Book Review: The Element

I just finished reading The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything and have to say that I really enjoyed it.

While the book spends a little too much time in the realm of ‘celebrity worship’ (i.e., there are LOT of celebrities that have found ‘the element’ apparently), the book is still a very good read.

The basic premise is that every person has their own ‘Element’ that they fit the best into.  What is the element?  Basically, the Element is the location where a person’s passion, interests and natural abilities intersect.

The Element is something that a person has to find for themselves. Schools can’t teach a child to find their element.  In fact, many schools and parents do the opposite…they try to drive children into the ‘safe’ areas for careers and educational study.

The book contains a lot of stories of people that have found their ‘Element’.  Many of these stories are of people who’ve gone against the ‘normal’ educational route to become their own person.

That said, this book does not slam modern education and teachers. From all accounts, Sir Ken Robinson is very much pro-education and pro-teacher.  What the book does do well is provide examples and discussion around the current state of educational theory and what it is doing wrong.

What is current education theory and practice doing wrong?  Easy…we are teaching everyone the same thing and using standardized testing to examine what has been learned.  In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than killing the creativity of a child by forcing them to fit into an educational and cultural mold.

The book is an easy read and highly recommended to anyone interested in the ideas of creativity and passion and educational ideas.

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