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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs


Bobby Fischer became the youngest international grand master of chess at the age of 15.

Mozart composed a concerto at the age of four. By the time I knew about child prodigies, I was too old. I considering trying to be an enfant terrible, but . . . I wasn’t  very terrible. I had to settle for “smart enough to come in from the rain.”

Off the Charts: The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies, Ann Hulbert writes about extraordinary children including chess champion Bobby Fischer, child star Shirley Temple, math genius Norbert Wiener and pianist/composer Philippa Schuyler. She also deals with autistic savants and “tiger mothers.”

Noel Jett, who earned a Texas A&M bachelor’s degree at 16, defends “radical acceleration.”

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