Business Book of the Week – Robinson – The element – How finding your passion changes everything

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Robinson)

A few weeks ago, I chose one of Tony Buzan’s books as my Business Book of the Week. On Friday night, I went to hear Buzan speaking. He is a polished presenter, nay an entertainer, and he tends to stick to his stuff. He wouldn’t be drawn into discussion and insisted on any questions being dealt with off the stage. Fair enough – that’s his style. Although the talk was an introduction to mind mapping and the evolution of our understanding of the brain, to me it highlighted two key messages:

  • That our creativity (esp. our problem solving ability) progressively diminishes with age – dramatically dropping from around 95% in a 2yr old to 25% by the time a student graduates. However you look at it, and with no disrespect intended to any lecturers and teachers reading this, it sounds as though our education system is doing us a disservice.
  • That most of us tap into a tiny fraction of the potential of situations and experiences thereby gaining very little from them. We seem so preoccupied with making things fit into our existing (limited) understanding that we progressively close our minds to learning and enquiring.

Maybe I am particularly attuned to this at the moment? There was an excellent documentary rebroadcast on Radio 4 this week, about two identical sisters who have followed different Faiths. One of them defined her Faith as offering hope because all would be forgiven when they die. The other defined it as living every day with the aim of being ‘better’. It struck me that one was considerably less expansive than the other.

It was with all this running through my mind that I began to look for my business book of the week. I found myself drawn to the book by Sir Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.

Robinson’s first TEDTalk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006. The most popular words framing blog posts about it: “Everyone should watch this.”

He argues that we don’t get the best out of people because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies – far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity – are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

A visionary cultural leader, Sir Ken led the British government’s 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements.

His second TEDTalk builds on his argument.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything“, a deep look at human creativity and education, was published in January 2009.

Best wishes

Graham Wilson – 07785 222380

PS My previous Business Book of the Week was Future Minds: How The Digital Age is Changing Our Minds, Why This Matters and What We Can Do About It by Richard Watson (30/10/10) – Helping leaders see situations, organisations, themselves and others, differently – Motivation and advice for senior executives exploring new opportunities

London (W1 & EC3) – Oxford (OX2) – skype

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