Robert Rosenthal found a way. He approached a California public elementary school and offered to test the school’s students with a newly developed intelligence-identification tool, called the Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition, which could accurately predict which children would excel academically in the coming year. The school naturally agreed, and the test was administered to the entire student body. A few weeks later, teachers were provided with the names of the children (about 20 percent of the student body) who had tested as high-potentials. These particular children, the teachers were informed, were special. Though they might not have performed well in the past, the test indicated that they possessed “unusual potential for intellectual growth.” (The students were not informed of the test results.) The following year Rosenthal returned to measure how the high-potential students had performed. Exactly as the test had predicted, the first- and second-grade high-potentials had succeeded to a remarkable degree: The first-graders gained 27 IQ points (versus 12 points for the rest of the class); and the second-graders gained 17 points (versus 7 points). In addition, the high-potentials thrived in ways that went beyond measurement. They were described by their teachers as being more curious, happier, better adjusted, and more likely to experience success as adults. What’s more, the teachers reported that they had enjoyed teaching that year more than any year in the past. Here’s the twist: the Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition was complete baloney. In fact, the “high-potentials” had been selected at random. The real subject of the test was not the students but the narratives that drive the relationship between the teachers and the students. What happened, Rosenthal discovered, was replacing one story—These are average kids—with a new one—These are special kids, destined to succeed—served as a locator beacon that reoriented the teachers, creating a cascade of behaviors that guided the student toward that future. It didn’t matter that the story was false, or that the children were, in fact, randomly selected. The simple, glowing idea—This child has unusual potential for intellectual growth—aligned motivations, awareness, and behaviors.