My friend Cindy forwarded me this. The original post can be found at Peter Leithart's blog.
Brink Lindsey of the CATO Institute writes in the March 12 TNR that the key to success is, surprise, hard work and parental involvement. A couple of quotations:
A study led by Florida State psychologist Anders Ericsson found that a “common denominator” in their study of top performers in various fields: “practice. Chess grandmasters, concert pianists, and other superstars are distinguished from less-accomplished performers by two main things: starting their chosen fields earlier in life, and logging more hours per day of training over the course of many years.”
Parental interaction with young children is also a significant predictor of academic success. Psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risley found that there are “dramatic differences in the intensity and nature of the verbal stimulation the kids were getting: Professional parents directed an average of 487 ‘utterances’ per hour toward their children, as compared to 301 for working-class parents and only 176 for welfare parents. The quality of those utterances was also very different: Among professional parents, the ratio of encouraging to discouraging utterances was six to one; for working-class parents, the ratio slipped to two-to-one; and welfare parents made two discouraging utterances for every encouraging one.”