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204 of 218 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
After reading the book, I had a hard time remembering why I had thought it would be great, so I looked again at Sir Ken Robinson's recent and popular lecture at [search "Sir Ken Robinson on TED Talks"]. Now I remember -- he's an entertaining speaker, with some pretty good points about the genius of children and how we school it out of them. But the book, well, it's subtitled "Learning to Be Creative" but that really only comes in the last chapter, and his recommendations seem very conservative. He spends much too much time before that--building up his case--and that case is watered down by being second-hand. If you want to know about what schooling is doing and why, read Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society. If you're really interested in the physiological basis of non-academic intelligence, read Goleman's Emotional Intelligence (which Sir Ken quotes, but better the original). In short, the book, though it's just 200 pages, is simply too long.

I did find one memorable point: that many people miss the chance for creativity because they're not trying in the field that's natural to them. The idea that, in order to be creative, find your medium, whether it be in the "traditional" arts such as painting or dance, or in any other occupation. Whatever is closest to your heart.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
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.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sometimes a writer has an uncanny kknack of sharply focusing something which up until then you had not seen in all its simplicity and brilliance. This book does that but at the next moment it makes connections never before imagained. Even the most obstinately prosaic and safe thinkers will be tempted out of their box by Ken Robinson's ideas, theories and speculations. What's more, he writes as he speaks, in a way that, magnetically and compulsively, is simply irresistible.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
While Robinson perhaps uses more words than necessary to make his point, I found this book refreshing because it gets to the heart of the failures in our education system that few others seem to see. The focus of education reform today is on testing to verify that all students learn certain basic facts, e.g. no child left behind. There is some merit to the new attention paid to accountability for outcomes. However, as Robinson clearly points out, the real issue is that we are not helping our students to understand and leverage their own unique talents, and we are not preparing them to deal collaboratively with a world where there are few black and white answers. Until we as a society properly identify the problem, any solutions that emerge are guaranteed to fall short--no matter how well intentioned. I found the book to be short on guidance about solutions and approaches that can address the core issues, but at least it gets the problem in front of anyone who reads it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Out of Our Minds is clear and very well written. It provides a wonderful overview of the thinking behind the development of the English approach to education, its philosophical underpinnings and shortcomings for our current world. Fascinating for those interested in the histroy of thought behind the education system. However, if, like me, you are looking for techniques to develop your creativity - this book will not fulfill this desire. It's recommendations are geared toward those behind the design and implementation of education programs.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book having seen Sir Ken's brilliant and unforgettable talk from the 2006 TED conference. Unfortunately, his coherence and wit do not convey in the printed version.

There are a handful of points from the book that will stick with me. One reviewer has already mentioned one, that many of us go forward in our lives working in the wrong medium. He tells of a talented concert pianist who realized in mid-stream of a successful career that she had no passion for it, and became an editor. Another idea that was new to me is that subject areas in the education system are in large measure a management tool rather than an objective description of human knowledge. If there are only ten categories, then many of our arts will suffer from sub-category status. Drama? Oh, that goes under English. Or how about dance? Let's throw it in with the rest of physical education. These simplifying reductions are harmful to deeper understanding.

This book is hurt by terrible editing. I care more about ideas than spelling and grammar, but the former are obscured without attention to the latter. I can't tell you how many times Robinson's train of thought is derailed by missing articles, conjunctions, and adverbs. By the time I had read the sentence enough times to put it back together, I had lost the thrust of the argument.

If you haven't seen Sir Ken's TED talk, you must seek it out. His message is as important to our society at the turn of the 21st century as any you'll hear, and his abilities as a speaker are awe inspiring. I would love to be able to recommend his book, but it doesn't really hold together.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
'Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative' by Ken Robinson is one of the 'must read' books for modern classroom teachers. Robinson challenges many of the widely held beliefs and processes of education found in the majority of western countries. In a time of rapidly changing social and educational climates, the ideas that are raised in this book allows teachers to consider the real purpose of educating students for a modern society.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I heard Ken Robinson speak on a C-Span program and was quite taken by his mastery of the topic of education and sociology, so I bought one of his books Out of Our Minds... is terrific, and it is no wonder huge corporations seek this man's advice on a myriad of issues. I am in education, and the book is a relevant and informative addition to my reference library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book was a must-have, as a creative person with a passion for teaching. It should be popping open minds - or should have been, since it was actually written a while back - all over the world, along all disciplines. If nothing else, it has made me completely relax regarding my child's report card and whether or not she does well in a conventional educational sense. I trust that Ken is right because I simply feel that he is speaking a very obvious truth.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Jurgen Wolff, author of "Creativity Now!" reviews Sir Ken Robinson's passionate argument for why we need more creativity and his practical methods for both the creative individual and the creative society. Creativity Now: Get inspired, create ideas and make them happen now!
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