Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Stop Stealing Dreams

Rate this book
The economy has changed, probably forever.

School hasn't.

School was invented to create a constant stream of compliant factory workers to the growing businesses of the 1900s. It continues to do an excellent job at achieving this goal, but it's not a goal we need to achieve any longer.

In this 30,000 word manifesto, I imagine a different set of goals and start (I hope) a discussion about how we can reach them. One thing is certain: if we keep doing what we've been doing, we're going to keep getting what we've been getting.

Our kids are too important to sacrifice to the status quo.

- Seth Godin

98 pages, ebook

First published February 27, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Seth Godin

223 books5,762 followers
Seth Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change.

Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, and he is also a renowned speaker. He was recently chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next Century by Successful Meetings and is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses.

Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the industry's leading interactive direct marketing company, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998.

He holds an MBA from Stanford, and was called "the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age" by Business Week.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
357 (47%)
4 stars
268 (35%)
3 stars
99 (13%)
2 stars
28 (3%)
1 star
5 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 108 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Emmett.
131 reviews29 followers
December 18, 2012
Really great book about how we should be changing school to address the needs of the future, not the needs of the past.

I found myself highlighting a ton of lines from this book, here's a few of the ones that best capture the overall theme:

"Factories didn’t happen because there were schools; schools happened because there were factories."
"Teaching is no longer about delivering facts that are unavailable in any other format. "
"Learning is not done to you. Learning is something you choose to do."
"If we can’t (or won’t, or don’t want to) win the race to the bottom, perhaps we could seriously invest in the race to the top."

Well worth the read if you have children, or care about the future (that makes everyone, right?)
Profile Image for Auden Granger.
84 reviews
July 8, 2014
Hey, Seth Godin, I appreciate that you're angry and you want to inspire change. I'm also angry, and I also want to inspire change. I relate. But throwing out platitudes is pretty useless if you can't also through out potential solutions. And I'm more than a little tired of your sense of superiority, misunderstanding of the actual nature of the examples you use, and broad generalizations of the current use of technology (hello, YouTube is actually for more than cat videos, and Kahn Academy, which you reference frequently as a shining pillar of flipped-classroom education, is a wonderful example of that). Cite your sources. Tell us where your information comes from, where you're drawing your conclusions from, instead of just telling us that you're drawing them. Drop the "kids these days! back in my day, we..." attitude that excuses institutionalized oppression and supports a further distinction of opportunities based on class. Stop ignoring the impact of race, poverty, gender, and other similar factors on the achievement of higher education and getting "a good job." Stop treating students like they don't have any agency in the current educational system and behaving like flipped classrooms are perfect and being 'dumb' is only a result of being lazy and not seeking out information, and not also as a result of a wide variety of extenuating circumstances. Educational reform is important, and there are a lot of ways to go about it. You present none of them, and act like your pretentious self-satisfaction makes you an expert in changing the world.
Profile Image for Laura.
382 reviews2 followers
July 29, 2016
Great free ebook that pretty much synopsis all my thoughts on education. I feel like the book could have came from my brain. :)

Favorite Quotes: "The fork in this road is ever more pronounced because there’s now so much more to choose from. A citizen can spend his spare time getting smarter, more motivated, and more involved, or he can tune out, drop out, and entertain himself into a stupor. The same devices deliver either or both from the online ether—and the choice that people make is one that’s going to develop early, based on the expectations of our teachers and the standards of our peers."

"When access to information was limited, we needed to load students up with facts. Now, when we have no scarcity of facts or the access to them, we need to load them up with understanding."

Profile Image for Brent Mair.
264 reviews6 followers
May 27, 2012
In this manifesto Seth Godin does a pretty good job of convincing me of the problems of public education and the attitude of Americans. I was likely convinced prior to reading this but the examples helped me solidify my position. What is really missing from this document is the how. Education must change and will change as people find themselves ill equipped to get jobs. Most will also be ill prepared to make their own way in the world without an employer.

It is clear to me that I need to help myself, my kids, and those I interact with better prepared to develop skills that will stand out. I understand what I need to do as an individual. From a society's view are we to wait until the Education Crash which ultimately will happen? We wait until society forces an education change based on the lack of low-entry jobs?

