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Square Peg

By Todd Rose with Katherine Ellison

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ISBN 10: 1401324274
ISBN 13: 9781401324278
256 pages

My Story and What It Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers

“Todd Rose’s journey from high school dropout to Harvard professor is a welcome success story—one that leaves me rooting for square pegs everywhere.”
—David Finch, New York Times bestselling author of The Journal of Best Practices

In the seventh grade, Todd Rose was suspended—not for the first time—for throwing six stink bombs at the blackboard, where his art teacher stood with his back to the class. At eighteen, he was a high school dropout, stocking shelves at a department store for $4.25 an hour. Today, Rose is a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Square Peg illuminates the struggles of millions of bright young children—and their frustrated parents and teachers—who are stuck in a one-size-fits-all school system that fails to approach the student as an individual. Rose shares his own incredible journey from troubled childhood to Harvard, seamlessly integrating cutting-edge research in neuroscience and psychology along with advances in the field of education, to ultimately provide a roadmap for parents and teachers of kids who are the casualties of America’s antiquated school system.

With a distinguished blend of humor, humility, and practical advice for nurturing children who are a poor fit in conventional schools, Square Peg is a game-changing manifesto that provides groundbreaking insight into how we can get the most out of all the students in our classrooms, and why today’s dropouts could be tomorrow’s innovators.


“This up close and personal account will resonate viscerally and intellectually with countless parents and youngsters, while providing them with renewed hope and eminently practical guidance. The humorous and genuine writing style engages the reader’s emotions.”
—Charles Fadel, coauthor of the bestselling 21st Century Skills and founder of the Center for Curriculum Redesign

“Parents, teachers, and kids will find here both a powerful story and specific steps to improve so many lives and life chances.”
—Martha Minow, author of Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law

“Located along the same continuum as Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, David Brooks’s The Social Animal, and Wes Moore’s The Other Wes Moore, Todd Rose’s Square Peg manages to weave a deeply personal and often unsettling narrative. It is a must-read for anyone seeking to better understand how nature, nurture, timing, and chance influence who we ultimately become.”
—Dr. Chris Howard, president of Hampden-Sydney College

“On any given morning, thousands of American children dread going to school out of fear of bullying and boredom. With its poignant stories, wise insights, and helpful tips, Square Peg points the way to a kinder, better future.”
—Molly Ringwald

“In Square Peg, Todd Rose takes the reader along on his hard journey in the education system; one that is bumpy, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful, and always insightful.”
—Larry Rosenstock, CEO and cofounder of High Tech High

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Square Peg

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