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Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World Hardcover – April 17, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451611498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451611496
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A road map for parents who want to sculpt their children into innovative thinkers.”—USA Today

"In this fascinating book, Tony Wagner addresses one of our most urgent questions: How do we create the next generation of innovators? By telling the stories of young creators, and by taking us inside cutting-edge programs, Wagner shows that the answer isn't to double-down on outmoded, formulaic solutions--but to embrace the principles of play, passion, and purpose. Creating Innovators is important reading for anyone concerned about the future."--Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

“In the equation of world success, superior innovation is the only factor that can keep America #1. Two passionate citizens, innovators in their own right, have produced a compelling prescription for our time. Read it, watch it, and spread the word.”--Mitch Daniels, Governor, State of Indiana

"To combat the competitive threat from economies like Brazil, Russia, India and China, we must develop empowered entrepreneurs and innovators. Creating Innovators is a masterful work that shows us how. Tony Wagner's case studies reveal more about these fine innovators than he may have realized. World leaders, business executives, educators, policy makers and parents, take note!"--Dr. Annmarie Neal Founder, Center for Leadership Innovation and Former Chief Talent Officer, Cisco Systems

“Tony Wagner makes a compelling case for how our education system has to change if we are to create the innovators we need to face tomorrow's challenges. If you are an educator, a parent of a child struggling with conventional education, or an employer looking to have a pipeline of creative talent, then read this book, take note of the ideas and play your part in creating the change we must make happen.”--Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

"In my life I have met and worked with individuals who help create the world they live in—innovators. Their lives are so much more fulfilling than people who live in a world of someone else's creation. This book, in a clear, tangible way, explores how to help young people access skills of innovation and lead richer lives."--Brad Anderson, former CEO, Best Buy Corporation

“In just the click of a mouse, we left the Industrial Age for the Information Age. Now just as quickly, we find ourselves in a new age of our society and economy; the Innovation Age. Tony Wagner and Bob Compton have provided a powerful tool for parents, educators and students seeking success in this new society and economy.”--Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction

“A pioneering and invaluable work about what it really takes to build innovation capability in society--by planting and cultivating innovators, one person at a time.”--John Kao, Chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation and author of Innovation Nation

“Many have written about the paucity of innovation in America. Others have chronicled our schools' struggles to improve on dimensions of skills that matter. In this book, Wagner has positioned himself astride these critical challenges in a way that clarifies what we must do to address these problems, and how we can do it--making this a must read for anyone interested in the education of our nation.”--Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School, and author of Disrupting Class

“A seminal analysis promising hope for the future through small wonders in the classroom.”—Kirkus

About the Author

Tony Wagner is currently the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard and the founder and former co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Wagner consults widely to public and independent schools and foundations around the country and has served as Senior Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A former high school teacher, K-8 principal, and university professor in teacher education, Wagner is a highly sought-after speaker and the author of four books, including The Global Achievement Gap

More About the Author

TONY WAGNER currently serves as an Expert In Residence at Harvard University's new Innovation Lab. Prior to this appointment, Tony was the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, and the founder and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for more than a decade. His previous work experience includes twelve years as a high school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor in teacher education, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility.

Tony is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and a widely published author. His work includes numerous articles and five books. Tony's latest, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World, was recently published by Simon & Schuster to rave reviews and has been translated into six languages. His 2008 book, The Global Achievement Gap continues to be an international best seller with a Second Edition forthcoming. Tony also recently collaborated with noted filmmaker Robert Compton to create a 60 minute documentary, "The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World's Most Surprising School System."

Tony earned an M.A.T. and an Ed.D. at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
For news, list of upcoming appearances, links to keynotes, and copies of Tony's articles, visit his website:

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By patricia on June 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Sadly, too many buyers of books about education or parenting or business are seeking some kind of silver bullet--a recipe for how to transform schools or raise better children or improve one's business. I think some of the reviews of this book reflect a disappointment in not finding quick fixes in its pages. Creating Innovators offers fascinating and invaluable insights, but alas, no recipes. Unlike many popular authors today, Wagner writes with great clarity but respects the complexity of the topics he explores. His case studies of young innovators offer rich, in-depth portraits of young men and women from a variety of backgrounds who are innovating in different ways. His interviews with their parents and the teachers whom they told him had made the greatest difference in their lives are powerful and moving.

But perhaps Wagner's greater contribution is to the broader dialogue of what it means to an educated adult in the 21st century. Building on his outstanding work in The Global Achievement Gap, Wagner goes beyond the now common calls for so-called 21st century skills (a term he never used) to explain how every young person must develop the capacities to solve problems creatively--to innovate. His profiles offer insights into what parents, teachers, mentors can do to nurture and develop these capacities in young people. Finally, Wagner contributes an invaluable perspective to the raging debate about the value of a college education. His description of the contradiction between the culture of schooling versus the culture of learning that develops the dispositions of an innovator is a unique insight--which is made all the richer by his exploration of some radically new approaches to teaching and learning in college.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful By J. Stanton on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Tony Wagner's latest book, he attempts to explain what should be done to develop young innovators. After a brief primer on innovation, Wagner introduces to several young "innovators" and tells their stories. The aim is to look at these few people, pinpoint the similarities of their childhoods and educational background, and develop a recipe for producing innovative minds. In addition to talking with the people themselves, Wagner consults their parents for clues and parenting skills and styles that have proven beneficial in these specific cases.

The plan of the book is sound, but I was left with a feeling I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. People have been touting the importance of "play" and imagination in the lives of young people for years. Teaching children to develop passions and think creatively has been the aim of educators for a long time. As in his previous book The Global Achievement Gap, Wagner is right on the money in his adverse views toward standardized testing and how it stifles creativity. However, he again portrays a very negative views of teachers in general. The young innovators he interviews in the book offer largely adverse views toward their formal schooling. It is almost as if he wants you to believe they have accomplished so much in their young lives in spite of the education they've been given. While the current state of education needs to see reform, the problem isn't really with the teachers, but rather the educational establishment as a whole. There are times I think Wagner completely gets this but he shies away from really getting to the root of the problem.

All in all though, the book is decent. Wagner has a likable style in his writing and if you enjoyed The Global Achievement Gap, you will probably like this. I really felt he was on to something, and kept turning the page waiting for some truly revolutionary ideas, but never really arrived there.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I had a chance to go through this book today while visiting a school in Fairfax Virginia and I liked it. I have gone with 5 stars because it is a message that needs repeating as the educational "establishment" is still not listening, but those that rated it at only four stars have good reason to do so. I browsed the many interviews, and focused on the synthesis bits.

I completely agree with the criticism of the Quick Response codes, in this instance they are largely useless and a waste of time -- the concept is however sound, and a great deal more needs to be done to better integrate books to video and also video to books.

The author's earlier book, (The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need--and What We Can Do About It) listed seven survival skills that I repeat below, and the author tells us that this book is intended to move beyond those seven skills.

01 Critical thinking & problem solving
02 Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
03 Agility and adaptability
04 Initiative & entrepreneurship
05 Accessing and analyzing information (this is HUGE and where I have spent 30 years and will spend 30 more)
06 Effective oral & written communications (to which I would add graphic visualization)
07 Curiosity and imagination

I have reviewed here at Amazon 150 books tagged Education (General) and 60 books tagged Education (Universities) with about 20 of them being core [all my reveiews sorted by 98 categories are at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, this is not something one can do via Amazon now, but they all lead back to their respective Amazon page).
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