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Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men
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Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  2,763 ratings  ·  716 reviews
Something scary is happening to boys today. From kindergarten to college, they are less resilient and less ambitious than they were a mere twenty years ago. As for young men, it turns out the film Failure to Launch is not far from the truth. Fully one-third of men ages 22-34 are still living at home with their parents-about a 100 percent increase in the past twenty years. ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by Basic Books (first published February 15th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Marianneosharp
So, before I forget all that I've learned I need to share. I read this book after Allison told me she was reading it and have now recommended it STRONGLY to many of my friends. It's a pretty quick read and makes you aware of big issues that every parent of boys should educate themselves on. These are a few of the resolutions I've made after having read this book.

First of all, I will be aware that the public school system is "feminized". Sax, the author, says it would help parents and teachers al
...more
Debbie
Apr 30, 2009 Debbie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all parents of boys
Shelves: parenting
I started reading this book after hearing about it from a mom of a teenage boy. Her son is a good kid: good student, practices his faith, athletic, mannerly, but she saw warning signs of how easily good kids can go astray when they don’t have someone to help guide them. If she was concerned about her son, I figured I ought to be concerned about mine, since I have five, and three of them still have many years before they enter the turbulent teens. Best to be prepared.

It didn’t take like before I
...more
Heather in FL
So, we're doomed. That's what I got from this book. Thanks a lot, Dr. Sax. Unfortunately, so much of what he talks about has been done over generations and we're now seeing the dismal results.

Basically I think it comes down to the fact that we're ruining boys through co-ed education, ADD/ADHD misdiagnosis, video games, environmental estrogens, and missing male role models. And I think he's on to something. He makes a lot of sense. I hate it when people make sense when talking about bad things, l
...more
Tanya W
This book was so hard for me to get motivated to read... I renewed it 3 times, then checked it out again and renewed it three more times. So today I started over while substitute teaching (the teacher had everything well planned out, so I had a lot of reading time). There have been a few examples in the book that seem very overgeneralized and I have to admit I felt annoyed a few times. I'm left to wonder after reading it how much merit some of these theories have (I mean is it possible that thes ...more
Michelle


Dr. Sax outlines in detail five factors that he claims are responsible for disengaging boys from school, life, and the real world of striving and achievement and loss. The five factors are 1) the feminization of the public school system, 2) video games, 3) medications for ADHD, 4) endocrine disruptors, and 5) the complex issues surrounding the transition from childhood to adulthood when so many positive role models for boys have been lost.

This was a fascinating book to read even if you don't en
...more
Elevate Difference
Most of the attention Dr. Leonard Sax gets is for his advocacy of single sex education for boys. In his first book, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, Sax described the developmental and biological differences between the sexes and how contemporary early education puts boys at a disadvantage. In his follow up, Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men, Sax elab ...more
Marcus
Wow! If you have a young boy you owe it to them to read this book. I am amazed how much has changed since I grew up in the late 1970' and early 1980's. Author describes how factors such as 1). Changes in school curriculum 2). ADHD medicine 3). Video games 4). lack of male role models & 5). Estrogen products in the environment combine to drive boys to "check out" from the real world and kill their motivation. I certainly would have been diagnosed with Attention Deficeit Disorder if I was grow ...more
Marcus
Wow! If you have a young boy you owe it to them to read this book. I am amazed how much has changed since I grew up in the late 1970' and early 1980's. Author describes how factors such as 1). Changes in school curriculum 2). ADHD medicine 3). Video games 4). lack of male role models & 5). Estrogen products in the environment combine to drive boys to "check out" from the real world and kill their motivation.

The improved video game graphics and internet make for a perfect escape from a boring
...more
Rachel Terry
Excellent book! Dr. Sax makes a well-documented case for his 5-pronged theory of why modern American boys seem so unmotivated. I found some of his reasons surprising, but after reading his reasoning, they make sense. I was a little skeptical of the phthalates connection, but after doing a little outside research, it seems that he's spot on.

The writing is fluid and conversational, and I like his writing voice because it's fair and measured. My only complaint about this book is that I wish he woul
...more
Jocie
Coed education, video games, ritalin, toxins, no role models- oh my!

Trying to raise young MEN in our current culture? What makes a real man? NOT someone who is still living off of his parents of wife so he can lounge around, it seems most people are in agreement upon that... The IQ of young men has been dropping since the 90's, while 'failure to launch' has doubled. Why?

