Review of the book: The Element. A New View of Human Capacity

The Element: A New View of Human CapacityThe Element: A New View of Human Capacity by Ken Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve heard about this book for the first time when my sister sent me a video. A recommend this video strongly. You’ll get a big picture about what the author wanted to say in less than 20 minutes.

The book is full of information and above all full of stories about the people who found their element. Have you found yours? You will need to pass (or already have) personal, social, and cultural “circles of constraints”.

If you want to find your element, you will need to pass your personal, social, and cultural “circles of constraints”. +Ken Robinson

So, what is the way to become so lucky as some people are? Lucky people tend to:

  • maximize chance opportunities;
  • listen to their intuition;
  • expect to be lucky;
  • have an attitude that allows them to turn bad luck into good.

Ken Robinson is really brilliant in writing complex things easy. And he is writing about complex things. Joining together the past, the present and proposing what should we do for the better our future and the future of our kids. He says that our kids will very likely have multiple careers not only multiple jobs. He is convinced that there are two mayor drivers of change: technology and demography.

Then he just mentions the intuition. I guess it influenced me in such a power that I decided this is going to be my word for 2010. Yes its true, by tasting, touching, smelling, seeing and hearing we do all those rational and a bit less rational things. I know for me at least I have to learn to trust to my intuition more.

It is more important to ask yourself how are you intelligent and NOT how intelligent are you. +Ken Robinson

What do you think is important to ask?

The first question is wrong (just in case if you are not going to read this book). Because “intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinctive”. And also: no, it’s not true, that we can be very intelligent and not very creative and vice versa. This is definitely possible. Author has numerous cases about it. One that was very funny to me. When Richard Branson, at the age of sixteen, decided to quit school one of his teachers commented: “By the time he is twenty-one, Richard will either be in jail or be a millionaire, and I have no idea which it will be.” We all know what happened. But, I at least, didn’t know, that R. Branson has a dyslexia. This, among other caused him serious difficulties understanding math. So, he could not quite understand the difference between net and gross profit. Once at a board meeting, his director of finance took him aside and said, “Richard, think of it this way: if you go fishing and throw a net into the sea, everything you catch in the net is yours to keep. That’s yours ‘net’ profit. Everything else is the gross.”

“Finally,” Richard said, “I got the difference.”

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. +Ken Robinson

So, it’s important to think how are you intelligent. To find your element. And what is the creativity? “The process of having original ideas that have value.”, says author. Creative teams are diverse (different sort of people), dynamic (using their differences as strengths) and distinct (they do something specific, it’s not a committee). And if you are not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never produce anything original. This one is particularly funny: someone wears a T-shirt that said, “If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?” Do you agree? Probably.

We should think about the world around us in a wide variety of ways. Yes, this is what I needed to know. Because the list of my interests is very long. And by changing our minds, we can change our life.

Some other information that I liked:

  • Alan Freed coined the term rock and roll in 1955.
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “If you want to change the world, who do you begin with, yourself or others?” I know the answer, what about you?
  • Michelangelo, “The greatest danger for must of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

So, aim high!

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Marko Savić Linkedin profile

Marko Savić
I’m raising awareness on design thinking and business model innovation. Meet me in person at my next workshop. Don’t forget to follow this blog RSS feed or interact with me on Twitter.

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