August 22, 2006 1 min read

Joanne Jacobs takes a look at a newly published book, The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids, thoughtfully left on her kitchen table by her daughter, “a classic overachiever.”

According to a review of the book posted on, author Alexandra Robbins

follows the lives of students from a Bethesda, Md., high school as they navigate the SAT and college application process. These students are obsessed with success, contending with illness, physical deterioration ... cheating ... obsessed parents. (Publishers' Weekly)

Sounds like the stuff neuroses are made of.

“The book paints a true picture for a few students,” Jacobs writes, but she agrees with Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews, that, well, contrary to the book’s conclusion, " ... most kids are coasting,” not exactly stressing.

Matthews writes:

... our real national problem is not that we ask most teens to do too much, but too little.

I sense a lot of teachers might agree with that. Jacobs surely does.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.