Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns” as Want to Read:
Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,832 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Selected as one of the "Best Books on Innovation, 2008" by "BusinessWeek" magazine

Named the "Best Human-Capital Book of 2008" by "Strategy + Business" magazine

A crash course in the business of learning-from the bestselling author of "The Innovator's Dilemma" and "The Innovator's Solution."..

"Provocatively titled, "Disrupting Class" is just what America's K-12 education sys
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by McGraw-Hill (first published May 14th 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,832 ratings  ·  206 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns
Leah Sciabarrasi
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
Strange to be reading this book, whose theme is built on the foundation that instruction needs to be highly individualized because students learn differently, right after Why Students Don't Like School which makes it clear that everyone learns in basically the same way. In Disrupting Class, Christensen briefly cites Gardner, and moves on. In the latter book author Daniel Willingham, a cognitive psychologist, thoroughly backs up the statement that we all learn in essentially the same way, debunki ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, education
Absolutely terrible. The one thing I learned from this book: If you're going to write a book about the American educational system and how to "fix" it, make sure you learn how it currently works. Otherwise, you end up looking like an idiot. ...more
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
There is an idea I've been hearing over and over again in many different contexts, and this book brings it up again in the context of education.

It has been said that there is no perfect Pasta Sauce.... For years the companies that produce past sauce had been trying to perfect the single perfect pasta sauce through extensive research and taste testings, and to then market it accordingly. Of course, we not realize that there are, in fact, three! Regular, Spicy, and Extra Chunky. A full third of t
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
REALLY liked it! And so I remember them in their words, here are their 5 major messages in the book (which they sourced with great stories and studies):

1. Few reforms have address the root cause of students' inability to learn. And most attempts have not been guided by an understanding of the root reasons for why the system functions as it does or how to predictably introduce innovation into it. Without this guidance, we've been destined to struggle. This also means, however, that we now have an
Vicki Davis
Oct 22, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a very good book until the last chapter where it seems to draw a conclusion that the only way to fix education is with charter school type approaches. For example, we could all have a perfect house with an unlimited budget to build a new one but eventually it would show faults! We can't just build new houses. Although Hercules cleaned out the Agean stables- if they didn't remedy their ways it would fill up with filth again. Sometimes we don't step out of the box- we create new boxes! Per ...more
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
There's some outstanding stuff in here, but it's surrounded by an awful lot of hand waving. ...more
Maliza 4cambodia
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was ok

My notes while reading parts of the book.
The book gave a great chapter preview that helped me understand the book.

Chapter 1- gave Gardner’s multiple intelligences - I am linguistic and intrapersonal. And talked about project based learning as highly motivating because students can synthesize what they are learning .
The chapter talked about the challenges with standardization that was inspired by efficient factory systems that emerged in industrial america. As well as teachers who desire to tea
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book about ten years ago and I think much more of it went over my head the first time. It helps that some of the predictions have played out and I've seen them in real life, and I've learned more about these concepts from other sources, so this was a good way to summarize again in my own head what I've learned and experienced.

I skimmed the cheesy stories at the beginning of each chapter and most of the business examples because I'm already familiar with Clayton's disruptive innovatio
Nov 04, 2013 added it
I want to preface this comment by saying that “Disrupting Class” by Christensen, Horn, and Johnson does a good job of pointing out flaws in our current education system and proposing alternate solutions. For the most part, I agreed with the points they were making. However, I want to center this review on one quote from their book that I believe represents a major flaw in their proposed course of action:

“Innovative chartered schools should be attempts to match school types to fit students’ circ
Apr 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Clayton Christensen offers a believable and intuitive approach to fixing our staggering American educational system. In a nutshell: people learn in different ways (no surprise here; it's a well-documented theory). Teachers too often teach one way (or two or three--the point being, teachers standardize. I understand. I've been a teacher most of my life. One of us and many of them in a classroom). His solution: Use 21st century technology and Web 2.0 to individualize lessons to suit needs.

That's w
Brent Wilson
Sep 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Good exposition of Christensen's "disruptive innovation" theory - explaining how initially annoying products grow to take over markets and throw out older established companies. This book applies the theory to schools and education, with mixed success.

I got the clear impression that these authors were outsiders to the culture and complexity of schools and educational theory. So it's great to have their theory applied to the problem, but a little shaky in the details. For example, they say that "
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating look at disruptive innovation in education

The very real value of this useful and, at times, pleasantly surprising book comes from the way the authors apply their expertise in innovation to the field of education. By approaching public education’s crisis with new eyes – and conceptualizing education as a product or service like any other – Clayton M. Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma), Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson provide insights that escape the tired loops of argument th
Mar 31, 2012 marked it as to-read
I heard him speak on this issue in March 2012 and he made me see teaching in a new way. Some of his most memorable insights are:

"Online learning is a technological core that can take education into a higher market"

“In higher ed, there wasn't disruption until now because colleges moving up emulated those above. Online learning changes this."

“What's going on in the low end of education today (online learning) is tomorrow's (system of) education."

