my biggest regret about the book

I am not, despite requests, going to write a blow-by-blow response to Nathan Robinson‘s review of my book. I don’t think those kind of things are very productive, and besides, the book is its own argument, one I’m proud of. You want my response, read the book. I will say that I think very often he is imagining a book that mine might have become in the hands of another writer and attacking that book, rather than responding to a charitable reading of my book, itself, as it actually exists. We can leave it there. (See this Reddit thread for some interesting reactions.)

That review has had the effect of picking an old scab, though. St. Martin’s treated me very well and I’m forever grateful for them taking a chance on me when many people certainly would not. That said, it’s also the case that I lost every argument with them, and this was the biggest.

As you can see from the above image, the first major note, and one that would prove to be the biggest sticking point, was that the section on gene science was far too long in the eyes of the publisher. They felt the general audience reader would not tolerate reading as much as I put in. I pushed back at first, but ultimately some four pages were cut from that section. And so of course the first impression of many people is “he didn’t engage enough with the science.” I wish I had fought harder but when you’re the first time author and they’re the publisher, it’s hard to be brave in that way. I deeply regret it. Of course I am, in the end, responsible for the contents of the book. I haven’t easily been able to find the missing pages in an earlier draft in my files yet, but if I ever do find them I may publish them here.

As I have said before: the only things that you need to understand in order to go along with my claims about how our education system functions are, one, that every time we have observed education, in the history of the world, we have found a distribution of ability, and two, that this is not going to change. If you reject every claim about genes, but understand that there will always be differences in ability, then every objection of the book’s critics falls away.