The Element draws on the stories of a wide range of people: Paul McCartney; The Simpsons creator Matt Groening; Meg Ryan; Gillian Lynne, who choreographed the Broadway productions of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera; journalist Arianna Huffington; renowned physicist Richard Feynman; and many others, including business leaders and athletes. It explores the components of this new paradigm: the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities.
With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. He shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that once we have found our path, we can help others do so as well. The Element shows the vital need to enhance creativity and innovation by thinking differently about human resources and imagination. It is an essential strategy for transforming education, business, and communities to meet the challenges of living and succeeding in the 21st century.
©2008 Ken Robinson, Ph.D; (P)2009 Tantor
"Motivating and persuasive, this entertaining and inspiring book will appeal to a wide audience." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Element offers life-altering insights about the discovery of your true best self." (Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
I loved it! Very inspirational. Great for everyone. I feel that it may especially help parents to be better able to see their children in a different light.
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.
This is no doubt one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. I left with a distinct motivation to ensure I had found my purpose and ensuring I was assisting those around me with finding theirs!
The end took a bit of a political turn when it comes to the public education system, and that won't sit well with everyone. Despite that, and I agree with Ken on the topic, I think Ken is coming from a good place here and his material was spot on and valid.
Ken's accent was a nice change of pace and his performance was excellent.
Ken Robinson has spent most of the book providing examples of how people have found the thing they love to do best. And that is good, for it is clear that many times the discovery is serendipitous. What I liked best was the fact that he agrees that what we are passionate about may not be what we should always do to earn a living. I grew up in India where a college education has never guaranteed a job. When I was a child, I once asked my father what I should do, if I didn't enjoy my job. He replied immediately that I should use the money I earned to do what I liked. I hope people love what they do, but being impractical won't always make people happy and finding the Element is about being happy. Also schools should try to provide more opportunities for children to learn using whichever way suits them best and customize lessons, but that is no guarantee that children will know what they wish to do for the rest of their life, when they leave school. They will have to see what kind of needs they will be best suited to fulfill, given their own interests and sometimes there is no obvious match. So, they will just have to take up what opportunities are available and keep looking. What I enjoyed most was how keen Robinson was that people should not be too quick to give up looking for a job that they would enjoy intensely. Good book, good narration.
Excellent language and clarity of presentation
Author's stories for obvious reasons have retrospective features; presented cases are in a sense self-selected.
Postulated educational approach would need to be tested prospectively for validation.
A Big Fan of Non-Fiction and Business Books as I am always looking to learn something New!
While this books focuses on creativity and excelling once you found your passion, its an enjoyable book due to its humor and story telling. Quite simply this is going to appeal to so many listeners, give it a try. You'll be glad you did.
An eclectic reader of many genres
Robinson uses humor and excellent stories to illustrate how society's definition intelligence has been somewhat misguided and how many have been educated away from their greatest strengths, strengths that can make a difference in our success and happiness.His ideas are well worth listening to for they can make a difference in how we approach a time when many jobs have been outsourced and we are trying to find our way in a new economy. They are especially important for us to introduce to our young people and educators who could benefit from these ideas greatly.
Robinson uses illustrations that resonated with me of people who experienced being in their element, what some call "being in the zone." And of how today's society would often pigeon-hole these people as problematic or having ADHD. I especially loved the story of the young girl who was having trouble at school, and it was recommended that her mother have her tested to see what could be done to fix her. She found an excellent doctor who interviewed her and recognized that her talents lay in dance. He recommended enrolling her in a dance class. This girl was Gillian Lynne who went on to become a brilliant Broadway choreographer.
There was not one scene or story in the book that stood out most. Rather, it was the overall validation through his stories and ideas that various kinds of intelligence are equally important.
Robinson's humor is engaging. I laughed out loud. I have given copies this audio book as well as the hard copy of it to many people. I think that his ideas that creativity must be honored and encouraged are vital. Einstein once said that imagination was more important than knowledge. Creativity and imagination, which are necessary to all fields of human endeavor, cannot be measured on a standardized test and do not always occur in only the subjects and jobs we have traditionally valued as most important.
I listened to this book (as well as to his TED Talk and other videos) and I read his book. (After listening, I had to have the book so that I could write in it and capture quotes.) However, listening to him is the best! His humor and delivery make this audiobook extremely enjoyable and bring his ideas to life.
Yes. I've already listened to it twice. There are so many interesting stories and ideas presented. Once was not enough. I'll revisit this book often for inspiration and ideas.
I appreciated the all the stories. Reading about persons that initially don't meet society's expections or molds and yet persevere & succeed in finding passion in their lives...very hopeful.
Affirmed my philosophy of the importance of an open mind - limitless possiblilites and new approaches to learning.
Engaging. Relevant. Change.
Very interesting book. It really makes you think about how we approach education in our nation as well as the pursuit of the things that really energize us and what we're passionate about. The reader is the author and it is very well read. I recomment it.
You should follow your passions and encourage others to do the same.
Top 5 books
The audio allows me to invest an hour or more at a time
No, several morning sittings
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