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The Prodigy



William James Sidis (1898-1944) was born to a psychologist with some unorthodox ideas about child rearing, attended Harvard at an absurdly young age, burned out at 14, and spent most of the rest of his life working menial jobs and living in poverty. Dubbed a “failed prodigy” by the popular press, he lived out his years as an eccentric and a recluse. The truth is a lot more complex than this, and the “failure” a matter of perspective, as shown in this remarkable biography.

Wallace’s book,…

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