301 reviews3 followers
October 23, 2020
Viimased ajad on mind kokku viinud teatud tüüpi inimestega. Sagedamini, kui ma seda tahaksin. Ma ei tea, kas neid nimetada lillelapsed, vasakpoolsed intellektuaalid, unistajad, hipsterid...
Inimesed, kelle mõtteid kuulates ahmid õhku- kui eluvõõras võib üks inimene olla.

Aga selliseid on vaja. Kui ka vaid 5% nende ideedest ja unistustest on mingil kujul realiseeritavad, siis ka see on hea.
Mulle meeldib unistada ja ma olen selle vajalikkusest oma blogis ka korduvalt kirjutanud. Seega, asusin ma lugema väga suurte ootustega.

Seth Godin, nagu ka alguses mainitud eesti inimesed, teevad kõik liiga intelligentsete inimeste tüüpilise vea.
Nad unustavad, et kõik inimesed ei ole nagu nemad. Intelligentsus peaks andma empaatiavõime. Aga mingil põhjusel elatakse oma väikeses armsas maailmas. Ja ei minda Eesti populaarseimasse jaeketti Maxima, näiteks. Et tajuda maailma erinevaid tahke. Seda, kui erinevad on inimesed ja nende vajadused. (http://indigoaalane.blogspot.com/2020...)

Tahtes vabadust ja võrdsust ja paremat palka, toitu, töötingimusi, haridust jne kõigile, siis paradoksaalselt on see egalitaarne soov tegelikult elitaarne.
Soovides, et kogu maailma rahvas saaks juua puhast vett, hingata puhast õhku ja süüa mahetoitu, peame me lisaks Marsile okupeerima veel päris mitu planeeti. Sest ressursse ei jagu, meid on liiga palju. Ning kui just päris kommunism kohale ei jõua, siis piiratud ressurssidele tekib väärtus, mida jaksavad kinni maksta need, kel omakorda suuremad ressursid.
Sama on ka haridusega. Lisaks hariduse andjale ja piiratud rahalistele võimalustele, on valemis ka hariduse vastuvõtja. Ja nende vastuvõtjate ressursid ja võimed on erinevad. Väärtushinnangud, kodu, usk, ajalugu, EQ ja IQ on erinevad.

Loe edasi
Profile Image for Ana.
628 reviews83 followers
March 27, 2016
What a great, interesting, thought-provoking book. Even if I already agreed and have even put in practice some of the ideas discussed here, I still found a great deal of food for thought in it, as well as some hope that things (in education) will change. Meanwhile, as the book so well cites, “The best way to complain is to make things” (James Murphy).
This book is available online for free at http://www.sethgodin.com/---/stopstea... - I highly recommend it to everyone.
Profile Image for Jeri Walker.
Author 1 book138 followers
April 13, 2012
In my daily perusal of online articles a while ago, I came across Seth Godin’s education manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams (what is school for?). The free 30,000 word eBook serves as the beginning of the most basic conversation that needs to occur regarding America’s public education system. Much of Godin’s thoughts reflect my own. I recently left the classroom in order to reassess my career path. The purpose that school currently serves in our society is the reason why I must take a break if I am to remain a good teacher.

Seth Godin’s education manifesto opens with a Bob Dylan quote, “If you don’t underestimate me, I won’t underestimate you.” Those lines ring so true. Public education consistently underestimates student potential. It’s no wonder why pupils of today and yesterday typically describe school as boring. My experience was no different. Yet some level of intrinsic motivation kept me engaged with the learning process. For whatever reason, I actually cared about learning.

Godin touches on the irony that true creative thinkers usually end up that way in spite of school. As a teacher, I can attest to student lack of care and motivation, but their apathy shouldn’t surprise anyone. And yes, you can blame the teachers, but blame each and every single other influence as well! The same goes for a college education. I feel I turned out to be a creative, caring teacher in spite of my certification program. Then I gave it my all for six years until I reached my breaking point.

The dedication of Godin’s education manifesto goes out to “every teacher who cares enough to change the system, and to every student brave enough to stand up and speak out.” What price will have to be paid? I’ve already blogged about the time and pay of teaching English and how I can’t stomach the martyr syndrome that so many teachers seem to accept. Much of my dissatisfaction with teaching stems from the phony model of learning where many teachers still continue to present the learning process as a smooth process, which in turn makes students feel so hopelessly dumb.

