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Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era Hardcover – August 18, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith want us to stop thinking about success for our children in terms of test scores, and start concentrating on real learning, creative problem-solving, and the joy of discovery. And instead of just diagnosing the ills of our education system, they also offer a remedy in the form of a complete re-imagining of what high-quality education for all could and should be. Most Likely to Succeed is a book for everyone interested in seeing our children thrive in the 21st century.” (Daniel H. Pink, author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND)

"Bracing, revelatory, and always backed up with hard facts, Most Likely to Succeed should top the reading list for any teacher, parent, citizen, or high school or college student. Wagner and Dintersmith's incisive prose slices through the politics to show—without pointing fingers—how schools can refocus to prepare our children for the jobs of the future." (Laszlo Bock, SVP of People at Google and author of WORK RULES!)

"This is an urgently needed and inspiring book, with two authors who have the first-hand experience to blueprint a bridge from the schools we have to the future we need." (Anya Kamenetz, author of THE TEST and DIY U)

“A searing and urgent indictment of the damaging priorities of American education and a fully grounded, practical vision of how to re-imagine it for the world we live in now. In plain language, Ted Dintersmith and Tony Wagner tell it like it is and how it really must be if America’s students, economy and civil democracy are to survive and flourish in the 21st century. A compelling and important book.” (Sir Ken Robinson PhD, author of "Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education")

"If you read one book about education this decade, make it this one. I couldn't put it down, and neither will you." (Adam Braun, "New York Times" bestselling author and Founder of Pencils of Promise)

“Wagner and Dintersmith cut through the noise to demonstrate how our education system must move from a myopic focus on high-stakes testing to an emphasis on preparing students more holistically for life, career, college and citizenship. They call for systemic changes to ensure that teachers have the time, tools and trust they need to empower kids with a passion for learning and to teach the critical skills students will need in the 21st century economy.” (Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers)

"In this excellent book...Wagner and Dintersmith argue...that success and happiness will depend increasingly on having the ability to innovate." (Chicago Tribune)

About the Author

Tony Wagner currently serves as an Expert In Residence at Harvard University's Innovation Lab. Previously he has worked as a high school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility. Tony is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and the author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap.

Ted Dintersmith was one of the top-ranked venture capitalist in the U.S., and is now focused on issues at the intersection of innovation and education.  He organized and produced the documentary Most Likely To Succeed, which premiered at Sundance, 2015.  He was appointed to represent the U.S. at the United Nations General Assembly for the 2012 session, where he focused on global education issues.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (August 18, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1501104314
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501104312
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jonathan Sauder on September 24, 2015
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great start for seeing what's wrong with education. I love the authors' assessment that the way we teach is outdated, and that the current education system (including college) fails to produce innovative thought leaders for the next generation. They paint an exciting picture of what 'could be', citing several possibilities stoke your enthusiasm.

Where I will somewhat disagree is that their frequent mantra that teachers are forced to 'teach to the test' is a bit short-sighted. While I agree, teachers have a huge task to accomplish in today's schools, teaching to the test shouldn't be a litmus for anything but bad teaching. When good teachers teach, they intentionally ignore the state standards, and as a result, teach far ABOVE them. Teachers who teach to the test are lazy, and are only following misaligned incentives.
I think this is intentional on the part of the authors. They don't want to abandon ANY teachers when inspiring the next-generation teaching reform, but the problem of poor teachers and teaching to a 'low bar' should be addressed in any education reform because: 1) These teachers are a large part of the problem. and 2) Any teachers interested in maintaining the status quo won't be swayed by any logic (idealistic or otherwise). I don't say this to be callous. My mother was a teacher. My wife is a teacher. And the stories I hear of kids who hate school subjects are frequently connected to teachers who failed to make their subjects interesting to begin. Personally, I'm a big fan of doubling (at least) teacher's salaries, and making it easier for schools to fire underperforming teachers... but I digress. My point is that the issue of underperforming teachers was never addressed in this important book about teaching reform.
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Format: Hardcover
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED invokes many of the beliefs that really work towards transforming education - creativity, collaboration, ability-based tasks, connection as well as negotiation. The authors back their arguments up with a wealth of evidence about what is wrong with the US education system and how it might be reformed. The overall thrust, which is a good one, is for individual educators, boards and groups to initiate change from the ground upwards, rather than expecting any centralized reform. The more educators embrace change and resist the standardized, test-based formula that dominates education today, the more encouragement will be stimulated for the future.

And yet the book is marred by certain assumptions which seem to undermine the very fabric of a good education. One of the authors is an entrepreneur who has 'made it big' through individual initiative, and desires to put something back into the communities that nurtured him. A laudable intention indeed; but that does not mean that education as a whole should be geared towards business and/or commercial success. Learners should be encouraged to develop in whatever way they choose; it might not be fruitful for some people to pursue business related projects, but rather to concentrate on a liberal education, or on the arts, appealing to the imagination rather than the practical side of our brains. Educators should be encouraged to help learners develop in any way they please, without having any real goals or 'successes' in mind: sometimes people turn out to be late developers in whatever they believe is their particular field of interest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I teach in an independent school and I applaud this book. It falls short in that it does not adequately address how we, as a nation, can contend with the admissions boards of our country's universities. In my 25 years of teaching it seems that everything is driven by fear - fear that my child will not get into the best schools, fear that my child will not be successful, fear that my child will not be competitive, etc... In the end, what we need is a book that addresses how we reform colleges so that our nation's schools can get on with the business of educating children for lives that make a difference.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I admire the extremely well- written and articulated prose of this non- fictional work- it resembles a submitted doctoral thesis. Verbose and replete with grammatical correctness, which I applaud, and believe was not the efforts of a overworked proofreader, I still found too many echoes of voices from the past three decades. With a nearly I
Photographic memory, it is fairly easy to recall others who espoused performance based learning in lieu of standardized tests (recall the ITBS?). Or how students needed to taught in less constructed environments (Ivan Illich sound familiar?) Who could ever forget Harry Wong? What was really missing and I think it may have been just an oversight is the question...What do all American businesses want with creative and innovative graduates? Money makers...not just great ideas and the joy of personal creativity and collaborative success...No. These true capitalists want the BEST minds to produce the LARGEST amount of $$$$$$$$for the least amount of salary, benefits , and future retirement payments. It says comes back to the almighty Dollar!
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