This is a book I am ready to start handing out at airports, as it eloquently articulates some of the fundamental socioeconomic issues of the Western World (particularly the US) due to our failing school system. He explains the problem is systemic — the entire schema of teaching in a top-down, industrialized, mass-production model that is so focused on teaching content is outmoded and irrelevant for today's economy, never mind tomorrow's. Educating kids in a way that is relevant and effective for them requires us to teach to the individual, not a standardized test — teaching them how to become life learners in areas that play to their strengths is the key.
The fact that he reads this himself adds a great deal, as he is a great speaker. Also hilarious.
Like in his inspired "The Element", Robinson delves into the importance of creativity in our country and world, and how our educational system is not built to foster it in our kids. More data-driven than the Element, it is more informative than inspirational, but still serves as a call to arms for those interested in truly reforming our schools. Moreover, it explains to the layman why s/he should care about the issue.
Lee's performance is certainly adequate, but I was spoiled by hearing Sir Ken's own voice reading the Element.
Rand's individualist philosophy is one worth considering by today's American liberals and conservatives alike, particularly as our two dominant political parties compete to enlarge the federal government and extend its powers for their own purposes. Rand portrays an extreme scenario of the people handing over all responsibility to a government comprised of those whose only goal is to remain in power, even at the cost of the country self-destructing. As this fairly accurately describes our current political system, and the path we seem to be on, I would almost put this one on a required reading list for anyone of voting age in the US.
That said, Rand leaves no shadow of a doubt when articulating her philosophy via dozens of characters and their dialogs (and several epic monologs), to the point that I had most of the book on 1.5x and even 2x to just get through sections. "OK — I get it!" was a phrase I found myself almost uttering aloud at several points.
Scott Brick's performance was excellent, and I agree with another reviewer that his ability to read each character distinctly really helped me keep things straight.
For those who are on the fence regarding abridged/unabridged as I was, I'm glad I went with the full version, as the characters are complex and nuanced; I wonder if that might have been sacrificed in the culling of some content. You'd have to rely on the review of those who have read both, I suppose.
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