Most helpful positive review
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Intellectually Challenging & Humorous
on June 19, 2001
There are certain books that manage to be authoritative, entertaining and thought-provoking and are also well-written and richly exemplified. Few authors are able to fashion this attractive mixture. Alvin Toffler and Charles Handy can craft it, and in education, David Hargreaves has the knack. I shall add Ken Robinson's absorbing account of creativity to my personal list of gems.
Creativity is one of those topics that excites some and enrages others. In the wrong hands it can be twee, syrupy, smug, territorial, giving the impression that you have to belong to a special club, with its own argot and conventions. For Ken Robinson it is none of these, but rather a universal talent that people have, often without realising it. Society in general, and education in particular, can squash the imagination and rock children's self-confidence.
What I like about this book is the breadth of its scope ... and the fascinating little stories that illustrate the points being made, tales from history, social and economic background factors, test items, incidents from school life. The book is peppered with these vividly recounted vignettes about thinking and learning, or lack of it ... Many of the illustrations and anecdotes are personal to the author, about people he has met inside and outside the university world, organisations he knows, stories he has been told.
Robinson's line of argument is carefully constructed through the seven chapters ... Because imagination and invention do not progress in straight lines, or along predictable routes, whole organisations must create and sustain a culture that promotes creativity, rather than stifles it. On the surface, relatively little of this book is directly about education, for many of the chapters describe society generally, human functioning, the arts, and the imagination. But you could also argue that all of it is about education. ... I was sorry to reach the end of the text, as it had maintained its momentum throughout. The reading may finish, but the thinking goes on, just as you would expect from a book on this intriguing subject.