This book gives a lot of food for thought, and is research-based. I am not convinced about the toxins yet (maybe I don't know w
...more
Brian
Excellent book by a PhD researcher, and family physician about some of the headwinds affecting boys today.

The author focuses on five main areas, backed by research, that show what is contributing to boys not reaching their potential today:
1) Video Games. Studies suggest that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.

2) Teaching Methods. Profound changes in the way children are educated have had the unintended consequence of turning many boys off school
...more
Eileen Holt
Seriously a MUST read for anyone with sons. This book was very thought provoking. I felt the author was a reliable source based on both his research and personal experience.
My husband and I even purchased this book to use as a reference.
Boys Adrift isn't "how-to" parenting book. It brings up many issues that parents need to think about, ranging from ADHD medications, gaming, what motivates boys, and pornography.
Leslie
For the first couple of chapters I was planning on giving this book one lonely star. I kept reading, it got a bit better and I ended up giving it two stars. Two stars still isn't a great recommendation but ultimately I decided it was worth reading. The middle section contained some information I'm at least glad to be aware of and the last three or so chapters were pretty good, even thought provoking, and for that I'm glad I read it. I found the "Failure to Launch" chapter especially interesting. ...more
Joseph Whitt
Boys Adrift attempts to identify the major factors to the growing problem of unmotivated boys. I pretty much just said the title of the book, didn't I? Well, that's what the book is about. In a nutshell, Dr. Sax believes that five factors are having a real and lasting effects on our male youths:

1. An inadequate elementary education system.
2. Video Games
3. Improper use of ADHD medications and the like
4. Endocrine disruption in our environment
5. Lack of positive male role models

Not much about this
...more
Emily
I found this book interesting and informative. Sax explains with research why boys today are unmotivated and underachieving. Some chapters were more interesting to me than others, but the whole book was definitely worthwhile to anyone raising boys.

Here are my notes: don't start boys in kinder until they are ready (they will enjoy learning more and be more successful), boys need to have more experiential/hands on learning experiences (not in front of a computer), they need more contact with natur
...more
Walt
With the name Eddy, perhaps you can imagine why I got interested in being adrift. You know, swirling around, unanchored, etc.

Anyway, I read BOYS ADRIFT recently, after my brother-in-law finished it. He seemed to like it, thought it had direct application.

My boys are grown up and men now. That doesn't necessarily mean they're totally moored, but it does mean the responsibility, even any deleterious consequences to themselves and others therefrom if they're not, has more or less shifted entirely
...more
Jennifer
Sax (author of Why Gender Matters) argues that boys are more unmotivated than in the past because of (1) changes in schools that make them less boy friendly, (2) video games, (3) medications to treat ADHD that cause changes to the brain, (4) endocrine disruptors in plastics that are reducing testosterone, and (5) devaluation of masculinity in our culture. I think my initial problem with this book is that I don't totally buy his premise that we have an epidemic of unmotivated boys. I agree with s ...more
Shannon
This was a really interesting read. Dr. Sax outlines five factors which are leading to underachieving boys: schools (specifically, kindergarten today being like grade one 30 years ago and coed classrooms); video games; environmental toxins which mimic estrogen (such as BPA); prescription drugs (prescribed to test a diagnosis of ADHD); and a lack of male role models and rites of passage into manhood.

While the book focuses mainly on explaining the problems, there is some advice about how to deal
...more
Keri
I was skeptical about reading this, because so many "scientific" books don't have a lot of meat to back up their claims. I was pleasantly surprised at the sound science and common sense of this book. Well written and well documented, I think everyone would benefit from reading this book, even if you disagree with the content. For me, Leonard Sax just hit the nail on the head. Although some things scared me near to death, in the end I felt hopeful, inspired, and better equipped to help my sons ri ...more
Erin
This book made me a little worried but also it wasn't anything I hadn't already observed. He didn't blame the feminist movement at all but it is clear that as women have gained access to more and more opportunities they need men less and less and the men seem to be fine with not needing to do much. Also he gave some interesting insights on education for boys and my dark nemesis: video games! The reasons for this lack of motivation are clearly laid out, I'm just not as sure about the cure.
Patrick Hamblin
Absolutely fascinating book on the development of boys in this country, their lack of motivation, and why boys are not becoming men. I highly recommend that any man read this book, especially if he has a son.

