Friday, August 16, 2013

The Element

The Element
Ken Robinson, Lou Aronica

First Sentence
"Gillian was only eight years old, but her future was already at risk."
Publisher's Description:

The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves, most inspired, and achieve at their highest levels. The Element draws on the stories of a wide range of people: Paul McCartney, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Meg Ryan, Gillian Lynne, who choreographed the Broadway productions of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, journalist Arianna Huffington, renowned physicist Richard Feynman, and many others, including business leaders and athletes. It explores the components of this new paradigm: the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities.

With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. He shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that once we have found our path, we can help others do so as well. The Element shows the vital need to enhance creativity and innovation by thinking differently about human resources and imagination. It is an essential strategy for transforming education, business, and communities to meet the challenges of living and succeeding in the twenty-first century.

Dear Reader,

The Element made for an interesting listen, since I audio-booked this. The Audio version had many pros and cons. I'm not a huge fan of self-help books but when I do read one, I prefer to listen to the audio book. This particular book had an excellent narrator and was really easy to follow along (without getting lost if you miss a sentence or two).

Robinson starts off the book using bullet points of everything he was planning on getting to (which I found slightly college term paper-esque). Each section has vignettes of personal experiences (many from famous/successful people). Each chapter ends with questions and exercises to help you work out your Element. This was what didn't really work for me since I listen to my audio books in the car. I tried to participate in my mind while driving home from work but I found myself needing the physical pen and paper to complete the exercises successfully. When I got home, I had every intention of picking up the pen and paper but it never really happened. Not sure if this is a failure on my part or the inconvenience of having the subject brought up to me during an inopportune time.

Even though I didn't complete the work the way the book was intended, I still felt I started recognizing my strengths. I've always known I'm a bookaholic, and I know that I would be extremely happy to have a job surrounding books. Now that I recognize my element... I'm suppose to work towards utilizing it. Many of the successful stories happened because of luck, money and accessibility... which is all well and good for someone who comes across this but not everyone has this chance. My circumstances have me up against the wall when it comes to education and as far as money goes, fat chance. I'm left with pure luck and hard work and I only control one of those aspects. I believe what he tells us in the book is very helpful to most people, I just might not be one of them.  I respect all that Robinson shows us through The Element but haven't been convinced that it'll save your life.

Happy Reading,

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