Press Release

Leading Educational Psychologists Re-Examine Education in America in New Book “Becoming Brilliant”
Delivers a model and six tips on how to prepare children for the 21st Century

Washington, DC – If Malcolm Gladwell met the parenting section in a bookstore, Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells us About Raising Successful Children would receive top billing. Award-winning scientists, educators, bestselling authors and grandmas Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D. and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D. offer solutions that parents and educators can implement today to raise children to foster success tomorrow.

The world has been changing rapidly, but education has been stagnant for decades. For example, the amount of knowledge available in books and online is doubling every two and a half years. The consequence? Even if we knew every bit of information available today, we’d be at a 50 percent deficit by 2018 and 75 percent by 2021! If our education is founded solely on our ability to learn facts, we will not succeed in a Google and Wiki world.

CEOs across the world look for strong communicators, creative innovators, and expert problem solvers. Education is often relegated to our schools, but sadly across the globe there are cries that our systems are failing our youngest citizens. Children graduating from the K-12 system are largely unprepared for workplace challenges. Yet, formal schools remain narrowly focused on a definition of success that includes only outcomes in reading, writing, and arithmetic with little attention to the needs articulated by the business community.

The old way of raising kids isn’t cutting it anymore. Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek break down how to raise creative thinkers for a 21st Century world and workforce — starting at home.

Becoming Brilliant unveils cutting edge research in cognitive and developmental psychology concluding that there are six key competencies – dub the “6Cs” – children need to be taught:

  1. Collaboration: the ability to work with others, to have social-emotional control, and to form communities.
  2. Communication: the ability to develop strong language skills, excellent listening skills, and strong reading and writing outcomes.
  3. Content: competencies in subject areas but also in learning how to learn.
  4. Critical thinking: the ability to sift through information intelligently and to weigh evidence.
  5. Creative Innovation: the ability to use information in new ways to solve obvious and undefined problems.
  6. Confidence: the ability to learn from failure, to persist in a problem, and to have grit.

Further, success is more than a grade on a test; it’s achieved when we raise happy, healthy, thinking, caring, and social children who become collaborative, creative, competent and responsible adults. Science teaches us that children should not be viewed as mere heads, but as whole, active, engaged people. We must rethink how children learn. A social child is best equipped to be a smart child. Creativity is the currency of our time. The best learning occurs when we fail along the way.

Becoming Brilliant is for the architect, the dreamer, and the inventor who hopes for a new model of educational success based in evidence. It is for those of us who want to prepare our children for the challenges we face in the 21st Century. It is also for the parents themselves who wish to gauge where they fall on this critical skill set. And finally, it is for organizations who want to evaluate how they are meeting the 6C’s for their employees.


Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, PhD holds the Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Chair in the School of Education at the University of Delaware and is also a member of the Departments of Psychology and Linguistics. She directs the Child’s Play, Learning and Development Laboratory, whose goal it is to understand how children tackle the amazing feat of learning a language, as they learn about their spatial world through play. She obtained her bachelor’s degree at Brooklyn College, her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Cornell University, and had a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center. The recipient of a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and a James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical award, she is frequently quoted in newspapers and magazines as a scientific advocate for children.

Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, PhD is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research examines the development of early language and literacy as well as the role of play in learning. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, is the President Elect of the International Society for Infant Studies and served as an Associate Editor of Child Development. She is on the Steering Committee of the Latin American School for Education, Cognitive Neural Science as well as on the advisory board for Vroom, The Boston Children’s Museum and Jumpstart. Kathy received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hirsh-Pasek and Dr. Golinkoff, collaborators for over 30 years, have been jointly awarded the American Psychological Association’s Urie Bronfenbrenner Award, the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science, the Association for Psychological Science James McKeen Cattell Award and the APA Distinguished Lecturer Award. They have authored 14 books and hundreds of publications. Their new book, Becoming Brilliant: What the science tells us about raising successful children was released with APA Press in 2016. Their book, Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How children really learn and why they need to play more and memorize less (Rodale Books), won the prestigious Books for a Better Life Award as the best psychology book in 2003. Noted for their dissemination of the learning sciences to the lay public, business, and government, they consult for companies such as Disney, Sesame, LEGO, and Crayola and have served on the boards of nonprofits from children’s museums to Jumpstart to Harvard’s Frontiers of Innovation. They also blog for the Huffington Post and the Brookings Institution.

BECOMING BRILLIANT: What Science Tells us About Raising Successful Children
Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D. and Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D.
Publisher: APA Lifetools: Books for the General Public
June 2016 Ÿ Paperback Original Ÿ 314 pages Ÿ Price: $19.95 Ÿ ISBN: 978-1-4338-2239-1

For more information about Becoming Brilliant, visit

To arrange an interview with Dr. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff or Dr. Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek
Contact: Jill Siegel at JSPR, (917) 670-1065;

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