My relationship with journalist Zac Bissonnette began on the wrong foot. He told me a high school from his part of Massachusetts was misrepresenting itself on my annual high schools list for Newsweek. I checked and decided he was wrong, which he found hard to accept. I assumed someone so certain of his conclusions had to be an experienced reporter. In fact, he was only 18.
That was just the first of the surprises he had in store for me. He turned out to be an entrepreneurial prodigy who had grown up in a family that did not have much money. He started his first business in the second grade, built his brokerage account to five figures by the ninth grade, and moved on to help run a personal finance site, WalletPop.com, for AOL.
Having developed a sharp sense of the real world unusual for his age, Bissonnette commenced the college admissions process. If the National Association for College Admissions Counseling had anticipated the dire consequences of one of the smartest teenagers in America encountering the ill-examined assumptions of their profession, they might have found some way to buy him off, maybe a full ride scholarship to Harvard.