This is not a book about finding yourself. It’s a book about finding what you’re good at, and doing just that, as often as you can. Ken shares with us the stories of many remarkable people who seemed to drift through life until they found their element, at which point they took off. These include people such as Richard Branson, the entrepreneur who did not take to school, or Paolo Coelho the writer, whose parents so wanted him to be a lawyer that they had him committed when he kept writing.
The tragedy, as Ken writes, is that so many people never find or express their Element. He sets his sights plainly on the outdated western education system, something that is broken, yet fixable. If you haven’t seen his TED talks on the subject, you should.
Another interesting talk at Ted, and this is a short one, for time-poor individuals. However, you’ll still be thinking about it long after it finishes!
Jonathan Driori asks his audience four ‘simple’ questions. For the record, I got two right.
Jonathan then talks about the persistence of mental models, how we form those models in our chilhood, and keep using them way into adulthood. He criticies certain aspects of education and praises others, especially activites ofcused on hands-on exploration.
Mental models are critical, many of our reactions to things we see, hear, or read, are based on the foundations of our mental models. If these are warped or flawed, how much more difficult it is to arrive at a shared understanding.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Ken Robinson’s speech concerning education and how it kills creativity.
This led me back to the subject of books in schools. How is it that schools do such a terrible job of instilling a love of reading? Again it’s because they follow the same tired old mass industrial model. A room of 20 or 30 odd individuals, all being made to read the same book at the same time, at the same pace. Insanity? No, education. Apparently.
Given this, its surprising that anyone comes out of the school system wanting to read at all.
Schools should be instilling a love of reading, the same way they should be supporting other creative outlets, by encouraging students to discover what they want in their own way, at their own pace.
Don’t shake your head either, thinking something along the lines of ‘if they weren’t forced to read they wouldn’t read’. And why is that, exactly? Because they see no reading being done in their own homes? Quite possibly. But why is that? Because their own parents went through the same system, and came out with no wish to read. See? That is proof that the system isn’t working, not a reason to perpetuate the system.
Forcing kids to read a specific book, or forcing anyone to read a specific book, is bad, and a waste of time. Instead, students should be encouraged to discover books, and be challenged to take their reading further. That one might work. I think it’s worth a try.