Godin sweeps a broad stroke over many pressing education issues. He asks the questions that matter. But will education reform efforts ask those same questions? By and large, the public is not concerned with the history of school; they just know the system isn’t working, but they don’t want to take responsibility for their role in creating and sustaining the problem. How can we expect a school system that started during the industrial revolution with the purpose of making competent and obedient workers to create the types of minds that today’s world demands?

Godin’s example about Legos’ shift from selling buckets of various sized building blocks that a child could make into anything, to selling model kits is so indicative of the goals of today’s schools. As a society we are all trained to be told exactly what to do and how to do it. Lesson plans and projects have become tortuous exercises in step-by-step instructions. Standardized testing feeds into the belief that there is always one right answer. The alternative is to completely revolutionize school, not just make small tweaks. Experts must decide how to best engage students and change schools, but the experts don’t have the power to do so.

At least Godin posed that simple question: What is school for? I’ll be the first to admit I’m fed-up with the mindlessness of the classroom. What are you fed up with? How would you make school different?
Profile Image for J. Aleksandr Wootton.
Author 5 books130 followers
July 2, 2012
This is a very important read (and I don't say that because the chapters on college echo - only in the sense that I published first - my blog.)

The crux of Godin's argument is that the K-12 public school system is NOT failing, it is succeeding - at preparing students for jobs at factories and other companies modeled around the Industrial Revolution's so-called "Scientific Management" theory, which is what public school was originally created to do. Obviously this mindset is incompatible with today's post-industrial economy, and is responsible for the vast majority of "failings" in the education system. The problem, as usual, is one of premise.

This insight not only succinctly describes the essential problem, it also implies the essential solution, and Seth elaborates on both sides of that equation for almost 200 [easy-to-read, occasionally repetitive] pages.

There's a moral component to all of this too, identified by Eugene Schwarz (among others) over 40 years ago in his book "Overskill", but mentioned only briefly by Seth: "Scientific Management" theory, which tries as much as possible to isolate and transform workers into easily interchangeable single-function components of a much larger mass-producing whole, is dehumanizing. It is fundamentally unethical.

Now that it's no longer rewarded economically, perhaps we can finally start to move in the right direction.
2,346 reviews31 followers
April 20, 2018
Godin published a series of blog-like posts in which he shares his vision for public education. It is a layperson's idealistic hope. The reality is that Godin has a surface understanding of education.

It is easy to look at the results of the system and proclaim there is a problem. Godin pronounces that that is because education is set up merely to produce workers for society. Not that is incorrect, but he then hammers the system at every turn for it. There is to be no rote memorization he claims. Sounds great not to indoctrinate our children as the stereotypical Soviet society once did. But the tablet I read the book on and this web site I write the review on were created by those who learned multiplication through rote memorization. Are we sure there is never a role for it?

Godin writes from a clearly lofty position. He chides boarding schools as "fancy". He claims that schools should teach courses such as " How big is Earth?" He wants public libraries to be digital data centers. Of course, he does not address whether the public desires to pay for such whimsy.

It's not as though the book does not cause thinking; it does. I think Godin presented a case for overhauling higher education well.

This is no must-read, but it is interesting and doesn't require much work on the part of the reader other than using a poor app in order to read it (Book Swap).
Profile Image for Filip.
75 reviews16 followers
March 14, 2012
I originally planned to do a full-blown review, discussing the points Seth Godin made, and even though I managed to whip together the beginning of what would seem to be a coherent whole, I won't do it this time. There are just too many to be addressed.

Do you believe that traditional schools are still relevant?
Do you believe that you will get all the education you need within the institutional walls?
Do you believe in a set path, jobs, and everything your parents told you?
Do you think that there should be less passion in your life because there are some things that you just "have" to do, and there should be no "why"?

Read this book. Now.

I vow to never be a part of this madness and to blaze my own trail doing what I sincerely love, embracing the connection and self educational possibilities of this day and age - not mourning and dwelling upon yesterday's news.

"Our dream for our kids, the dream of 1960 and 1970 and even 1980, is for the
successful student, the famous college, and the good job.
Our dream for our kids
is the nice house and the happy family and the steady career. And the ticket for
all that is good grades, excellent comportment, and a famous college.

And now that dream is gone. Our dream. But it’s not clear that our dream really

There’s a different dream available, one that’s actually closer to who we are as humans, that’s more exciting and significantly more likely to affect the
world in a positive way."

