The Element A New View of Human Capacity ken Robinskon book review by Marko Savic

Review of Ken Robinson The Element: A New View of Human Capacity

The Element: A New View of Human CapacityThe Element: A New View of Human Capacity by Ken Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve heard about this book for the first time when my sister sent me a video. I recommend this video strongly. You’ll get a big picture about what the author wanted to say in less than 20 minutes.

The book is full of information and above all full of stories about the people who found their element. Have you found yours already? You will need to pass (or you already have) personal, social, and cultural “circles of constraints”.

If you want to find your element, you will need to pas your personal, social, and cultural “circles of constraints”.

So, what is the way to become so lucky as some people are? Lucky people tend to:

+ maximize chance opportunities;
+ listen to their intuition;
+ expect to be lucky;
+ have an attitude that allows them to turn bad luck into good.

Ken Robinson is really brilliant in writing complex things easily. And he is writing about complex things. Joining together the past, the present and proposing what should we do for our better future and for the future of our kids. He says that our kids will very like have multiple careers not only multiple jobs. He is convinced that there are two major drivers of change: technology and demography.

Then he just mentions intuition. I guess it influenced me in such a power that I decided this is going to be the core of my 2010 new-year resolution. Because it’s true, by tasting, touching, smelling, seeing and hearing we do all those rational and a bit less rational things. I know for me at least, I have to learn to trust my intuition more.

It is more important to ask yourself how are you intelligent and NOT how intelligent are you.

What do you think is important to ask yourself?

+ How intelligent are you? or
+ How are you intelligent?

The first question is wrong (just in case you are not going to read this book). Because “intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinctive”. And also: no, it’s not true, that we can be very intelligent and not very creative and vice versa. This is definitely possible. Robinson has numerous cases about it. One that was very funny to me.

When Richard Branson, at the age of sixteen, decided to quit school one of his teachers commented: “By the time he is twenty-one, Richard will either be in jail or be a millionaire, and I have no idea which it will be.” We all know what happened.

But, I at least, didn’t know, that Richard Branson has dyslexia. This, among others, caused him serious difficulties understanding math. So, he could not quite understand the difference between net and gross profit. Once on a board meeting, his director of finance took him aside and said, “Richard, think of it this way: if you go fishing and throw a net into the sea, everything you catch in the net is yours to keep. That’s your ‘net’ profit. Everything else is the gross.” “Finally,” Richard said, “I got the difference.”.

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value.

So, it’s important to think about how are you intelligent? To find your element. So, what is creativity, actually? “The process of having original ideas that have value.”, says Robinson. Creative teams are diverse (different sorts of people), dynamic (using their differences as strengths) and distinct (they do something specific, it’s not a committee). And if you are not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never produce anything original. This one joke is particularly funny: someone wears a T-shirt that said, “If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?” Do you agree?

We should think about the world around us in a wide variety of ways. Yes, this is what I needed to know. Because the list of my interest is very long. And by changing our minds, we can change our life.

Some other information that I liked:

Alan Freed coined the term rock and roll in 1955.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “If you want to change the world, who do you begin with, yourself or others?” I think I know the answer, what about you?
+ Michelangelo, “The greatest danger for the must of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

So, aim high!

View all my reviews

See also the animated speech from Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert on the subject of Changing Education Paradigms.

Book Reviews > The Element: A New View of Human Capacity

Video RSA ANIMATE: Changing Education Paradigms, 11:40 minutes.

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