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The Formula By Ronald F. Ferguson

The Formula by Ronald F. Ferguson

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Through the life stories of highly successful people, this book uncovers a common formula in the parenting that extraordinary achievers experience beginning in early childhood.

The Formula Summary

The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children by Ronald F. Ferguson

We all want our children to reach their fullest potential-to be smart and well adjusted, and to make a difference in the world. We wonder why, for some people, success seems to come so naturally.

Could the secret be how they were parented?

This book unveils how parenting helped shape some of the most fascinating people you will ever encounter, by doing things that almost any parent can do. You don't have to be wealthy or influential to ensure your child reaches their greatest potential. What you do need is commitment-and the strategies outlined in this book.

In The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children, Harvard economist Ronald Ferguson, named in a New York Times profile as the foremost expert on the US educational achievement gap, along with award-winning journalist Tatsha Robertson, reveal an intriguing blueprint for helping children from all types of backgrounds become successful adults.

Informed by hundreds of interviews, the book includes never-before-published insights from the How I was Parented Project at Harvard University, which draws on the varying life experiences of 120 Harvard students. Ferguson and Robertson have isolated a pattern with eight roles of the Master Parent that make up the Formula: the Early Learning Partner, the Flight Engineer, the Fixer, the Revealer, the Philosopher, the Model, the Negotiator, and the GPS Navigational Voice.

The Formula combines the latest scientific research on child development, learning, and brain growth and illustrates with life stories of extraordinary individuals-from the Harvard-educated Ghanian entrepreneur who, as the young child of a rural doctor, was welcomed in his father's secretive late-night political meetings; to the nation's youngest state-wide elected official, whose hardworking father taught him math and science during grueling days on the family farm in Kentucky; to the DREAMer immigration lawyer whose low-wage mother pawned her wedding ring to buy her academically outstanding child a special flute.

The Formula reveals strategies on how you-regardless of race, class, or background-can help your children become the best they can be and shows ways to maximize their chances for happy and purposeful lives.

About Ronald F. Ferguson

Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD, joined the faculty at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1983 and has spent his entire career there using teaching, research and writing to increase the flow of knowledge between the university and the world. An MIT-trained economist who focuses social science research on economic, social, and educational challenges, he co-founded Tripod Education Partners in 2014 and shifted into an adjunct role at the University, where he remains a fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and faculty director of the university-wide Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI). A February 2011 profile of Ron in the New York Times wrote, There is no one in America who knows more about the gap that Ronald Ferguson. Ron's current focus as AGI director is an initiative titled the Boston Basics. Inspired by the fact that birth-to-three is a critically important period for learning, the Basics Campaign is striving to saturate the entire community with advice and support for the parents of infants and toddlers. Ron holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a PhD from MIT, both in economics. He has been happily married for 38 years and is the father of two adult sons.

Tatsha Robertson, MA, is an award-winning editor and writer with more than 20 years of experience handling investigative, feature, and news stories for leading magazines and newspapers. As the first female New York City Bureau Chief and National Rover for the Boston Globe, she began studying how parents raise successful children some ten years ago. She pioneered Essence magazine's focus on investigative and news articles, which led to the positioning of the magazine as a significant authority and voice on news and led to an interview with President Obama on parenting. Most recently, she was a senior editor at People, where she focused on crime stories. She has been an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University since 2005. Ms. Robertson has been a frequent guest on national media, appearing on programs like TODAY and for television networks that include CNN, HLN, FOX, and MSNBC. A prolific writer, Robertson recently co-authored Media Circus with Kim Goldman. She is also completing a thriller. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and earned a bachelor's degree at Morris College and a master's degree in journalism at The Ohio State University.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. The Mystery of Success
The Black Box
An Investigation into Success
Masters of the Formula
Chapter 2. What We Mean by Success
Purpose + Agency + Smarts = Fully Realized
Prodigies versus the Products of the Formula
Who Our Achievers Are and How We Chose Them

Chapter 3. The Formula
The Incredible Life of Jarell Lee
The Formula: The Eight Roles of Master Parenting
Parenting Styles: What Is Different About the Formula?

Chapter 4. The Strategists
The Strange and Strategic Parenting of Lisa Son
Why Esther Wojcicki Raised the Smartest Girls in the World
Ms. Badger's Holographic Ideal

Chapter 5. The Early-Learning Partner (Role #1)
Rob Humble's Moment of Truth
The Science of Play
Teaching a Baby to Read: The Early-Lead Effect
The Girl Raised by a Village of Teenagers

Chapter 6. The Flight Engineer (Role #2)
Masters Monitor and Manage (Even from the White House)
Asserting Authority: You Will Respect My Child
Knowing When (Not) to Step In: You Can Deal with Your Teacher This Time

Chapter 7. Siblings
Cautionary Tales
The Receptive Child
Is Your Oldest Child Really Smarter, or Were You Just Tired with the Rest of Them?

Chapter 8. The Fixer (Role #3)
The Fixer to the Rescue

Vigilance: How One Mother Deconstructed the SAT
Sacrifice: Dad Says, We Need to Leave-Now!
Resourcefulness: The Girl Who Needed a Flute

Chapter 9. The Revealer (Role #4)
Albert Einstein's Master Parents
The Art of Supplementing Education
Exposure to the World-and Harsh Realities

Chapter 10. The Philosopher (Role #5)
The Preschooler Who Debated Aristotle in the Bathtub
What the Philosopher Creates, Part 1: Bree Newsome's Mission
What the Philosopher Creates, Part 2: Jarell Lee's Purpose

Chapter 11. The Model (Role #6)
A Ripple Effect
When the Past Provides the Model
Tracing Family Mindset

Chapter 12. The Negotiator (Role #7)
Bringing a Child to the Bargaining Table
Negotiators, not Pushovers
Master Parent versus Tiger Parent
Is the Formula the Superior American Style of Parenting?

Chapter 13. Mastering Hurdles
Success Mindset
How Gritty Ryan Quarles Found a Way to Win
Maggie Masters a Memory Slip
The Future News Anchor Who Stuttered

Chapter 14. The GPS (Role #8)
The Navigational Voice in Their Head
The GPS and the Fully Realized Human Being
The Achievers as Parents

Conclusion: The Formula's Secret
About the Authors

Additional information

The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children by Ronald F. Ferguson
BenBella Books
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