A very interesting book, and one that goes farther than anything else I’ve ever read in nature v. nurture. The answer, according to Oliver James, is about 99.9% nurture. Plenty of evidence and examples are given, such as the fact that many child abusers were themselves abused as children, i.e. ‘nurture’ made them that way. Highly successful people are much more likely than anyone else to have lost a parent when they were a child, and their despair drove them to achieve. Babies born to poor, uneducated, nutritionally deficient mothers, when adopted by well-off highly educated people, become just the same as a child from those same middle-class people. Even genetically identical twins, when separated from their parents at birth, turn out very differently from each other. I have to admit, I’m convinced by him (or at least 99.9% convinced). If you have any opinion at all on the spectrum from genes to environment, I think you would be interested in this book.
Now that I have the information, though, what am I supposed to do with it? How to stop from f***ing up my own children? Other than not beating them, the book ends without anything in the way of practical advice.