Profile Image for Jeff Short.
534 reviews11 followers
March 19, 2012
Seth Godin is a stimulating thinker and writer. He writes with the view that his book isn't the end, rather it is the start of a conversation. He doesn't write to give the "final answer," but rather to make sure you don't think you have asked the "final question" on the subject.

His latest manifesto centers around education. He raises necessary questions about the system of education while looking back to see how we got here. Godin doesn't try to answer all the questions or solve all the problems. He recognizes that changing the system would take at least one generation. So, he pushes all of us to pick ourselves and change our education now.

I certainly don't agree with all the solutions he points toward and some of the ideas are raw and need a lot of work. Godin doesn't really address the spiritual and moral dynamics to the education question. His treatment of the history of schooling also neglects these aspects. As a Christian, I am concerned about faith in all aspects of life. Nevertheless, I am glad somebody is raising the questions in the public arena.

I highly recommend this ebook. It will provoke you to thought and hopefully even some action.
Profile Image for Byron.
Author 9 books98 followers
March 13, 2012
I can see why this has such a high rating despite the fact that it's so haphazardly thrown together. The information in it is devastating. The closer you are to having been in school and the less accomplished you are, the more difficult it is to read. I could hardly finish it, and I've been out of school for upwards of 10 years! Godin breaks down how schools got to be so fucked the fuck up. Education adapts to industry, not vice versa. The system we have was created to produce workers for factories in the 19th century. To the extent that it has changed it's been to produce workers for service industry jobs like Wal-Mart. If you spent 20 years in school and $100,000 to go to college and you ended up making $8/hr, the system didn't fail. It did exactly what it was set up to do. As is the case with these books, there's no magic bullet fix in Stop Stealing Dreams, but it does have some useful tips kids can use to avoid having their lives ruined by school. If only he could have written this book 20 years ago.
Profile Image for Jarkko Laine.
667 reviews22 followers
March 3, 2012
First of all, this book is an important discussion opener. The world has definitely changed since the times when our school systems were created, and I too have noticed that schools are focusing on all the wrong things (sitting quietly, obeying the teacher, and so on) instead of what really matters (curiosity, passion for learning, how to think). I agree with Godin once again and highly recommend this book for anyone with any interest for education (this should be all of us, right).

But the book is not without flaws either: It's too long and repetitive. Two thirds of the pages would have been enough to share the idea. Now, I noticed myself skipping through pages as I felt that I had already read the same ideas a few pages earlier. And what was that thing about Galileo being asked to be a visiting professor at Harvard? (A minor mistake, I admit, but I wouldn't have expected that one...).
26 reviews2 followers
May 26, 2012
There are a lot of true statements in this, and a lot of things to make you think. As a public school teacher, I think reform is long overdue, but reform is only part of the answer.

The future may not be as tied up in collaboration as some think. Some of the recent predictions of the past have turned out to be wrong, often due to unforeseen technical advances. What is needed is a basic digital liberal arts background, that prepares students to go in whatever direction their passions take them. That requires major changes to high school curriculum, a place where even minor change takes years. While I would love to see it, the thing to do is teach these skills within the framework of the state-mandated courses. It's a challenge, but it's not impossible.
Profile Image for Maria Miaoulis.
379 reviews
January 31, 2013
As usual, Seth gets you to question everything you think you know. This time, he challenges the old-fashioned and out-of-date US school curriculum. Sure, the system works in the sense that it produces factory workers - in other words, kids who are taught to keep their heads down, follow the rules and take direction from others. Unfortunately, the job market is no longer looking for compliant employees who can't think for themselves. Companies want individuals who lead and innovate which means if things continue the way they have been, a lot of people will find themselves falling behind before they even get started. Overall, a quick and thought-provoking read that will make you see things much differently.
Profile Image for Malia Walter.
24 reviews
July 17, 2014
Reading this, I found myself alternating between agreeing with a significant amount of what Godin had to say and wanting to defend my career as an educator. Yes, the system needs changing. Yes, we are sending very few thoughtful adults out into the world. On the other hand, I, as a teacher, am being held hostage to the requirements of the system. How can I possibly change it? And then I thought...how can I challenge the system and produce students that do think and challenge and create while staying within the parameters I am bound to? Godin made his point and offered multiple points for further thought.
Profile Image for Joao Trindade.
64 reviews3 followers
March 27, 2015
Raises key questions on the current education system.

