Live! with an AUTHOR

Dr. Ron Ferguson and Tatsha Robertson

Recorded June 30, 2020

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Ronald F. Ferguson is an MIT-trained economist who focuses social science research on economic, social, and educational challenges.  He has been on the faculty at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983, after full time appointments at Brandeis and Brown Universities. In 2014, he co-founded Tripod Education Partners and shifted into an adjunct role at the Kennedy School, where he remains a fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and faculty director of the university-wide Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI).

During the 1980s and ‘90s Ron focused much of his attention on economic and community development. That work culminated in the social science synthesis volume Urban Problems and Community Development (1999), which remains an important text in graduate policy courses. By the late 1980s he had begun to study education and youth development because academic skill disparities were contributing to growing wage disparity. During the 1990s and early 2000s, his writings on the topic appeared in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, and various books and journals. In December 2007, Harvard Education Press published his book Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap. A February 2011 profile of Ron in the New York Times wrote, “there is no one in America who knows more about the gap than Ronald Ferguson.”

For the past several years, Ron’s focus as AGI director has been an initiative first entitled the Boston Basics. Now renamed simply The Basics, the project has moved out of Harvard into a nonprofit organization, The Basics, Inc. Beginning in 2016, implementation has spread to more than three-dozen other cities in The Basics Learning Network. The Basics Strategy takes a socio-ecological saturation approach, collaborating with many partners to reach extended families with The Basics Principles, five principles of caregiving advice for parenting infants and toddlers.

Also focused on parenting, Ron and co-author Tatsha Robertson have written The Formula:Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children, published in February, 2019. Based on the life stories of extremely successful young adults, as told by them and their parents, the book reveals eight principles or parental roles that appear repeatedly throughout the stories of families from a wide range of racial, ethnic, and income-level backgrounds.

Ron holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a PhD from MIT, both in economics. He is happily married and the father of two adult sons.

Tatsha Robertson, is an award-winning editor and New York Times bestselling writer with more than twenty-five years’ experience handling investigative, feature, and news stories. Raised in Greenville, SC, she has been an editor at People and Essence Magazines. As the first female New York City Bureau Chief and National Rover for the Boston Globe, she began studying how parents raise successful children and brilliant adults …that was more than ten years ago.

Recently, she co-wrote The Formula: Unlocking Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children with Dr. Ronald Ferguson. Since the book’s release, Tatsha has spoken at venues from Harvard University to colleges in China.

Visit Brookline Booksmith to have Ron and Tatsha’s book delivered right to your door.

You’re sure to enjoy these Brookline Booksmith favorites:

The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children


Get ready to join Ron and Tatsha Tuesday, June 30th.

And take a moment now to help shape this upcoming conversation.

Check out the list of questions submitted by other LIVE! with an Author attendees, and then vote to support any of the ones that match your own interests.

Feel free to add your own question. Then spread the word to make sure others have the chance to help move your question to the top of the shared list.

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    What can I do as a young mother to insure the best future for my daughter?

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    How did you become involved with Raising A Reader MA?

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    What is the biggest influence on a child’s development, nature or nuture?

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    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

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    How did you happen to come together to write The Formula? What were your initial goals for this book?