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Paperback The Myth of Laziness Book

ISBN: 0743213688

ISBN13: 9780743213684

The Myth of Laziness

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Book Overview

"When we call someone lazy, we condemn a human being," writes Mel Levine, M.D. In The Myth of Laziness, the bestselling author of A Mind at a Time shows that children dismissed as unproductive or "lazy" usually suffer from what he calls "output failure"--a neurodevelopmental dysfunction that can continue to cause difficulties into adulthood if left unchecked. The desire to be productive is universal, says Dr. Levine, but that drive can often be frustrated...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Very Informative, Good Insight

I am a college student, and my mother is a high school administrator. During a break I found this in one of her stacks of books and read it on a whim. The result took me by surprise: The majority of this book resonated deeply with me, and has had a profound affect on my schooling ever since. I am a consistent underachiever, and I realized that I am like many of the kids Dr. Levine is working with (this is a revelation one of the parents in the book had as well). Understanding that I'm not "just lazy" allowed me to look objectively at what I have going for me and have already achieved, while reminding me that my significant problems in studying are exactly that-problems-and therefore I can work around them or try to improve myself in those areas. It's important to note that this is not a self-help book, and I wouldn't count on too many people having an experience like mine. However, I found this book to be excellent way to understand why seemingly capable students (me, for instance) have difficulties, and how to fix those difficulties. I don't believe that Dr. Levine lays all of the blame on educators as if they don't try to reach difficult students; his thesis is that people (parents; teachers; and, even though he doesn't say it, the students themselves) sometimes don't know how to approach a student who is having difficulty, and therefore cannot help this "lazy" student.

You'll be able to relate to this book!

Heard the taped version of THE MYTH OF LAZINESS, written andread by Dr. Mel Levine--a professor of pediatrics at the University ofNorth Carolina Medical School.Levine persuasively makes the point that children and adults aren't really lazy when they can be seen not working up to their potential . . . rather, he contends that "everybody yearns to beproductive" . . . and what happens is that they are simply experiencing "output failure" due to different neuro-developmentalweaknesses.While the aforementioned may come across as gobbledygook, it really isn't because of Levine's use of case studies . . . you'llbe able to relate to the seven children and adults profiled, eitherbecause you will see yourself and/or others you know.I liked the last few chapters best because they were devotedto concrete suggestions for what can be done to help supposedlylazy folks . . . tips on how to cultivate writing skills, as well ashow to set up an organized home office, are presented . . . also,teachers are urged to take into account the individuality of theirstudents' learning skills.Furthermore, I found several worksheets in the book version (that I skimmed after listening to the tapes) that can be most helpfulto help students plan their stories and reports.

You can't go faster if the motor's wired wrong

As a career coach I deal with clients who feel embarrassed about their own lack of motivation. And there's a lot of hype these days about "assessments" that are one step away from witchcraft. Here's the Real Deal.Levine argues that most people want to learn and succeed in their lives. What holds them back often is the way their brains are wired. (Okay, he's a lot more scientific.) I can personally relate to some of his examples. I've always had trouble controlling pieces of paper and my desk always looks as though I'd dumped a wastebasket upside down. Throughout my life people have sighed, "You've got to get organized!" Yet I've learned to accomplish a lot by compensating -- once I realized it was a cognitive deficit. And, as Levine points out, adults have an easier time than children. We don't have to excel in so many different areas.Levine acknowledges his own quirks. Don't give me anything you want back, he says, and if you want me to sign something, stand there till you get my signature! I can relate to those too. The lesson is that nearly everyone has strengths as well as functional deficits. If a child doesn't have the coordination for basketball or baseball, he or she can try another sport, like weight-lifting or wrestling. Levine presents knowledge in the form of case studies, which are both educational and easy to follow. He's honest: there are few Cinderella stories and happy endings. That's the part of the book that's most difficult to deal with. His center provides some of the best testing and counseling in the world, yet not everyone will be responsive. It's not enough to receive a diagnosis: you also need a supportive environment, especially if you're a child.I didn't care for Levine's chapter on "what might have happened." I'd rather have seen composite cases or cases with details disguised, with stories of "real" endings. And people need to be aware of non-psychiatric settings that allow people to make progress. I've taken well-designed, non-competitive exercise classes that helped everyone's coordination -- including some who could barely shuffle into the class when they started. However, Levine deserves credit for not succumbing to the simplicities of the self-help genre. You won't find self-diagnostic tests or "ten things you can do..." here. He'sdrawn the line in the sand: he's writing as a physician and scientist. Perhaps the greatest contribution of this book will be to alert teachers, managers, parents and everyone to the great variety of learning skills and the possibility for cognitive deficits. Too many children are ridiculed and even punished for "laziness" and worse, and even adults can be hassled by ignorant bosses, spouses and friends.

Myth of Laziness

I was so grateful to discover this book. I am a homeschooling mom of 4 and since I work closely with my kids on a daily basis I was able to recongnize some real frustrations in my 10 year old son. It had been suggested that I have him tested for ADD but this just didn't seem right to me. When I read Dr. Levine's profile of the child in Ch. 2, it was as if I were reading about my own child, with a few exceptions. I am confident I have found the source of his frustrations. I am recommending this book to every pediatrician, physician and school teacher I know. I am grateful that my son will have the chance to put this information to use for his benefit from such a young age. It makes me grieve for the countless number of intelligent school children and adults that have been accused of being "lazy" or not "living up to their full potential." Shame on us for not taking the time to understand them.

Another outstanding book by Dr. Levine

This book is just as relevant as Dr. Levine's earlier books, such as "All Kinds of Minds" and "Keeping a Head in School," which I read when my son was in grade school. I've also attended a conference where Dr. Levine was the keynote speaker. All of his advice was a tremendous help to me in understanding the reasons why our son was struggling so much in school. He was the classic example of the "lazy" student. Fortunately, he was in a small private school where teachers recognized the problem immediately, he was tested, and by understanding his learning disabilities when he was 6 years old, he successfully completed K-12 and is now in his sophmore year at college. I firmly believe the reason he is where he is today is that we kept him out of public schools, in environments where the teachers understood the way he needed to learn. He was never labeled as "disabled" or "special needs", or put into "special classes." The only difference between the schools he attended and public schools is that the teachers were not bound to the inflexible "teach to the test" format and could offer a range of learning experiences for their students based on individual ability. Teachers who "get" Levine's teachings know how to approach these kids, and our son is living proof that such enlightened teaching methods achieve success for the student.A previous review, written by a teacher, is a typical example of the mind-set of some public school teachers toward students who don't fit the public school model of learning. Blame the student -- it's not the school system's/teacher's problem that they're unwilling to recognize there's no such thing as a "one size fits all" approach to education. Yes, there may be some students who, because of home environment, will have difficulty ever achieving their potential, but too many kids have been written off too soon because of the rigid public school bureaucracy.It wasn't easy to find the money for tuition for 12 years of school, and we're struggling to pay college tuition/expenses now, but we'll never regret a single sacrifice or a single dime we spent. And we'll always be grateful to Dr. Levine for continuing to educate the public about misunderstood children.
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