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Gifted Lives

This book reveals the dramatic stories of twenty outstandingly gifted people as they grew from early promise to maturity in Britain. Written by an award-winning psychologist who has meticulously recorded these intimate biographies over the last 35 years, this fascinating account reveals the frustrations and triumphs of her remarkable participants, and investigates why some fell by the wayside whilst others reached fame and fortune. The individuals featured here possess a range of intellectual, social and emotional gifts, including mathematics, the arts, empathy and spirituality. As well as negotiating the basic trials of growing up, the particular abilities of these exceptional people often meant they were confronted with extra emotional challenges, such as over-anxious and pushy parents, teacher put-downs, social trip-wires, loss of fun time, boredom and bullying in school and conflicting life choices. Their stories illustrate how seemingly innocuous events such as skipping one or more school grades could have devastating life-long consequences, and allow the reader to ponder intriguing questions such as: Does having a brilliant mind help when you are ethnically different or suffering serious depression? How does a world-class pianist cope when repetitive strain injury strikes, or a young financier when he hits his first million? Joan Freeman's interpretations and insights of the twists and turns of the lives of these extraordinary people are fascinating and deeply moving. She shows us that while fate played a large part in their successes, so did a personal outlook which could see and grab a fleeting chance, overcome great odds, and put in the necessary hard work to lift childhood prodigy to greatness. Readers will identify with many of the intriguing aspects of these people's lives, and perhaps learn something about themselves too.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ideas of Gifts and Talents, and Description of Study. Part 1. So Many Gifts. 1. Maths Prodigy to Saint. 2. Spoilt For Choice. 3. Stark Odds. Part 2. A Dominant Gift. 4. Opera Star. 5. Two Davids and the Goliath of Art. 6. A Good Samaritan. 7. The Gift of Integrity. 8. Musical Chairs. Part 3. Challenges to Gifted Potential. 9. The Label of `Gifted'. 10. Barriers in The Mind. 11. A Gifted Gambler. 12. Gifted Women. Part 4. Beyond Gifts and Talents... 13. Genius. References.

About the Author

Professor Joan Freeman, PhD, is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, which has also honoured her with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with the gifted and talented. She is Founding President of the European Council for High Ability. She has published 14 books, 2 government reports, many scholarly papers, and is invited to lecture around the world. She has a private psychology practice in London. (


"Again and again in this book, the stories surprise and confound. No one reading this book could possibly come away with simple prejudices unchallenged. ... These true stories contain lessons for us all about what it is to have, and respond to, special qualities." -- John Stoboda, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Keele University, in The Psychologist "Freeman's writing throughout is disciplined and carefully objective, without sacrificing any narrative power. ... Gifted Lives--with its many twists and turns--is captivating, inspiring, and educating. I want to recommend the book to parents and educators everywhere. It seems to me it will be easy to find a nugget of information that you can utilize almost immediately." - Joseph Cardillo, Psychology Today "At last, an honest picture of what really happens to the gifted. Joan Freeman understands the psychology of having gifted abilities and its challenges, and has brought a breath of fresh air to this area of human development. I learned a lot and highly recommend it." - Lewis Wolpert CBE, FRS, FRSL, Emeritus Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine, University College London, UK "A sensitive, probing and revealing analysis of the super-bright from childhood to middle-age by Britain's leading analyst of gifted children." - Brenda Maddox, biographer and winner of the Los Angeles Times Biography Award, the Silver PEN Award, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, and the Whitbread Biography Prize. "Joan Freeman has written engaging and often surprising portraits of 20 of the 210 gifted children she has followed into adulthood. This book will inform not only parents, teachers, and scholars of giftedness but all those interested in the unpredictable course of individual lives." - Ellen Winner, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, Boston College USA & Author of Gifted Children: Myths and Realities

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