Smarter Than You Think:

Accessing Your Personal Powers to Triumph in College

Young Adult - Non-Fiction
194 Pages
Reviewed on 07/29/2021
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Author Biography

SUZANNE LIFF is Emeritus Professor of reading at Nassau Community College, and a former teacher and district chairperson of secondary special education in NY. A leader in professional development, she presents extensively on best pedagogical practices and the significance of SEI on teaching and learning. She is published in professional juried journals and author of three groundbreaking developmental reading textbooks for college students. Professor Liff is the recipient of an honorary life membership to the Special Education PTA, the Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Scholarly and Professional Accomplishment, and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Learn more at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Smarter Than You Think: Accessing Your Personal Powers to Triumph in College by Suzanne Liff is a self-empowerment book for young adults who are about to embark on the first stage of their higher educational life. Liff taps into the different aspects necessary for success, all of which are built upon the foundation of social and emotional intelligence (SEI). Broken down into eleven distinct and interconnected chapters, Liff emphasizes the importance of personal capacities that are not often recognized by students or even measured. These include the diverse ways to be smart in Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, self-awareness and emotional control, time management, accountability, and empathy, among many other dominions.

I wasn't entirely certain what to expect when I picked up Smarter Than You Think, but as a parent with a daughter entering her first year of college in September, the timing of Suzanne Liff's book falling into my lap couldn't have been better. I found genuine value in almost everything contained in these succinct chapters, and the examples and anecdotal stories personalized the book on the whole. My favorite section is titled Turn Your Back on Dangerous Coping Methods, and it is chock-full of alternatives to quitting, self-medicating, or withdrawing when faced with stress. Outlets that channel energy into positive mechanisms are provided, and the advice is universal as it can be applied to my own life as well as my daughter's. Smarter Than You Think is an excellent book with so much to offer and I am so glad to have read it.