The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Do child prodigies get rich?

The question in the title is not my own, but that of a web surfer who came to my blog in search of the answer.

The short answer would be: some do, some don't.

If the child prodigy is a prodigy in a domain that has significant economic value, when allied to good marketing - such as, for instance, music, then, yes, that child prodigy could be become very rich indeed. A case in point is Vanessa Mae, who proclaims herself to have been a child prodigy on her website. She is worth, according to recent estimates a cool 32 million pounds sterling. That is about 100 million Singaporean dollars. Not bad for a girl with a violin.

Another example would be Harry Connick Jr. who was a definite child prodigy musician. His net worth wasn't readily accessible on the internet but is sure to be many millions since he has sold millions of records and appeared in a number of Hollywood films.

Other prodigies tend to enter more academic domains. Such prodigies may not become rich, but will be comfortable in a professional level income sort of way. Their true wealth may come in the form of the influence they have on the world and the fame they acquire for doing so. An example of this class would be Norbert Wiener, a pioneer in cybernetics. He was a child prodigy who became a man of great intellectual influence. His ideas led to fortunes being created in the computing field, if not directly for himself.

Prodigious sportsmen and sportswomen can definitely become very rich. Tiger Woods, for instance, is accounted a prodigy - and is not far from being a dollar billionaire. In 2007, Esquire magazine estimated Tiger's net worth as being in excess of 650 million US dollars. No doubt it has grown since.

Leaving aside the question of why the web searcher wanted to measure child prodigies in terms of net worth and future earnings potential, it can be seen that those who begin life with great gift can become wealthy, if their gifts meet the right opportunities for their expression and development.

Prodigies of the intellectual type, however, tend to become academics of some kind and their wealth is likely to remain on the professorial level - unless they start companies, as some do.

For some prodigies, their period of greatest earning power is actually when they are children. A case of this kind is Macaulay Culkin, whose worth is estimated at 35 million US dollars. Most oddly, from most people's perspective, almost all of this was earned while he was a child. As an adult, he doesn't seem to have much of a career (perhaps he doesn't want one, being wealthy already).

Child prodigies are children of great possibilities - and wealth is certainly one of their potentials - if they are lucky enough to receive the right opportunities.

I hope that answers my searcher's query.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and one month, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and seven months, and Tiarnan, two years exactly, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:34 PM 


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