The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words. What is it like to be a child in these new education superpowers?

In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embedded in these countries for one year. Kim, 15, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, 18, exchanges a high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming South Korean city; and Tom, 17, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for a gritty city in Poland.

Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. They had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education. A reporting tour de force, The Smartest Kids in the World is a book about building resilience in a new world—as told by the young Americans who have the most at stake.

*The Smartest Kids in the World, a New York Times bestseller, was selected by Amazon as one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2013.*

Amanda Ripley is an investigative journalist for Time, The Atlantic and other magazines. She is the author, most recently, of THE SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD–and How They Got That Way. Her first book, THE UNTHINKABLE: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--and Why, was published in 15 countries and turned into a PBS documentary. Her work has helped Time win two National Magazine Awards.

Click here to take a look inside.

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way


New America Foundation Emerson Fellow Amanda Ripley’s book, “The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way” (http://www.amazon.com/The-Smartest-Ki…) follows several American students who spent a year living with the world’s new education superpowers.

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