Creative Crossfire:The second in a new series of books features a well-known Harvard psychologist and a baker’s dozen of his thoughtful critics. Thirteen scholars review his life’s work, and he replies to each. For those who like book reviews, this is to love.
With Howard Gardner Under Fire: The Rebel Psychologist Faces His Critics (Open Court, 406 pages, softcover, $36.95, 978-0-8126-9604-2) editor Jeffrey Schaler presents the second in the “Under Fire” series; the first addressed psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, and philosopher Peter Singer is next. Gardner, best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, including musical, spatial, linguistic and bodily, has influenced educators and others with his critique of the narrowness of IQ testing.
The book’s sections, starting with a refreshingly personal biography, reflect Gardner’s wide-ranging interests: education, human development, creativity, leadership, ethics, and the arts. The crossfire is vigorous but cordial. Though somewhat technical, the material is accessible to informed general readers. They, along with social scientists, have at their disposal a stellar psychologist jousting with brilliant peers. Gardner writes that “almost every person is filled with ideas that are attractive but false.” With this book a whole new audience can see how experts separate sound ideas from wishful thinking.