In Ungifted, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—who was relegated to special education as a child—offers a new way of looking at intelligence. He explores the latest research in genetics, neuroscience, and psychology to challenge the conventional wisdom about the childhood predictors of adult success, arguing for a more holistic approach to intelligence that takes into account each individual’s abilities, engagement, and personal goals. Combining original research and a singular compassion, Ungifted increases our appreciation for all different kinds of minds and ways of achieving both personally meaningful and publicly recognized forms of success.


“Kaufman presents a convincing ‘theory of personal intelligence.’ But what emerges most clearly is how all children—gifted, disabled or simply humming with untapped abilities—need a fine-tuned, holistic education to shine in their own extraordinary ways.”

“Kaufman makes a convincing case for incorporating valuable but less easily measured attributes into our view of intelligence…. Most powerfully, Kaufman illustrates the importance of uncovering what gives each person his or her own brand of intelligence, taking into account individual goals, psychologies and brain chemistry.”
Scientific American Mind

“A good read…introduces the reader to the world of intelligence testing in a highly literate style and pulls back the curtain on some very bad practices in public schools…. Kaufman makes a strong case that anyone can be great, even the ‘ungifted.’”
Post and Courier

“A warmly human and coolly scientific survey of both the reductive and the liberating fruits of two centuries of cognitive research.”
The Scientist

“A convincing—and moving—case for the great potential of even an ‘ordinary’ mind.”

Ungifted is a virtuoso book that gracefully weaves science, psychology, and the author’s personal experience into a powerful argument for valuing the cognitive strengths of all students, particularly those sidelined in the past by short-sighted assumptions about the limits of their potential.”—Steve Silberman, correspondent, Wired magazine

“A moving personal story of overcoming the effects of having been labeled as learning disabled, and at the same time a wide ranging exploration of a set of fascinating topics related to ability, learning, and achievement. An inspiring account that should both educate and give hope to children, teachers, and parents.”—Ellen Winner, Professor of Psychology, Boston College, and author of Gifted Children: Myths and Realities