We live in a time of vast changes that include accelerating globalization, mounting quantities of information, the growing hegemony of science and technology, and the clash of civilizations. Those changes call for new ways of learning and thinking in school, business, and the professions. Listen as psychologist Howard Gardner defines the cognitive abilities that will command a premium in the years ahead:
©2007 Howard Gardner; (P)2007 Gildan Media Corp
"One of the most influential psychologists of his generation." (The Economist)
I am a great fan of Howard Gardner's other work, most specifically his work on multiple intelligences. This book is not related to those books. Gardner is a psychologist and does best when describing, then drawing conclusions from empirical data. This book is normative - Gardner states that he is acting as an advisor to policymakers and not as a psychologist or researcher. The editorial review on this site doesn't call that out, and so if you're looking for a continuation of the themes Gardner has developed in his other work you will be disappointed here. Instead he talks about the five types of personality that he thinks will be important for future societies. Nothing new or inventive about this.
I perhaps shouldn't review the book because I didn't finish it. After about an hour I realized there were better things I could do with my time. But the fact that it caused me not to want to finish, that seems to be worth sharing. The portions that I did hear were exhortations on how to develop educational policy to promote certain ideas. I am not a policymaker so perhaps I'm not the right audience. But I didn't find anything he said to be particularly insightful in this regard either.
The narration style adds to the problems. It is annoyingly nasal. I was quite surprised to see that the narrator is not the author - author-narration would at least forgive choosing someone whose voice detracts from the material. But the fact that they paid someone money for this? Astonishing.
As someone who is in the midst of wrestling with what general education in 21st century higher education is all about, I found the concepts embedded in the five minds very familiar. In fact, everything from the disciplined mind with its "non-intuitive" ways of thinking to respectful and ethical minds is being emphasized and expanded in a number of institutions across the country, as well as my own. Gardner's organization of these complex ideas into five categories not only validated much of current thinking, but added clarity as well. Anyone with an interest in what our students should be taught and what it will mean to the future of our society if they are not will find this book of interest.
Unlike a previous reviewer I did not expect more about multiple intelligences, so I was not disappointed in that respect--I read reviews elsewhere before buying the book, so I was prepared for what was there.
Having expressed a positive opinion of the content I must express a strong negative opinion of the reader. I have not heard as many mispronunciations in all the audible books I have listened to over the years as there are in this one book. It is especially disappointing because this is the work of a well-known scholar. There are no pauses between sections--all the section headers (recognizable only as incomplete sentences)are read in the same run-on manner as the paragraphs. Not good. Do not let this reader near another book until he knows the difference between patios (as in dialect) and patios (as in those hard surfaced things in your back yards).
Gardner has great ideas but it not a great writer and the narrator makes it worse, not better. The prose is hard to parse on paper and becomes even harder in this audio format. However, the book's ideas are worth the read.
Tools for tomorrow
n/a. This is nonfiction.
He mispronounced too many words. Specifically, he mispronounced the names of the composers Bach, Mozart and Wagner, the philosopher Kant, Stravinsky's ballet Le Sacre du Printemps, and, worst of all, he pronounced Keynesian (as in John Maynard Keynes) as Kuh-NEE-shun. There were others, but these were the ones that come to mind.
This is a quality control problem, as these errors should have be caught before the recording went out the door. Dr. Gardner would be mortified if he knew about this.
I'm a tolerant fellow, but all these mispronounciations marred an otherwise competent reading of an excellent text.
The book is an excellent book. The character traits that Gardner names clearly are essential to human progress.
I struggled in the sixties to get a college education, barely graduated, spent a life in the phone company as a technician in a call center.
The author, well-narrated, has a view on civilization that, if read and studied by all, may well be the deciding factor in whether we find ourselves in total global war, or not.
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