"If you're trying to deploy a new technology in the
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'd actually give this book a 3 because it's business-speak, a style of writing I loathe; but if I do that, no one will read it. Full of useful, common-sensical observations and some excellent suggestions for radically altering US schools (they use the word "revolutionize," though I refuse to; their ideas are good but not THAT good), they advocate school change through computer technology and, more importantly, by applying the lessons of change in the computer industry. What I can't tell is whet ...more
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
The authors posit that the reason why traditional schooling fails so many is that by nature, the structure of schools encourage standardization rather than customization (and customization is what produces truly effective learning environments). Using available data, they predict that in the next 10-12 years fully half of all high schoolers will attend classes online in order to maximize the marketplace's ability to offer them opportunities not available in the traditional face-to-face format. T ...more
Josh Steimle
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book isn't just about fixing the educational system, it's about how the educational system will be fixed. It's not so much a question of if, but when, because it's inevitable. The question is whether you want to fight the transition or ride the wave and help it along, because although people will be fighting it, thinking that it's a bad thing, in the long run it's going to be good for teachers, administrators, politicians, entrepreneurs, parents, and especially students. If you're involved ...more
Elaine Roberts
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Even bought it for my team because I believed it would give them some insight into some of the current thinking and movements in K-12 education. The book discussion went well and we've expanded that discussion to other groups in the company. I'm hoping there will be continuing reverb as we think about what moved us in this book. ...more
Long time ago, when I was in the credential program my main professor advised my class to never substitute and not to read anything to do with education. She believed that we were all able to get employment therefore we should not settle for a substitute job. When it came to reading educational related materials, she said that for the most part we would be disappointed in the reading, mad about the reading but most of all dishearten because most writers on education paint a dark picture that wou ...more
Arfan Ismail
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
For those of us who have spent time working in the private sector there's always the question of how relevant standard industry business concepts are to the education sector. Well this book tries to present at answer. Clayton Christensen is well known for his work on innovation and disruptive technology. His basic thesis is that disruption occurs in every industry so education should be no different. There are a number of reservations with this approach. First and foremost education generally se ...more
Jeni Enjaian
I have many thoughts and opinions about this book related to Christensen's view of education and his overall knowledge of education but I will limit myself since such a rant would likely exceed the character limit.
It is clear from the beginning that Christensen knows almost nothing about how a classroom operates much less an entire educational system. He spends the majority of the book waxing eloquent about the benefit of disruptive innovations, supplementing this eloquence with examples from t
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Two stars is generous.
Christensen starts out by talking about Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, and posits that the next big thing in education will be software that can give each student a learning experience that is tailored to their individual learning styles. He makes some big assumptions about where that kind of technology and breadth of curriculum will come from. In fact, he doesn't have any guesses about where those things will come from. He is just confident that they will show u
Vincent Tsao
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Christensen applies the learnings from Innovator's Dilemma to the education system in the US. Overall, the book does a good job of laying out 1) the history of education that has led us to the current emphasis on standardization, 2) the structural challenges against reform, 3) differences in learning styles, 4) how to drive disruption, and 5) why innovation in other industries provides a roadmap for education. Driving student-centered learning is at the crux of the proposed disruption, and techn ...more
Mark Gazica
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that has a bunch of words but not much to say. Publishers need to stop publishing books that could just have easily (and often more effectively) been a long form paper or article. The authors of this book have a valid premise (i.e. not all children learn the same way, technology is not being properly applied to education, the market economy can't permeate the barriers of education, etc.) but it gets lost in a bunch of business jargon repurposed from one of the author's ...more
Trent Mikesell
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm distrustful of people in business who want to provide solutions to education. We already get plenty of ideas and solutions from people who have never worked in education. And, no, despite popular belief, having attended high school does not give you any knowledge about how to improve education. That said, I think he has some good ideas here. He is also very complimentary to teachers and acknowledges labeling them as the problem will only backfire. I actually see a lot of this disruptive educ ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting thoughts about student-centric learning and the future of technology in classes. One shocking thought was that with a “flipped classroom” as students learn in videos online at home and review with peers/teachers at school, there is actually a possibility of much larger classes as schools take advantage of the blended learning model. Other topics included leadership tools to create change, explicitly teaching students the habits and systems they need to be successful, and educational ...more
Oct 09, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: slco-purchased
This book was first published in 2008, and I read in 2022 after the COVID-19 pandemic definitely disrupted education and shifted more learning online. So in a way, this book was prescient.

At the same time, while I generally enjoy Christensen's books and the concept of disruptive innovation, I don't know that we can solve education through the "what problem are students hiring schools to solve?" framework that is central to so many of Christensen's ideas. The consumer of education is more so the
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, education
Great book at helping to understand the changes needed in our academic approach. This is the application of Clayton Christensen's Disruptive Innovation to the educational approaches used in our schools. It helps me better understand how to teach, how to learn, and how to help others build curriculum in a way that will make a difference for those we teach. It also helped me to understand how our educational systems have not adapted to the changing needs of our youth and learners in general. ...more
Risto Hinno
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book really talks about disruption in education. Small innovations are already here, some of them will turn out to be really disruptive. In the beginning they will not be taken seriously but on one day tides have turned. I like how "job to be done" theory is applied to education. Things that happen in markets happen in education also. This gives nice backbone to the book and makes interpretation of facts much easier. ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a book worth reading. The reason: it raised and can prompt a lot of questions for us to think about how to innovate our education methods and system. The reason I give only a rating 3 is because it doesn’t provide too many answers. Maybe that is for us, the readers to think about. A good book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant
  • The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less
  • Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals
  • The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever -- And What to Do About It
  • In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
  • Business Model Generation
  • Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-And Revolutionized an Industry
  • Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems
  • Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives and What the World's Best Companies Are Learning from It
  • On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
  • The Montessori Toddler: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
  • Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
  • Balanced Scorecard Step-By-Step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining Results
  • Administracion Profesional De Proyectos La Guia
  • The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You
  • Business Writing: What Works, What Won't
  • Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don't
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Technology & Operations Management and General Management faculty groups. He is best known for his study of innovation in commercial enterprises. His first book, The Innovator's Dilemma, articulated his theory of disruptive technology.


Related Articles

Podcast junkies will know this already, but the audio format is a surprisingly great way to discover more about nearly any topic that catches...
47 likes · 6 comments
“Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation. The same is true for learning.” 15 likes
More quotes…