Book Review – If I’m So Smart, Why Aren’t the Answers Easy?

If I’m So Smart, Why Aren’t the Answers Easy?

If I'm so smart
by Robert A. Schultz, Ph.D. and James R. Delisle, Ph.D.
(2013) Prufrock Press Inc.
paperback, 208 pp, ISBN -13: 978-1-59363-960-0

Review by Elaine Wiener

The title of this book says it all.  Just because teenagers are gifted doesn’t mean that everything in life is easy. In many instances, life is very difficult for gifted people simply BECAUSE they are gifted…and this is especially true for teenagers.

The beauty of “If I’m Smart, Why Aren’t the Answers Easy” is that students and only students are asked the questions. The authors state that “we focus on sharing stories from gifted teens, for gifted teens.”

Robert A. Schultz and James R. Delisle ask leading questions, such as “What is giftedness?” But the answers are so unique, so beautifully expressed, and so insightful that reading this book becomes a piece of literature.  Even the physical layout—the format—is lovely to look at.

Chapter One: What is Giftedness

People, especially the authors, have been talking about giftedness for years. But this time, they are asking students directly. The rest of this book answers in detail straight from the teenagers themselves.

Chapter Two: Friends, Peers, and Fitting In

“People make fun of you when your intelligence exceeds theirs because people fear what they don’t understand. “ Boy, 16, California

Jeanne Delp, one of the founder’s of CAG (California Association for the Gifted), used to say that “When what you are makes other reflect upon what they are NOT, you get hostility.”

Chapter Three: What Do You Expect?

“In terms of pure expectations, I expect someone with my abilities to be more introspective and studious, although I know that isn’t always the case. I expect deep interest in several areas and a bit of idealism.”  Girl, 14, Massachusettes

Chapter Four: The Many Stories of School

“During a perfect day, I would be treated like everyone else.” Boy, 14, Washington

Chapter Five: Family Life

“My parents expect me to do well and study hard. I think my mother is scared of the genius stereotype.” Girl, 13, Massachusetts

Chapter Six: A Look Toward the Future

“I’d like to learn how to be more accepted and fun in public places. I know I am smart but feel really dumb when it comes to socializing. “ Boy. 16, Virginia

Chapter Seven: Questions and Answers…Sort Of

“I wish you would have asked how others found more gifted kids like themselves. Even with most of my good friends, it’s hard to relate to them.”  Boy, 13, Massachusetts


About the Authors

This is a keeper and should be shared with teenagers immediately!

ElaineElaine S. Wiener is Associate Editor for Book Reviews for the Gifted Education Communicator. She is retired from the Garden Grove Unified School District GATE program and can be reached at

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