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Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,120 ratings  ·  162 reviews
From two leading experts in education and entrepreneurship, an urgent call for the radical re-imagining of American education so that we better equip students for the realities of the twenty-first century economy.

Today more than ever, we prize academic achievement, pressuring our children to get into the “right” colleges, have the highest GPAs, and pursue advanced degrees.
Kindle Edition, 305 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Scribner
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Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, education
Man, I don't even know where to start with this one.

I went to graduate school almost 17 years ago, initially, where I earned my M.Ed in Secondary Education. This was a vocational degree: I studied the craft of teaching, and practiced in a classroom for a year before becoming a full time teacher, a job which I have held ever since. Four years into my career, I entered into a doctoral program and began to study--among other things--the philosophy of education. I had some excellent professors, and
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wagner had me at hello with his book Creating Innovators. When I attended his keynote presentation at a conference, I counted myself fortunate indeed. This book continues with the same ideas, but he also touches upon new topics.

While reading this book, I shouted many AMENS and fist pumped and smiled and moaned and said things to myself such as "that's exactly what I've been saying for years!" For example, I railed against Accelerated Reader years ago when it was first introduced; I spoke with m
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
There were many aspects of this book that really hit home with me. The chapter detailing the math skills students will need in real life contrasted with what they are expected to learn in school was especially interesting. However, the book spent too much time puffing itself up about the greatness of American innovation and how education needed to change for the sake of job security and national pride. The authors spoke about intrinsic motivation but in the same breath spoke of alternative manda ...more
Not a review - just notes.

Smoothly and compellingly written, though I do not agree with everything asserted by Wagner and Dintersmith. I absolutely love the dedication to America's teachers.

"We will see, however, that most lecture-based courses contribute nothing to real learning. Consequential and retained learning comes, to a very large extent, from applying knowledge to new situations or problems, research on questions and issues that students consider important, peer interaction, activities,
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, education
It's a strange sensation, a sort of cognitive dissonance almost, to read a book and agree wholeheartedly with the author's basic claim--that the way to improve education is to focus less on (temporary) rote memorization of discipline-specific content and more on transferable skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creative problem-solving--and yet be so viscerally irritated by so many of the individual points. Maybe it's the tone, which is kind of smug and superior. At on ...more
Jill Cherry
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a MUST READ for literally every single person in this country ages 14 and up.

We need to shift gears regarding our educational system. I have often wondered why so many children do so well in elementary school and then when entering middle school struggle so much and seem to lose interest. This book will help answer these questions and so many more.

Its time we step up to the plate and actually teach our children how to succeed in society and not just how to cram to take tests. We nee
Kathy Iwanicki
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I listened to this. Toward the end, I started to fast forward, as it was a lot of the same. Also, this was more geared toward high school and I teach elementary.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
This interview with Sean Carroll is a quintessential example of something this book discusses in detail—namely, the failure to prioritize pedagogy in academic circles, especially when it comes to granting academic tenure at prestigious universities: A Personal Narrative. Another perspective on the whole debacle—a furious testament to the absurdity of modern academia.

The erratic ('peer-driven'), research-focused process of granting tenure at selective US universities is unquestionably injuring u
Jonna Higgins-Freese
This was interesting, although I disagree with one of the central premises: "But while students may graduate with credentials, by and large they lack the competencies needed to be thoughtful, engaged citizens and to get good jobs in our rapidly evolving economy." This sounds to me like the myth debunked in Why Good People Can't Get Jobs [see full review elsewhere]:

"To recap, then, the hardest-to-fill jobs appear to be those that often require the least skills, employers are frequently unwilling
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book is really alarming and seems to be all too true. Our education system is about 75% worthless according to the premise and I certainly can't dispute it. What a waste of all the hard work being done much like gerbils running on a treadmill rather than students actually learning.

I do have trouble seeing how things can really change for the better due to the entrenched positions of educators and lobbying by advocates of testing, SATs, college admissions and long held beliefs even when they
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
The role of education is no longer to teach content, but to help our children learn—in a world that rewards the innovative and punishes the formulaic.
Our opportunity—and our obligation to our youth—is to reimagine our schools, and give all kids an education that will help them thrive in a world that values them for what they can do, not the facts that they know.

Ted Dintersmith and Tony Wagner argue that the current (American) education system is failing to prepare young people for a the futu
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was well-written and organized. The authors give compelling arguments for completely revamping the way we see education and our goals for our kids. I was already convinced of much of what they propose (get rid of standardized tests, focus on depth of learning and motivation) but I felt like they gave some reasons for these changes that I hadn't thought about before and that were very convincing. Their views on college and the options currently available to those who don't go to co ...more
Cindy Jacobsen
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is my 4th book for the 2017 Reading Challenge-a book with career advice. Every teacher, at any stage of their career should read this and rethink the classroom. Every district should watch the documentary that goes with this and start to reinvent "school". The American school is still following the plan created in the late 1800's to get a population ready for factory work. The world has changed yet "school" still plods along. A quote from the book that sums up all of the ideas and informati ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
If you're someone who cares deeply about education and kids, prepare to feel utterly depressed and helpless by reading this book. Yes, the last chapter holds more promise, and the authors DO hold up several models of schools that work--but, overall, I find the book to be pretty black and white (e.g., ALL educational models are failing and there's only ONE fix, etc.)

