Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men (Review)

Book cover for "Boys Adrift" by Leonard Sax.Title: Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men

Author: Leonard Sax

Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner

Publication Year: 2007

Pages: 288 (audio length: 7 hours 35 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Audiobook version purchased from

From the cover:

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 about getting to the next level in his videogame than about finishing his homework. Now, Dr. Leonard Sax delves into the scientific literature and draws on more than twenty years of clinical experience to explain why boys and young men are failing in school and disengaged at home. He shows how social, cultural, and biological factors have created an environment that is literally toxic to boys. He also presents practical solutions, sharing strategies which educators have found effective in re-engaging these boys at school, as well as handy tips for parents about everything from homework, to videogames, to medication.

I’m going to keep this one brief, because it’s really a book that’s mostly about the content, and everything else is only important in terms of how it facilitates the transmission of that content:

I loved this book. It had so much information, and so much care was taken in making that information accessible to the reader in ways that they could understand, that it was actually kind of a pleasure to read. Even though it was about deep social issues and basically indicted our society for failing boys as a whole gender.

The narrator’s voice in the audiobook was simple and assured, and was mostly unnoticeable – which, in this case, was a good thing for me, because it meant that I was unhindered in my quest to attain the knowledge that the book had to offer, without having to worry too much about the peripherals.

Boys Adrift is definitely a must-read for anyone who is a parent or teacher of (mostly North American) boys, or for anyone else who deals with boys on a regular basis. Grab yourself a copy in print or audio – both are great, though I admit that it was harder to take notes on things with the audiobook than it would have been with a dead tree version.


8 thoughts on “Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men (Review)”

  1. I’m going to see if my library has this. I have a teenage boy that fits this to a T. Thanks for the concise review! Telling me you loved it and understood it makes all the difference.

  2. This title kind of scares me. I’m assuming because it’s a review by you that the answer isn’t about getting women back in the kitchen? 😉

    1. No, definitely not! Part of what I liked about this book is that he didn’t try to push one single answer as the solution to all of our problems. He really tried to explain the different possible causes, as well as more than one option for what parents can do.

  3. I have just finished reading this book and I can say I wish this book was published fifteen years ago when my children were younger. As a mother of three boys,I found answers to many qustions about my children’s growth and progress. It really touches the core of the problems that many parents can’t find explanation to.It is a reader- friendly book and I encourage all parents to read it.

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