The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley

When I came up with my 25th Year Book Challenge, I wanted to fall back in love with reading, but I also wanted to learn new things. So I am mixing in some non-fiction books, and this one caught my eye when I was at the airport early browsing one of those news kiosks.

SmartestKids250The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley takes a look at the U.S. education system versus the top three international education systems: Finland, South Korea and Poland. To do this, Ripley connected with three American exchange students to give her the inside scoop on what makes those countries different than ours.

The most interesting discovery is how each country’s path to success is completely different and a lot depends on different cultural norms and history that shape their education systems. Some of the exchange students thrive while others struggle. The difference in testing, which all American students are well acquainted with, is also astonishing.

What I liked the most about this book was that Ripley balanced necessary statistics with the student anecdotes and her own personal observations. I was never bogged down or bored with numbers. Her writing style was pretty conversational, for the most part, and I sped through this book in a week flat.

Next: The Kissing Sailor by Lawrence Verria & George Galdorisi

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