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Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative Hardcover – Feb 21 2011
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inspiring, witty and engaging book. (Tes.co.uk, April 2011). straightforward, amusing and useful. (Management Today, May 2011). a book with the potential to be a catalyst for system-wide change. (Times Educational Supplement, May 2011). 'Now more global in perspective the book seems more important than ever His rallying cry still deserves to be heard. (Business Life, May 2011).
From the Inside Flap
There is a paradox. As children, most of us think we are highly creative; as adults many of us think we are not. What changes as children grow up? Organizations across the globe are competing in a world that is changing faster than ever. They say they need people who can think creatively, who are flexible and quick to adapt. Too often they say they can't find them. Why not? In this provocative and inspiring book, Ken Robinson addresses three vital questions:
- Why is it essential to promote creativity? Business leaders, politicians and educators emphasize the vital importance of promoting creativity andinnovation. Why does this matter so much?
- What is the problem? Why do so many people think they're not creative? Young children are buzzing with ideas. What happens as we grow up and go through school to make us think we arenot creative?
- What can be done about it? What is creativity? What can companies, schools and organizations do to develop creativity and innovation in a deliberate and systematic way?
In this extensively revised and updated version of his bestselling classic, Out of Our Minds, Ken Robinson offers a groundbreaking approach to understanding creativity in education and in business. He argues that people and organizations everywhere are dealing with problems that originate in schools and universities and that many people leave education with no idea at all of their real creative abilities. Out of Our Minds is a passionate and powerful call for radically different approaches to leadership, teaching and professional development to help us all to meet the extraordinary challenges of living and working in the 21st century.See all Product description
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Creativity is one of those topics that excites some and enrages others. In the wrong hands it can be twee, syrupy, smug, territorial, giving the impression that you have to belong to a special club, with its own argot and conventions. For Ken Robinson it is none of these, but rather a universal talent that people have, often without realising it. Society in general, and education in particular, can squash the imagination and rock children's self-confidence.
What I like about this book is the breadth of its scope ... and the fascinating little stories that illustrate the points being made, tales from history, social and economic background factors, test items, incidents from school life. The book is peppered with these vividly recounted vignettes about thinking and learning, or lack of it ... Many of the illustrations and anecdotes are personal to the author, about people he has met inside and outside the university world, organisations he knows, stories he has been told.
Robinson's line of argument is carefully constructed through the seven chapters ... Because imagination and invention do not progress in straight lines, or along predictable routes, whole organisations must create and sustain a culture that promotes creativity, rather than stifles it. On the surface, relatively little of this book is directly about education, for many of the chapters describe society generally, human functioning, the arts, and the imagination. But you could also argue that all of it is about education. ... I was sorry to reach the end of the text, as it had maintained its momentum throughout. The reading may finish, but the thinking goes on, just as you would expect from a book on this intriguing subject.
Robinson responds to three separate but related questions:
o Why is it essential to promote creativity?
o What is the problem?
o What is involved?
Throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, Robinson develops and explores three separate but interdependent themes: “We are living in times of revolution"; "If we are to survive and flourish we have to think differently about our own abilities and make the best use of them"; and, "In order to do so we have to run our organizations and especially our education systems in radically different ways.”
These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye:
"The evolution of the Internet has been driven not only by innovations in technology but also by unleashing the imaginations and appetites of millions of users, which in turn are driving further innovations in technology." (Page 41)
"Current systems of education were not designed to meet the challenges we now face. They were developed to meet the needs of a former age. Reform is not enough; they need to be transformed." (49)
"All truth passes through three stages;
First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
-- Arthur Schopenhauer (81)
"When people find their medium, they discover their real creative strengths and come into their own. Helping people to connect with their personal creative capacities is the surest way to release the best they have to offer." (139)
"Being sensitive to oneself and to others is a vital element in the development of the personal qualities that are now urgently needed, in business, in the community and in personal life. It is through feelings as well as through reason that we find our real creative power. It is through both that we connect with each other and create the complex, shifting worlds of human culture." (196)
"Creating a culture of innovation will only work if the initiative is ked from the top of the organization. The endorsement and involvement if leaders means everything, if the environment is to change." (219)
"Creativity is not about alack of constraints; often it is about working within them and overcoming them. The dynamics of culture are such change travels in all directions. With the power of the Internet and of social networking, ideas and innovations can move quickly and inspire others to action. Sensitive policy makers will feel the change and may even say it was their idea." (266)
There have been hundreds (thousands?) of books and articles published in recent years that explore one or more aspects of creativity. What differentiates Robinson's book from all them are the scope and depth of focus on how and why to think differently about learning to be creative in [begin italics] all [end italics] domains of human experience. While reading and then re-reading this book, I was reminded of Walt Whitman's assertion in Song of Myself:
"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
As he also does in an earlier book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Ken Robinson urges those who read his latest book to think creatively about who they are ("large") and how they will explore and develop all dimensions of their humanity ("multitudes"). Moreover, especially to those with direct and frequent contact with children, he affirms the importance of helping others to do so. May reason guide and passion drive these noble initiatives.
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