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143 of 167 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Idea But Little to Substantiate It, April 16, 2010
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This review is from: The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Paperback)
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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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 4, 2010 7:52:20 AM PDT
Claire says:
I think you missed the author's point. He states often that not everyone is a secret genius just waiting to have fame and fortune. I don't think Dr. Robinson intended this book to be a tool per se, but the beginning of a larger discussion and thought process. The anecdotes are there for illustration of his point.

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 2:58:53 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 28, 2010 2:59:20 PM PDT]

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 2:59:29 PM PDT
J. Johnston says:
From an educators perspective, the Beatles story, success despite school issues is spot on to the point being made. Most kids will not have similar results if they take the Beatles path to success. I think Ken Robinson would argue that schools need to address this fundamental problem, if John Lennon was a student in 2010 schools, he should be identified and encouraged to showcase his clear talent. Instead we bottle kids up and try to push them through the assembly line so we can stamp them with a diploma so that they are on the same level as the other millions of graduates. So, if we want to see more stories like the Beatles we will have to alter the educational system to promote individualized education plans for every kid.

Posted on Feb 8, 2011 9:34:57 AM PST
It seems to me the challenge is more about "how to get out of the way" - teaching is the art of lighting fires. It's experiential - and more about creating multi-sensory opportunities for exploring topics and igniting curiosity. The education paradigm which exists today needs to be bulldosed. We're in a new age which calls for creativity and problem solving at all levels. This book fueled my passion for change and has my vote for a very worthwhile read!

Posted on Aug 6, 2012 6:36:58 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 7, 2012 6:00:20 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 26, 2012 1:23:10 AM PDT
Adel Anwar says:
Actually knowing what I know about expertise: many can have the success like the Beatles but they must practice just as hard for 10,000+ hours !

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 8:51:59 AM PST
Emma says:
If an author does not propose concrete solutions, then I think he is just one more person whining about the state of the nation's educational system. There is general agreement that we have a problem, but what can or should we do about it?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 8:55:45 AM PST
Emma says:
You say that many can have success, but how many (really)? The Beatles did not just practice 10,000 hours, they had the rare opportunity to play for audiences in Germany and other places to make up that 10,000 hours. That kind of experience is simply not available to most young musicians. Even the ones who get exposure often cannot make a living in music (you can look at some of past American Idol winners for examples).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 12:08:51 PM PST
Did you read this entire book? It is packed with concrete solution. If you are looking for a one size fits all fix this is not the book. Sir Ken advocates individual responsibility as well as project based classrooms. Students of all ages need to practice hands on problem solving, imagining, and creative risk taking. Sorry...no magic pills!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2013 1:07:06 PM PDT
NH says:
You should probably read the book. Watch a lecture or two of his and your questions will be answered.
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