. American institutions thought they needed the novel intelligence tests because they had more people in new situations than they knew what to do with: immigrants were pouring into Ellis Island, public schools were overflowing, young women seemed to be promiscuous, and the U.S. Army was hopelessly unprepared for World War I. In response, psychologists persuaded everyone—including themselves—that they could actually measure intelligence and that intelligence testing could solve many of society's problems.

In IQ, Stephen Murdoch explores how and why IQ tests were created and how they have been widely used and misused over the past century. IQ is richly detailed and filled with insightful profiles of both the test takers and the intelligence experts who developed and continue to promote intelligence testing. Ultimately, Murdoch argues, intelligence testing is not anywhere near as reliable or important as we have been led to believe.

Revealing the wide-ranging and powerful impact intelligence testing has had on public policy and private lives—and showing why we need a whole new model of explaining intelligence—IQ is important reading for psychology and history buffs, parents, and anyone who has ever sweated through the SATs.

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