As a Christian, the ultimate priority is that our boys learn to be like Christ. This is a secular book that will not teach one how to do that. However, this book looks at many issues that are affecting boys in the church, and addresses those accurately for the most part.
Yolanda
The author is and M.D. and a PH.D. He researched and finds compelling evidence for same-sex education. While an interesting read, I think there are many factors to consider regarding our children. It is the parents difficult job to raise positive, productive, happy, holy kids, in a world that overall seems to have become laissez-faire. As parents we always need to have faith and hope in our children, see each child's need and try to do the right thing.
Jim Hale
Don't read this if you don't want to hear some hard truths about the dismal (and getting worse all the time) state of boys in our country. This book is indeed disturbing and alarming, but if the recommendations are heeded, it can also be a great tool for healing what has gone so wrong. I wish I had read it many years ago. I'm seeing so many of the factors in my pre-teen son and it scares the hell out of me. Actually, I think many of the problems started decades ago, thus I am one of the struggli ...more
Maribel
This is the best explanation of the growing phenomenon of "man-boy" I have read. It's alarming what are society is encouraging that creates this serious epidemic of boys that never grow up into men.
Beckarado
This book opened my eyes to some of the things that are impacting boys (and girls) today. As I read the book which goes through 5 items impacting boys, some of them are not as big of issues to our boys as maybe other boys. 1-I don't allow my boys to spend hours and hours on their electronics. I monitor them and make them find non screen activities to break up their time. 2-I feel that our religion has milestones for the boys to work toward and fulfill in taking the steps to becoming a man. They ...more
Kats
Today, with my children in ski school and their father at work, I had a whole day of skiing by myself in the company of Dr Sax on audio, and my "Ski Tracks" app on my phone. My top speed today was 94 km/h (I ought to invest in a spine protector), and I never stopped between lifts as there was noone I had to wait for. Midmorning, however, I realised that for once I didn't resent the time spent on the chairlifts because I so enjoyed listening to the detailed theories by Mr Sax as to why boys today ...more
Steven
The five factors are: changes at school, video games, medications for ADHD, endocrine disruptors, and what Sax terms “The Revenge of the Forsaken Gods”. So these require a little explanation. Changes at school boils down to Kindergarten being far too academically-oriented and some problems with coed education. Video games deals mostly with the violent and addictive nature of many of these games. Medications for ADHD focuses on two concerns: 1. Many boys are misdiagnosed with ADHD and 2. The stim ...more
Elizabeth
I highly recommend this book to anyone who deals with boys: parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, god parents, teachers, coaches, scout masters, religious leaders; and to anyone who deals with grown up boys,or is a grown up boy himself.

Dr. Leonard Sax discusses some of the contributing factors to the problems facing boys today. From disengaging from school and ADHD to "failure to launch" and lack of Manhood. This book was much better than Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Kno
...more
Sanz
Likely the best parenting book I've ever read and a must read for anyone with sons. I highlighted like crazy in this book. The author sites 5 factors that are driving the decline of boys:

1. Video Games: Research on video games suggests that games stimulate a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens in much the same way that crack cocaine affects the same area. The author also claims that in his experience, boys who are addicted to video games are also more likely to become addicted to porn
...more
Laura
I realized the further I got in this book that I really should be reading one of his earlier books "Why Gender Matters" where it sounds like he spends more time addressing the issues my son is likely to deal with: being in the smart classes with all the girls and being an atypical boy that prefers reading to sports.

That being said, I'm glad I read this book. It's good to know what's going on out there in the culture of boys and parenting of boys. I appreciate his reasons for advocating separatin
...more
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Leonard Sax is an American psychologist and family physician. He is the author of Why Gender Matters (Doubleday, 2005) and of Boys Adrift: the five factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men (Basic Books, 2007). He is founder and executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education (www.singlesexschools.org).

A cover story for TIM
...more
More about Leonard Sax...
Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls—Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups Pourquoi les garçons perdent pied et les filles se mettent en danger (Psy-Santé)

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“The destructive effects of video games are not on boys' cognitive abilities or their reaction times, but on there motivation and their connectedness with the real world.” 6 likes
“If we fail to provide boys with pro-social models of the transition to adulthood, they may construct their own. In some cases, gang initiation rituals, street racing, and random violence may be the result.” 5 likes
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