The approach of the book is impeccable. It follows the Socratic method, by questioning:

* What do we want from education
* Why do we want that
* What are we getting

The only fault I can point is never questioning the interference of the state on education.
Profile Image for Stephen Lake.
170 reviews7 followers
June 19, 2017
An aphoristic jeremiad against the flaws in the modern American educational system. I think I agree with more of Godin's *prescriptions* than his *critiques* or *diagnoses*, because having been an educator for most of my adult life, I often saw through the caricatures and hyperbole he aimed at the status quo. Godin seems fundamentally right, though, that American educational institutions must inculcate better the desires to learn and problem solve, with insight and creativity. We are obsessed with obsolete metrics like SAT and GPA, and not asking what education truly is for, then crafting curricula and institutions to produce it. Also, since the advent of the industrial economy we have not improved in our ability to teach people how to judge things well, create new things well, solve problems well and, ultimately, live life well. If the schools of the future can, then we shall witness a renaissance of our culture not unlike the Renaissance and as dramatic as the Internet age itself. That Godin wants to provoke such a renaissance makes this bunch of curious blog posts a worthy read.
Profile Image for Stiltzkin Vanserine.
366 reviews6 followers
December 13, 2020
Seth Godin's writing style is succinct and sharp, much like some eye-catching articles one can find on the Internet. However, the difference lies in the fact that there's true wisdom in his words.

The school system is flawed and outdated, and Godin explains why in this manifesto. His arguments are insightful and compelling. Students these days go through college racking up tons of debt, and there's no guarantee that they'll find a job that pays handsomely. The current education model originates from the 1920s, but didn't evolve and keep up with the technological progress and cultural shifts. Our education system needs a total makeover.

The part where Godin wrote about reading (or lack thereof) resonated with me deeply. Turns out a lot of people, after graduating, never read another book (for fun) for the rest of their lives. Since most of us are forced to read during our formative years and gained the habit of viewing reading as a means to an end, is this result surprising at all?

Reading shouldn't be a means to an end; reading is the end.
Profile Image for Samuel Matteo.
20 reviews
September 22, 2021
DNEnrol in higher Ed til reading this. American perspective but applies across the anglo-world for sure. incredible opportunities to build your own thing/environment/successes/failures/ecosystems

whatre you doing and why
how're you learning and what?

step back and look at what educations for, where it came from and why. will help you refocus your here & now

important reading for anyone plotting and planning their current/future course
Profile Image for Stanley Turner.
476 reviews6 followers
October 11, 2018
I have read many of Seth’s work and this is pretty much like those earlier ones, excellent. I may not agree with all his ideas about changing our schools, but we both agree 100% that something needs to be changed for the sake of our children. Continuing with the same education system we have is killing our nation...
Profile Image for Harshdeep.
60 reviews3 followers
November 28, 2020
First 75% of book where Seth gives good set of insights about what's lacking in school and what to expect and what not to expect from the school.

Then onwards, he started promoting his courses and what not. Probably that's why book is free.

Anyways, it certainly helped expanding vision for appreciate expectations with the school.
50 reviews1 follower
December 28, 2017
This manifesto definitely encourages the reader to look at things regarding school and the school system in a way that is contrary to that which is traditionally taught. A read that gets you thinking.
Profile Image for Makhtar DIOP.
8 reviews
March 13, 2021
Like a manifesto for project-driven students centered learning platform. A requiem on what don't work in the world education system and how it is driven by the dying or already dead industrial complex.
Profile Image for Luke H.
6 reviews17 followers
June 3, 2021
You may not completely agree with Godin's take on the foundations of our education system (more accurately the American system), but what is clear is how fresh and insightful this perspective on education is.

A book that anyone who educates or learns in any capacity should read.
84 reviews2 followers
January 22, 2019
Encourages the power of thinking, instead of chasing useless objectives. His call to action for meaningful work and education is one that I thoroughly live by and love.

Profile Image for J.
159 reviews14 followers
August 17, 2019
somewhat interesting, glad it was free
4 reviews
January 2, 2020
Thought provoking, challenging a must read for anyone with school aged children
Profile Image for Andres Triviño.
26 reviews
June 11, 2020
Excelete, muchas ideas acerca de la educacion, de su pasado , presente y lo que se vienen en el futuro debido al mundo digitalizado.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 108 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.