Updated: Dec 1, 2020


This has been a book I have wanted to read for a while. Ever since I watched Sir Ken Robinsons famous TED Talk in a year 9 Drama lesson, I have constantly been aware of the pushing down of the creative subjects within the education system. Now five years out of education, I found most of the topics mentioned within this book ones that I significantly related to.

I dived into this book hoping that it would give me all of the motivation I needed to find my 'element'. While it certainly gave me some clarity on what my element is, I found it to be more educational and interesting than inspiring - but that's by no means a bad thing.

The book starts with a handful of accounts of random, successful people, such as Matt Groening (the creator of the Simpsons) and their path to finding their element. As the book continues, Robinson delves deeper into the lives of a varying amount of people - from celebrities, entrepreneurs, athletes, and scientists, and mostly with one common thread - most of them didn't succeed whilst in school.

If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original.

This is something that makes up a great deal of the latter half of the book, and with an educational background, this was almost expected of Robinson. We delve into the history of standardised testing and their origins (turns out it was made for the military, not schools!), IQ tests and its dark history (people were actually sterilised for having a low IQ) and how the effects of standardised testing works, or doesn't, in modern life.

All in all, this forms the bulk of the book - that and Robinsons own experiences within the education system. And whilst it was certainly educational and interesting, it lacked the inspiration that I was hoping for - that wonder and optimism so well achieved in Sir Ken's famous TED Talk (you can watch Sir Ken's TED Talk here).

If you're looking for a good learning into the education system with a few celebrity stories thrown in, then this is for you, but if you're looking for this book to change your life, then I'd look elsewhere.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Kayleigh x