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Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World
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Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,968 ratings  ·  239 reviews
From a prominent educator, author, and founder of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group comes a provocative look at why innovation is today’s most essential real-world skill and what young people need from parents, teachers, and employers to become the innovators of America’s future.

IN THIS GROUNDBREAKING BOOK, education expert Tony Wagner provides a powerful rationale for dev
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Scribner
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Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
This book has an excellent premise, and the first few chapters of theory were useful. However, the title would better reflect the content if it were called, "Interviews with People Who Parented Innovators." I thought the content could have been better distilled and organized. While many of the people who were featured were interesting, I had to fight to finish this book.

The inclusion of QR codes seemed like an interesting idea, but it distracted highly from the reading. Perhaps for someone willi
Jul 08, 2012 added it
How did I do as an innovation creator? Very limited or no tv: check; lots of unstructured play: check; limited activities outside of school: check; encouraging my kids to do what they love and are passionate about: check; spending lots of cash on hoity toity private schools and perhaps even moving the WHOLE family for one kid's education at said hoity toity school: darn. Despite the lack of cash, I have to say that my children are amazingly creative and making a big difference in their chosen fi ...more
Jeff Bush
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Tony Wagner's new book is pretty good. It is worth reading and there is some good stuff in there, but I was a little disappointed after reading the "Global Achievement Gap," which was one of the best books I've ever read on education. I suppose disappointment was inevitable.

Wagner concludes that the creation of innovators demands passion, play, and purpose. Wagner also looks for examples in innovative schools and innovative teachers. The book is the next logical step after "The Global Achievemen
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Before you read this review please note that I read this book as someone who wants to learn more about building innovative environments for vendors and potential employees. I am not an educator.

Tony Wagner explains how we as mentors, leaders, parents and teachers need to improve the development of young, potential innovators in order to help solve prominent economic and social challenges. And I believe him. Innovation is needed in every industry.

In many respects, we're stifling youth development
"I asked [former CEO of Best Buy] Brad [Anderson] to give an example of how he has used his employees' knowledge to improve the overall customer experience, and he described how some of the younger employees had noticed that few women ever came into their stores. It turned out that many women were turned off by the technical talk about the number of megapixels in a digital camera, for example, when all they wanted to know was how to e-mail their friend a picture they'd taken."



Jun 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Follow your passion, repeat follow your passion, repeat again follow your passion. This may have been an interesting magazine length article, but as a book it is very repetitive and not all that insightful.
Oct 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Let's see how do you create innovators? According to Wagner it take three easy steps.
1: Be Wealthy. In almost all of the examples provided, the innovators came from middle-class to upper class backgrounds. If you want to learn about innovation, get insights about it, talk to CEOs, COOs, and other top executives of major companies.
2: Gain Exposure to the top Universities in the United States. Along those same lines, try and get into Harvard, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Emory, and the like to get the
I will keep this one short and sweet. I like the premise of the book, that being an innovator requires play, passion, and purpose. I agree wholeheartedly with the author's commentary about the poor state of modern education and the dangers of overparenting. I would recommend anyone interested in properly reforming education read this book.

"Anyone who has spent time in an elementary school classroom knows that every student starts school with unbounded imagination, curiosity, and creativity -
K.K. Wootton
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Can be a little redundant, but extremely interesting and informative. Highly recommend the enhanced ebook on iPad. The integration of videos is excellent. I wish, though, that the book examined students whose gifts were in the arts. The author addresses this omission in the introduction, claiming (I think) that the book simply had to be pared down. But there was redundancy in the book -- sections that served to drive home points that had already been well made. Without those redundancies, there ...more
Moayad Taibah
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: priority
This was one of the longest reads I've gone through recently, but I believe it was worth it.

Creating innovators is a window that peers into their lives at home, schools, and during their careers. Each of these phases had directed and affected them one way or the other molding them into what they are. Whether they innovated in STEM fields or social endeavors, you begin to see patterns in their upbringing, education, and self development that the author captures and explains in a concise and clear
Amanda Herzog
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Creativity+Passion > IQ
Helping my kids and myself explore the world and find what truly inspires them. Learning how to learn and enjoying the process and failure is a necessary life skill. Hopefully this will help our average IQ put a “ding” in the universe. Our traditional methods for education are out dated in an era with such easy access to information. We need more coaches in education facilitating action not lecturing. Let the internet know everything, show me what you can do with
Christina Gagliano
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The power of this book comes from the real-world experiences--written in a conversational and engaging way--of the young innovators and their parents, teachers, and mentors who have made/are making a difference, who are truly encouraging innovative thinking and inspiring students to follow their passions in a purposeful way. One of the most resounding quotes that in the book was from filmmaker Scott Rosenberg, on page 145: "I believe our job (as teachers/mentors/parents) is to look for the threa ...more
Megan Mkrtschjan
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
"I bought two acres of land in Sierra Leone a while ago I was thinking I wanted to build a school - a place where kids come and don't think it's a school - a place you want to come every day, where your day is about feeling your presence in he world, knowing that you control who you are, that you can influence others, but at the same time you are not different or removed from everybody else. "

