ALTHOUGH this book bears the name of a single author, like the prodigy phenomenon itself it is in reality the result of contributions from a number of different people. It is my pleasure to acknowledge them here and to thank them for their generous support and help.
My deepest thanks go to the six boys who were the subjects of my inquiry, and to their families and teachers. Their dedication to the development of extreme talent, their insights into the process, and their generosity in sharing their time and lives with me has been extraordinary. They have become friends as well as subjects in my study of the prodigiousness that they know firsthand.
I have been fortunate to have been supported in this work by grants from The Spencer Foundation during H. Thomas James's tenure as president, and also by John Sawyer of the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Grants from these foundations were catalytic to my research effort. A number of colleagues and friends have also provided intangible support by engaging in lively discussion, offering examples, advice, and criticism, and sharing their own points of view in ways that have enriched my conceptualization of early prodigious achievement and enhanced its presentation here. I would particularly like to acknowledge the contributions of Jeanne Bamberger, Art and Betty Bardige, Susan Carey, John and Ethel Collins, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Sylvia Feinburg, Howard Gruber, Pat Gunkel, Frank and Mathilda Holzman, George Kane, Bernard Koser, Rima Laibow, Scott McVay, Dean and Janice Randall, Seymour Sarason, Bob and Pat Sears, Shlomo Sharan, Morris Shepard, Varda Shoham-Salomon, Amy and Everett Shorey, Samuel Snyder, Julian Stanley, Sidney Strauss, Yoram Yarose, and David Zissenwine. Howard Gardner, my close colleague and collaborator, generously read an early draft of the book and, as always, offered many helpful comments and suggestions.
The early phases of this study also benefited greatly from the able assistance of staff and students, particularly Gary Bean, Richard Bensusan, Ellen Reuter, and Constance Stolow. More recently, Ann Benjamin, Martha Morelock, and Janet Stork have helped move the manuscript along. Rose Chicocarello prepared much of the manuscript, with assistance from Louise Clancy and Tillie Nelder. They wrestled simultaneously with my