Amanda Ripley

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The Smartest Kids in the World

New York Times bestseller, The Smartest Kids was selected by The Economist, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Amazon.com as one of the most notable books of 2013.

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 an upscale 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 what works worldwide, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these places had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. They had changed. Teaching had become more serious; parents had focused on what mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education. A reporting tour de force, The Smartest Kids is a book about building resilience in a new world—as told by the young Americans with the most at stake.

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