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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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,831 ratings  ·  998 reviews
Something scary is happening to boys today. From kindergarten to college, American boys are, on average, less resilient and less ambitious than they were a mere twenty years ago. The gender gap in college attendance and graduation rates has widened dramatically. While Emily is working hard at school and getting A’s, her brother Justin is goofing off. He’s more concerned ab ...more
Hardcover, 267 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published February 15th 2005)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  4,831 ratings  ·  998 reviews

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Start your review of Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men
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
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 li
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 b
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Elevate Difference
Aug 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Clumsy Squid
Jan 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
"Boys adrift" might raise your awareness of some subjects that deserve further reading and therefore could suffices as a primer into the the topic but even then I'd advice against reading it.
The book is chock-full of wild assertions without sufficient backing of reputable research and doesn't seem interested in uncovering underlying causes but seems satisfied with equating some of the symptoms with root causes. Many of his arguments don't hold up to any critical scrutiny.
And as if it wasn't ba
Anna Mussmann
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

The premise that boys today are struggling, especially in school, seems to be accepted more widely among conservatives than progressives. That’s why it’s so interesting to read a book about boys that’s clearly designed to appeal to mainstream audiences. Dr. Sax is quick to explain that girls too need help from the cultural and environmental forces hurting them, but that those issues are discussed in one of his other books. This volume is focused on the rising number of youn
Tanya W
Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
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
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
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
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 f
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I have four boys. They have their issues, but they are pretty great. I am feeling optimistic that they are going to launch, at least the three oldest that I have a better read on. In fact, making sure they launch is like the main goal of my husband and my lives right now. "How can we be sure that all these children leave our house on or very shortly after their 18th birthday?" we say. "And take all their things with them?" I would feel extremely concerned if my boys were not on a path that seeme ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was for book group and even though I'm done raising my one boy, the topic fascinates me. I think it's worth reading for everyone raising boys. Here are some notes I took.
1. don't give your boys the stimulant class of ADD meds, they shrink a certain part of a boy's brain and when he is off the drugs, seems lazy and less motivated. only tested on rats tho. I was sooooooo glad I never gave con meds even tho I wanted to because he had such a hard time focusing. He was SO strong willed he refus
Rachel Terry
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
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
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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 shift
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 y
Eileen Holt
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s over a decade old now, but Dr. Leonard Sax still has a lot of salient things to say about boys—and suspicions as to why so many of them become unmotivated, lazy, and depressed men. His opinions, backed by his expertise and considerable research, will strike many today as being rooted in gender stereotypes. But I think that is the point. The dissolution of gender has left so many boys rootless. They don’t know what they’re supposed to be, how they’re supposed to behave, who they’re supposed ...more
Mindy Smith
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a MUUUUUSSSSTTT read for anyone with boys! I can honestly say this hs been a life-changing book for me. I don't usually like to read self help/parenting/guide books like this one, but this one blew my socks off! I can't wait to read it again. Cole is reading it now, it meant so much to me. I'm excited to read the girl one.
These five factors driving the unmotivation of young boys are so spot on! I loved the facts behind all of these and I actually made the decision to take Lin
Joseph Whitt
Jan 17, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Stephen Pak
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 contac
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
From what I've read, it seems pretty clear that Leonard Sax has an agenda: he hails single-sex education and blames video games, ADHD medication, and estrogen-like substances in plastics as the cornerstones of "what's wrong with boys today." Those who agree with him will have lots of opportunities to nod along, but I doubt this book will change the minds of those who don't. He supports his claims with anecdotal evidence and fills his endnotes with cherry-picked scientific studies that are flatly ...more
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
One of the most alarming trends of late is the increasing push toward a genderless society. Somewhere in the effort for equality, the specific attributes of gender have been devalued. With those thoughts in mind, I appreciated Sax's affirmation on the fundamental difference between boys and girls. I found his analysis interesting and readable, but some of his solutions difficult to implement (ex. we all don't have the option of moving our sons to all boy schools). Overall, Sax's 5 factors for th ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book after reading Leonard Sax's similar book on girls called 'Girls on the Edge' so I knew what I was getting into. I read this one because I appreciated the other so immensly.

I think that every parent of boys should read this book. I wish that my wife and I had discovered it before we started having kids at all. It lays out 5 things that studies seem to show are having a significant impact on why boys may be unmotivated and have the "failure to launch" scenario.
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Christopher Bergeron
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for anyone with boys, who works with boys, has boys in their family, knows boys, has boys in their neighborhood.. so yes that means everyone should read this book.

Sax goes into detail on the five factors currently contributing to underachieving boys and young men. More than just going into detail on whats wrong Sax gives practical advice on steps you can take to help your own children gain an advantage over their peers by not falling into the trap of becoming
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book. Some of problems he mentions were intuitive, such as video games, but others were new to me, like the problem of Phthalates in the environment.

It was also interesting how strongly he feels about gender separate education as well as children starting school later and getting more hands on experience with nature.

Whether you have boys of your own or work with boys, I'd highly recommend this book as a resource for being able to help our young men survive the diffi
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Leonard Sax is an American psychologist and family physician. He is the author of Why Gender Matters (Doubleday, 2005; revised edition to be published in 2017); Boys Adrift: the five factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men (Basic Books, 2007; revised edition, 2016); Girls on the Edge (Basic Books, 2010); and The Collapse of Parenting (Basic Books, 2015 ...more
“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.” 7 likes
“The destructive effects of video games are not on boys' cognitive abilities or their reaction times, but on their motivation and their connectedness with the real world.” 5 likes
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