Well, maybe it's not as dire as I paint it. The authors do have plenty to say, and I'm afraid some of it is true. As I say, it's dep
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I hated this book at first, too much throwing out of the baby with the bath water. That's one of my least favorite things with this type of nonfiction; authors feel like in order to create a space for their argument they have to say that everything else is THE WORST! As a person who thrived in a traditional educational setting, I disagree with the notion that it's all horrible. As I got further into the book I liked it much better. I believe in innovation and changing with the times and making s ...more
Colby Williams
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This books goes deep and really exposes the truth and facts about what I have been ranting about for the last 10-12 years in regards to education.

The ideas and topics brought up in this book, in my opinion, are some of the MOST important things that parents, teachers, decision makers, and really anyone who cares about the future of our children should be required to read.

Very in depth while remaining interesting, this book goes deep into the topic of the problems with the current education syste
If you read one non-fiction book as an adult in the United States, (which, hopefully you read many more than that) THIS should be it.

It doesn't matter if you are a teacher, a parent, or neither of those things. If you care at all about the future of the country and of the youth in it, you need to read (or listen to) this book and seriously consider what the authors have to say, and then be an agent of change--in your workplace, in your community, in your children's schools. Wherever yo
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
While much of what Wagner and Dintersmith present is (again) based on anecdotes of select (highly gifted and/or highly privileged) millennials, this book has more practical suggestions and pathways as to how one can begin to reimagine and reinvent education in America than Creating Innovators. The good news is that local, small scale innovations can have far-reaching and powerful impact.
Allison Hogan
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
An intriguing read on the journey education. It mentions the past and where the United States and where we are now. I really enjoyed the last section of the book and how it show examples of 21 century education.
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't wait to see the documentary. ...more
371.207 WAG
CD 371.207 WAG
My summary: Taking away messages from this book
1. Teaching: Socratic discussion, Flipping classroom, peer-driven approach
2. Test: ConceptTests by Eric Mazur
3. Foundation of learning: Content knowledge, Skill, and will p223
Will-- thrill factor learning, grit, perseverance, self-discipline
Skill -- 4 C's Critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creative problem-solving.

p35 The Purpose of Education
.teaching students cognitive and social skills
.prepare students to be
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wagner and Dintersmith present a compelling, well-researched argument for the need to revolutionize education in the United States.

Having worked in independent settings that have the resources and agency to experiment with these authors' initiatives, I am well-acquainted with the ideas entertained in both the "Most Likely to Succeed" film and this text. While I theoretically support almost all of what is put forth in this text, I have witnessed uneven and sometimes ineffective execution of the
Kate Schwarz
Great read on what needs to happen to the American education system in order to produce "smart creatives" for the new Innovation Era. This was my first Tony Wanger book, so I didn't find it repetitive from his others--curious to read those earlier books to compare the information in them and to learn more about the education gap that exists between other countries and our own.

My notes from the book:

"Before the internet, it made sense to teach kids 'just facts.' But in today's world, there is no
Ted Hunt
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book, which was assigned to all of the teachers at my school, is a very thought-provoking analysis of the issues and problems confronting American educators as they struggle to meet the needs of their 21st century students. They take on not just the "industrial" model that was generated in the late 19th century, but more recent education reforms movements, most notably the Common Core, as well. The book took on such sacred cows as the SAT's, Advanced Placement courses, and the curriculum an ...more
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 I agreed with many of the ideas. As a teacher myself, it's been so hard to see this testing culture take over and be forced onto the schools. It is terrible and kills true and joyful learning. The most important things cannot be tested, so they are swept aside by those calling for "accountability." Towards the end of the book, the writing itself was not very interesting and kept making me sleepy. However, I respect many of the ideas in this book and am glad I read it.

Some favorite pages:
Valerie McEnroe
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, education
Excellent book on the current state of not only K-12 education, but also higher ed. Here are a few of the main points.

1. We are no longer in the knowledge economy because all information is immediately accessible by everyone. We are in the innovation economy.

2. Modern education is based on an outdated model when libraries and books weren't commonplace and teachers were the experts. Thus, the lecture style of teaching was appropriate.

3. Modern education continues to teach low-level rote memorizat
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on Reforming Education

This book is an excellent read focused on public education reform. It makes a great case for the over-standardized-testing of our students on low level skills that are taught out of context of real world examples all because these low level skills are easy to measure on a large scale.

The author calls for more innovation, creativity, and tapping into a student’s natural curiosity to promote deeper and more meaningful learning. Innovation, problem solving ski
Patricia Lynn Hores
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Needs More Than Words

I admire the extremely well- written and articulated prose of this non- fictional work- it resembles a submitted doctoral thesis. Verbose and replete with grammatical correctness, which I applaud, and believe was not the efforts of a overworked proofreader, I still found too many echoes of voices from the past three decades. With a nearly I
Photographic memory, it is fairly easy to recall others who espoused performance based learning in lieu of standardized tests (recall the
Jill Sprott
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I blew through this book in a day; by the time I had finished, I felt amped to change ALL THE THINGS! NOW! That might have had something to do with the coffee I chugged while reading.

The book is a worthwhile read. Wagner and Dintersmith acknowledge that reimagining education may seem daunting, but it is also exciting -- and necessary. I appreciate that they move their argument from the theoretical and speculative into the realm of the possible and the practical. Perhaps my favorite part of the
Tricia Wade
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars. Every parent and educator should be required to read this book. Having a background in grades 7-12 education (but not currently teaching) and having kids in elementary school right now, I wanted to scream out YES numerous times.

It encourages me that the leaders of my school district recommended this book. I am excited to see small changes happening that are being put in place for the reasons this book states over and over. It also frightens me that we have a LONG way to go to stop "t
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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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