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The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything Hardcover – January 8, 2009


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Frequently Bought Together

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything + Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life + Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (January 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670020478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020478
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (285 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Robinson (Out of Our Minds), renowned in the areas of creativity development, innovation and human resources, tackles the challenge of determining and pursuing work that is aligned with individual talents and passions to achieve well-being and success. The element is what he identifies as the point where the activities individuals enjoy and are naturally good at come together. Offering a wide range of stories about the creative journeys of different people with diverse paths to the element—including Paul McCartney, The Alchemist author Paulo Coelho, and Vidal Sassoon as well as lesser-known examples—he demonstrates a rich vision of human ability and creativity. Covering such topics as the power of creativity, circles of influence, and attitude and aptitude, the author emphasizes the importance of nurturing talent along with developing an understanding of how talent expresses itself differently in every individual. Robinson emphasizes the importance of mentors and reforming and transforming education, making a convincing argument bolstered by solid strategies for honing creativity. Motivating and persuasive, this entertaining and inspiring book will appeal to a wide audience. (Jan.)
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Review

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
 
“Ken Robinson presents the theme of creativity and innovation in a way that makes you want to go out and make your dreams a reality. In his wonderfully easy-to-read and entertaining style he presents the stories of many who have done just that. . . . It is a book that lightens and lifts the minds and hearts of all who read it.” —Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., bestselling author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway® and Life is Huge!
“A great and inspiring book. It’s been said that an unexamined life is not worth living. True enough and Ken Robinson doesn’t let us off the hook. After the first page, you have to abandon your ego and look for your own gifts and graces.” —Warren Bennis, author of On Becoming a Leader: The Leadership Classic

“Robinson (Out of Our Minds), renowned in the areas of creativity development, innovation, and human resources, tackles the challenge of determining and pursuing work that is aligned with individual talents and passions to achieve well-being and success. . . . Motivating and persuasive, this entertaining and inspiring book will appeal to a wide audience.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Ken Robinson is a remarkable man, one of the few who really look at and into you, so he makes you feel at ease and happy. I’m proud to be in his book as one of the people he feels attained the Element. Reading his book helps you pinpoint the search we must all make to achieve the best in us.” —Gillian Lynne, choreographer, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera
 
“While the world is changing faster than ever, our organizations, our schools, and too often our minds are locked in the habits of the past. The result is a massive waste of human talent. The Element is a passionate and persuasive appeal to think differently about ourselves and how to face the future.” —Alvin Toffler, author of The Future Shock
 
“A brilliant and compelling look at creativity, and the path to succeed in the global world of tomorrow.” —Harry Lodge, co-author of Younger Next Year

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Customer Reviews

This book is very well written.
Thomas R. Rice
This was a gift for our son who has read it and proclaims it to be "the best book I ever read"!
B. Behrenshausen
This book, if you let it, can be really life changing.
RW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

378 of 411 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I first learned of Sir Ken Robinson through watching his lecture "Do Schools Kill Creativity" free on the Internet last year (his talks have been viewed millions of times by people across the world). In that talk he mentions he was in the process of writing a book -- THE ELEMENT: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything -- is that book. I was thrilled to be able to attend a lecture, one of the first stops on the book tour to promote this book and was so inspired I bought the book immediately.

This book's audience is every person in the world, every single one of us could benefit from reading and applying the information in this book. In addition to being about changes that a person can make in their own life during adulthood, the book also speaks to teachers and other adults who are involved in educating children. People interested in learning styles, learning disabilities, alternative education and education reform may be interested in this book. All types of artists and creative people may like to read THE ELEMENT.

The books starts off discussing children, how all children are unique, have certain interests and natural talents; have an inborn curiosity and a capacity to learn. Sadly, school is sometimes a place where some children are stifled and changed for the worse. Despite best intentions by society for children `to become educated', the issues with designing a `one size fits all' curriculum for mass institutional schools creates its own set of problems. In an effort to raise everyone's educational level up, some fall through the cracks, or their square pegs don't fit in the round holes. The way modern schooling is conducted damages some children. Attempts to educate all children to one standard plan does not allow all children with varying natural talents to shine.
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299 of 333 people found the following review helpful By M. Free on April 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I borrowed and read The Element before reading any of your reviews.
My initial reaction to the first quarter of The Element was YES!! I've been saying for years that schools are killing creativity & individuality. But as the book wore on reporting on one rich and famous person after another, I became sad that my life seems to be slipping away and I've done nothing to the betterment of my community or the world. Then a few chapters later I was uplifted to find that it's still not too late. So great, I'm ready, so how? And then the book ends.
HOW?, I scream How?!!!
I was also disheartened that there weren't more examples of ordinary people, like Dr. Robinson's mother, who contributed to their families and communities by using intangible talents..ie, compassion, service, organization. Being able to plan and execute an outing for disabled children to celebrate Earth Day is just as much a talent as acting or playing the piano. Doesn't get you much press and certainly doesn't make the Forbes 500 in salaries, but it's rewarding.
I enjoyed the book, but it left me frustrated.
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188 of 211 people found the following review helpful By Susan Adrian on October 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The idea that one should pursue one's passion is neither new nor, in and of itself, particularly profound. We've all heard stories about people who have pulled themselves up by their boot straps and become amazingly successful and fulfilled. Nothing new here. So what's good about this book? What's new? What's useful?

The burning question for almost everyone not lucky enough to have their passion thrust upon them is How Do I Discover MY Passion?

That's the real question.

And when I ask that question, I'm not looking for vague, general guidelines, I'm looking for a process that will lead to the discovery of my passion. Do I even have one? Does everyone have a passion?

The people profiled in the book are all very remarkable, very unusual people. We're not all like them. How do WE discover our passion? I've already heard about the lucky ones; I want to know about the rest of us.

The book doesn't even come close to addressing this question in a meaningful way. And, of course, it could be argued that that is not its purpose. But then, what is its purpose: capitalizing on fame, name dropping, rehashing? Whatever else it might be, it's also an opportunity lost.

In the end, this is a book directed at an elitist audience, like the author and the friends he mentions. More than a disappointment, this book is a disservice to readers serious about making a difference in their lives.
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132 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Emma on April 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a tutor of many bright, capable and learning-disabled students, I looked forward to reading Ken Robinson's book. In the end I was quite disappointed. The book has an interesting premise that when people find occupations that match their passions and natural abilities, they find fulfillment (are in their "element"). The problem is that the support for this argument is based upon anecdotes rather than any meaningful survey or statistical analysis. Most of the examples given are exceptional people who have been successful in the arts, areas in which a large number of people would love to work but for which they can expect to get paid little or no money. Yes, it is true that members of the Beatles became successful in spite of their lack of interest in school, but to say that their path to fame and fortune can be reproduced for the many young men who fantasize about being a great rock musician is too big a leap to be taken seriously.

The challenge for educators and society in general is how to educate students of different abilities and learning styles so that they have the knowledge and skills they need to find an occupation that is both a good fit and generates a livable income. My students need guidance as they move from high school to post-graduation training/education and this book did not provide me with any meaningful additional tools with which to do this.
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