The Element is a popular personal development book about finding your element; the intersection of your natural talent and your personal passions. This book is often included on lists about creativity and while it features the stories of many creative people, it is not actually about creativity.
“The element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. The Element draws on the stories of a wide range of people, from ex-Beatle Paul McCartney to Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons; from Meg Ryan to Gillian Lynne, who choreographed the Broadway productions of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera; and from writer Arianna Huffington to renowned physicist Richard Feynman and 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 to 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 also an essential strategy for transforming education, business, and communities to meet the challenges of living and succeeding in the twenty-first century.“ (GoodReads)
The Element is much more about the education system; the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all system that can’t meet the needs of a varied and diverse society. Robinson shows us this by collecting the stories of creative and successful people who despite their problems fitting into the education system managed to find success and happiness in finding their element.
The stories are quite interesting. I especially enjoyed reading the earlier chapters. The book is very well written and Robinson is an interesting and humorous writer. Unfortunately, toward the end of the book I began to lose steam because I had different expectations of what this book was about.
It is an interesting and inspiring book, especially so if you’re interested in the education system and changing that system to suit an enlarged definition of intelligence.
This week the 2015 Man Booker Prize Longlist was released. This is my most anticipated lit prize of the year and you can be sure that the longlist will have a few gems on it. This year I’ve picked two books from the list that I expect to be really good.
The first is The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma. This novel stood out for me because of what Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries and Man Booker Prize winner, said about it: “Awesome in the true sense of the word…Few novels deserve to be called ‘mythic,’ but Chigozie Obioma’s The Fisherman is certainly one of them. A truly magnificent debut.” I’m sold. If that’s not enough for you then how about the New York Times saying: “Obioma truly is the heir to Achebe.” I must read this book! (GoodReads)
The second novel I chose from the MB longlist is The Chimes by Anna Smaill. This novel is set in “a reimagined London, in a world where people cannot form new memories, and the written word has been forbidden and destroyed. In the absence of both memory and writing is music.” Yes, please! The rest of the longlist will no doubt be taken apart by my fellow book bloggers so I’ll wait to hear what you all have to say before I pick anything else. (GoodReads)
New to my TBR is Visionmongers by David duChemin. This book comes highly recommended for those who want to take their photography into a more commercial direction. duChemin is said to be very readable; with a writing style that is both informative and enjoyable to read. Looking forward to this. (GoodReads)
I recently became aware of the books of John Brockman, publisher of edge.org, who poses a question to some of the greatest and most influential minds of our time and their answers become the subject matter of his books. The truth is I want to read them all. Check them out on GoodReads and you’ll see what I mean – interesting stuff! The book that makes this list is This Will Make You Smarter edited by John Brockman. The question Brockman poses for this book is “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” with contributions from Daniel Kahneman, Jonah Lehrer, Richard Dawkins, Aubrey De Grey, Steven Pinker, Daniel C. Dennett, Matt Ridley, and Brian Eno to name but a few. (GoodReads)
The last addition to my TBR this month is The Element by Ken Robinson. An oldie (originally published in 2000) but apparently a goodie for those looking to read into creativity and self-fulfillment. This book is about finding the point where your natural talent and personal passion intersects – finding your element. (GoodReads)
What are your thoughts? Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear about it – you might save me some time.