"We have seen how essential it is for teachers of innovators to give up a measure of their authority and
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great book for any parent, teacher, employer or concerned citizen. There such a wide gap between the mindset of the academics in America and the mindset of the people leading successful businesses. A bleak future can be avoided if we can nurture a generation of innovative young people who are willing to take risks, learn from mistakes and collaborate with others. This book elaborates on the importance of Play, Passion and Purpose.
The author invested much effort to research the ideas put forth
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents, teachers
Shelves: learning
I liked the book and agree with the philosophy and lessons from people interviewed. I especially appreciated the more concrete lessons distilled from lots of interviews (e.g. on what specifically kids get from play and how to structure it so kids develop as innovators, or on elements of school design/environment that develops innovators). He could have done a better job at bringing everything together into one cohesive framework/hypothesis, but we probably just aren't that sophisticated as a soc ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was absolutely fascinating. It took a look at current education practices and showed how they are not producing innovative thinkers. I think my take-home message as far as helping my kids to be innovative thinkers is that they should have plenty of free playtime, should be exposed to a lot of different experiences as far as sports, trips, musical instruments,etc, and that we should encourage them to think for themselves and to problem-solve as creatively as possible early on.
Rob Cantrall
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read...both enlightening and eye-opening, with many profiles of young innovators (including the Product Manager of the first iPhone), this book already has us re-thinking what we want to do with the kids this summer. Beyond that, it has us reconsidering what we need to do relative to school and academia itself for our kids. Provocative, and a must read for any parent or educator.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is very inspiring! I am lucky to be able to teach in a school that isn't driven by test scores and gives kids a lot of freedom to pursue a passion for learning. I recommend this book for all parents and teachers who want to inspire their children to be a different kind of learner - one with passion, curiosity, insight, low fear of failure, drive, and the ability to think differently.
Billeen Carlson
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Another awesome book by Tony Wagner, one of the best minds in education today, details his extensive case studies in young innovators. From a teaching and parenting perspective, his insights into the key traits of raising and educating a kid who can take control of her life and make a difference in the world are priceless.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it
A bit repetitive and heavy on anecdotes of exceptional innovators from affluent households. I wish it were more concrete: here is the recipe. But that's probably because I'm a part of the system that quashes innovative thought, even as I desire to change it. Interesting ideas but I'm at a loss how to apply them.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Definitely gets readers to see concrete examples of students who are innovators and what type of education supports and constrains them! Wagner is a voice that should be listened to regarding how education (particularly secondary and post-secondary) needs to change.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work-reading
Engaging read-- has something to say for parents, teachers, and teacher educators. I found the most points of connection with the recommendations for higher ed-- how do we create opportunities for contemplation, play, and innovation more regularly than the every-seven-years sabbatical affords?
Craig T. Wood
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the subjects Wagner found. Through those conversations, he makes his point early and clearly. The rest of the book is filled with more and varied examples that prove out his hypothesis. I found this to be a helpful approach.
Duong Tan
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
For educators, this book is worth reading carefully and read it again dozen time.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some months back I went and had lunch with a friend who is also my former English teacher. Though officially retired, she is still heavily involved in my old high school and helps to mentor kids who are going through one of the charter schools that's now a school within the school. She had recently led a discussion group with parents of these students based on this book. I have just finished the book and I am so excited about it! It's just really gotten me thinking. When I mentioned it to a frie ...more
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it
"But here's the problem: It is often difficult in our society to 'act differently in order to think differently.' To do so requires radically altering our adult behaviours. When Dyer and Gregersen were interviewed in a blog about their research, Hal Gregersen talked about the loss of creative capacity. 'If you look at 4-year-olds, they are constantly asking questions and wondering how things work. But by the time they are 6 1/2 years old they stop asking questions because they quickly learn that ...more
Jul 01, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2015-16
For the November book club, I read Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People who will Change the World by Tony Wagner. While researching this topic, Wagner interviewed over 150 people, including young social and entrepreneurial innovators, as well as their parents, mentors, and role models within the STEM and humanities fields. Per Wagner, one of the most important factors in encouraging innovation in young people (which in this case is defined as the application of creative solutions to r ...more
Justine Camacho-Tajonera
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books
A Call to Reinvent Education

It took me a while to finish this book. However, it was worth reading. It talks about Passion, Play, and Purpose quite a lot. And what struck me was this statement by Robert A. Compton, in the Afterword, "Although expensive for our society, school was hardly a stirring experience." This was across the board of interviewees. Most of the young innovators thrived in spite of and not because of the school system. I saw this as a call to reinvent education. This will not b
Faviola Palos
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
The title of this book, "Creating Innovators," caught my eye immediately. As a kindergarten teacher, I have been searching for innovative ideas and technology tools to implement in my classroom. Knowing Tony Wagner's work and seen his TeD-talks, I was beyond excited to learn about his new findings. He wrote this book with research notes of several different interviews from innovators, parents, educators, business leaders, and intrapreneurs (self-made milliners). He incorporated the small videos ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: educational
The book was quick and easy to read. The main premise of the book is how to create an innovator, but as previous reviewers have need to have money. I agree with some of the included ideas...I also don't have TV in my home, my kids read one hour per day including summers, my kids participate in music activities, my kids participate in active/sports activities, and my kids get to play and be kids. Therefore, by the formula presented, my kids will be innovators! I found the cause and e ...more
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Tony Wagner recently accepted a position as the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. Prior to this, he was the founder and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for more than a decade.

Tony consults widely to schools, districts, and foundations around the country and internationally. His previous w

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November is the time for aspiring writers to get serious about writing that book! It's National Novel Writing Month, the annual event designed to...
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“most policy makers—and many school administrators—have absolutely no idea what kind of instruction is required to produce students who can think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, and collaborate versus merely score well on a test.” 2 likes
“another obstacle to educating innovators in universities is the lack of respect for interdisciplinary inquiry, practical knowledge, and applied learning. Discipline-based, in-depth knowledge is important, and basic research makes significant contributions to innovation. It is essential to our future that we continue to support this kind of inquiry, but this cannot—and must not—be the only kind of knowledge that is valued by our universities and our society.” 1 likes
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