Book Report on The Myth of Laziness

'The Myth of Laziness' is authored by Dr. Mel Levine, a professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School. Dr. Levine is also the director of the Center of Development and Learning and founder member of 'All Kinds of Minds Institute'. Levine, in this book, has explored the ways to find the causes of output failure among children. He highlights the phenomenon that failure of children is mostly labeled by the parents and teachers as laziness. Therefore, the contents of book mostly revolve around laziness as a general misconception among teachers and parents considering it a cause of failure. Dr. Levine, throughout the book, has strived to correct such misconceptions. (Levine)

Main Arguments in the Book

Dr. Levine argues in the book that diversified strategies should be designed and implemented according to different capabilities of the children. He has identified a distinctive group among children who can be termed as lazy. The reason of laziness is that some children do not meet the educational standards set by the school nor they adhere to the instructions of parent about routine matters of life. Levine highlights different psychological problems confronted by children and emphasizes to build a general approach of supporting children in successfully facing those problems not just labeling them lazy. This approach seems to be practical as well as humane. He has presented case studies of seven children and adults termed as lazy in the ordinary life. Although individuals in these case studies are generally labeled as lazy, in real sense they possess certain neuro-developmental complications being the real cause of their failures. Most of their issues are related to difficulties experienced by them in writing, low motor skills and long-term lapses of memory, as such, they are not capable of presenting their viewpoints effectively as done by other people. (Levine)

It is pertinent to highlight that even though main theme of the book is the general misconception of laziness being causes of failure among children, the book also underlines other difficulties such as motor problems cognitive deficits, and emotional problems found among children. Calling students as lazy or stupid hurts their ego negatively impacting their personalities, resultantly their entire life is affected as most of the children are not able to lead a normal as well as successful life. As mentioned above that Dr. Levine has discussed different psychological problems among children such as cognitive deficits and motor skills, he has also mentioned in the book other weaknesses like weak communication skills, inadequate creative skills, and different other organizational problems. Regarding them as internal factors of weaknesses among children, termed generally as laziness, Levin has also stated diversified external factors impacting quality of life. These factors are different socioeconomic background, miserable family life at home etc. (Levine)

Responsibility and Role to be Played by Teachers/Parents

Dr. Levine stresses taking ownership and responsibility by the individual themselves to achieve success in life. He is of the view that everyone wants to achieve success in life and become productive. Terming children lazy mean teachers and parents are avoiding finding the real causes of problems and this is the responsibility which they have to assume acting as a role model for the children. By identifying the real problems of children, their output can be improved as identification of problem is the basis of all solutions. Output failure should not be regarded as a category or a distinct syndrome. Low productivity in children mostly does not take place due to laziness but the cause may be neuro-developmental complications impeding productivity level among students hindering to accomplish objectives. This group has been isolated by Dr. Levin in the book as separate children with different psychological problems, however, should not be labeled as lazy. (Levine)

Dr. Levine is trying to cultivate a pertinent idea through this book that every person related directly to the child, i.e. parents and teacher should understand the significance of identifying the real problem found in the attitude of child impeding his/her success. Just labeling child as 'lazy' or 'stupid, in fact, means teachers and parents are not fulfilling their respective responsibilities of identifying the root cause of problem and resolving it to help child. Proper encouragement and motivation result in transforming child's personality and helps in addressing most of the problems. However, labeling the child as lazy, whether on his/her face or giving an impression to child of being lazy or stupid impacts child negatively. (Levine)

Dr. Levine has shown a positive approach throughout the book. He is optimistic and positive in attitude, trying to create awareness about everyone's responsibility in developing child's personality. He has highlighted critical issues of understanding psychological disorders and neurodevelopment dysfunctions that are generally ignored by the teachers and parents. Based on his long experience and extensive study, Levine believes that writing could be a primary indicator of productivity of a child during school time. Writing can be the main source of indicating the reason of productivity failure. A major strength of book is that Dr. Levine has not only identified the problems, highlighting their causes, and presenting the impact of the issues, he also has provided effective solutions to these problems at the end of book- in the last chapter. The last chapter of the book shows the techniques that could be adopted and implemented by the teachers and parents to develop or nurture productivity in a child. In other words, what teachers and parents can do to cultivate productive output in child/students by taking respective responsibilities to identify problem that is internal rather than environment.


Levine, Mel The Myth of Laziness Simon & Schuster; First edition, 2003