Where do our personal characteristics (personality, intelligence, feelings, talents) come from? Is it our genes or the environment that we were raised in? This is an interesting topic that is really important to read about specially if you're a parent. Studies suggest that genes are important and are responsible for around 50% of your child's personality. And because they are important, it means that different parenting methods are required for different children.
In his book Freakonomics, Levitt studies the relationship between parents' characteristics and test scores. Levitt wants to show that it's not always parenting, taking your kid to museums doesn't necessarily mean that your child will score better at school. Levitt shows that the factors, which were correlated with test scores, had to do with what parents are while the factors that didn't matter were related to what parents do.
Some of the factors that did matter:
The child's has highly educated parents.
The child's parents have high socioeconomic status.
The child's mother was 30 years or older at the time of the first child's birth.
The child has many books at home.
Some of the factors that didn't matter:
The child is regulary spanked.
The child's parents read to him nearly every day.
The child's parents recently moved into a better neighborhood.
The child's mother didn't work work between birth and kindergarten.
Levitt goes on to explain each and every factor (he takes the factors two by two). I enjoyed reading the analysis and the chapter was really interesting.
More on the topic:
Freakonomics, Chapter 5: What makes a perfect parent?