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Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,913 ratings  ·  364 reviews
'Ken Robinson writes brilliantly about the different ways in which creativity is undervalued and ignored in Western culture and especially in our educational systems.' JOHN CLEESE 'Out of Our Minds explains why being creative in today's world is a vital necessity. This is a book not to be missed. Read and rejoice.' KEN BLANCHARD

'If ever there was a time when creativity was
Paperback, 225 pages
Published June 15th 2001 by John Wiley & Sons (first published January 1st 2001)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  3,913 ratings  ·  364 reviews

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Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Maybe I should have read a few reviews before reading this book, since it was not at all what I anticipated based on the title. Most of these reviews are positive, which should be a good sign, but, still, I would have thought that the author was offering ideas to stimulate creativity in individuals given the cover. Instead we have an overview of educational systems going back thousands of years, changing paradigms, anecdotal stories of geniuses, most of whom flourished in spite of stifling socie ...more
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
We are not teaching our children how to be creative, but teaching them how not to be creative...I'm paraphrasing, of course...Ken Robinson stated in a more eloquent and thought-provoking way. Basically, he writes about how the educational system is broken and how we need to change it to foster creativity. Some readers who gave this book a bad review point out that he doesn't really write about how we can tap into our creativity. I think that's kind of his point...our formal education has taken a ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
I give 5 stars to Sir Ken Robinson's talks @ the TED conference and this animated talk on "Changing Educational Paradigms":

While I gobbled my way through this readable book, there is a lot of overlap between the various, easily accessible speeches online and what is pressed within these pages. Robinson has a plethora of evidence here--lots of examples of how different educational structures are reinvigorating schools, tapping creativity, and taking big ri
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The argument in "Out of Our Minds: Learning to be creative" is by now a familiar one. There are multiple intelligences, schools tend to favor the rather narrow fact- and logic-based kinds, that damages our creativity and especially our children who have other kinds of intelligence (kinesthetic, spatial, artistic, emotional) and grow up thinking they're no good or at least not very smart. Astonishing numbers of these kids, according to Robinson, go on to become successes in interesting walks of l ...more
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Liz by: Laurie Thompson
Covers a LOT of territory -- too much, too briefly. His use of headings drove me crazy: all the same level, so all the same importance? There was clearly some hierarchy of ideas here, but it wasn't displayed; rather, it was a series of sound bites. Found myself skimming a lot, as much of the summary I've read elsewhere.

Exposing people to creative mediums, though, came through as a message. We know 'em when we see 'em, but getting them in front of us still seems the trick.
Loy Machedo
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loy Machedo’s Book Review – Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Sir Ken Robinson

Out of Our Minds is a book of 286 pages divided into ten chapters where the main focus is Education Versus Creativity, the History of Creativity, the Drawbacks, the Challenges and the Changes required in the Current Educational System to promote creativity.

In the book, the author believes that creativity is a skillset we are all born with, but then it gets shunted aside because the school systems attempt to
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had to review this book for my 'Management of Change' class and thus I had to do a very through analysis of every part of the book. This is just inform that this review can sound very descriptive to some, so bear with me.

The author talks about the challenges facing the HR professionals and the business executives in the ever changing business environment.
The book starts with an example how we used to see situations in isolation. This approach can no longer be used in present dynamic situatio
Apr 02, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
I was interested in reading Ken Robinson’s for a couple of reasons. First, I’m an educator who thinks that my classes should perhaps be doing more to foster creativity in my students. I thought that I might get some ideas from a book subtitled “Learning to Be Creative.” Second, I’ve watched some of the videos of Robinson’s famous TED talks. He makes some large (i.e. schools follow and industrial model and so don’t promote creativity) and controversial (i.e. student cheating, if done in the busin ...more
Kawthar Ali
I was excited to read the book after watching Ken Robinson speak in TED. But the book did not live up to my expectations. The title and subtitle are misleading, and throughout the whole book I was trying my best to link the ideas to the title, but failing every time.
Some ideas in the book were interesting, but the only relevant parts were the very beginning and the last chapter.
Like many other reviews, the writer seems to have a breadth but not depth in the content. He tries to cover a lot of
Rachel Terry
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psych
I love watching Ken Robinson's TED talks. He's a wonderful speaker, so I was excited to get my hands on this book. I had to get it through Interlibrary loan from University of Wyoming. I'm sad to say that I was pretty disappointed. It wasn't focused or deep enough for me to come away with many new insights. There were so many statistics in the first couple of chapters that they lost their punch. I agree with him on many points, especially about how school systems need to change to prepare studen ...more
Aug 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
The author drowns a poor argument with lengthy proliferation of superficially-related examples. The final payoff of some implementable solutions seems hardly worth the suffering required to get to them.

The true value in the reading was the potential for cross-functional enhancement of my own creativity as I went “behind enemy lines” to see what is going on in the field of creativity. I’ve peaked into the mind of a jealous, brooding, disenfranchised and yet wannabe academic...I didn't like what I
Aug 15, 2009 rated it liked it
In my opinion, this book is overrated. What it says is true and necessary for education and business, but the writing style is pedestrian at best, and not at all creative, though it is a book about creativity. I had trouble staying awake through most of it. However, what it says is definitely important, and it may have been written more with businessmen in mind, and if that's the case, it's probably more effective for them. ...more
Luke Stephens
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The structure of this wording is so neat, tells you the design framework of the book, what to expect. This sets you up to enjoy it as long as those expectations are met. Love it.

"The physical world owes no allegiance. to any particular set of interpretations. Despite the successive reformulations of scientific theory, the physical universe just carries on being itself. What changes is how we make sense of it. This is not true of the social world."
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Reading another book by Ken Robinson.
I did not like his Creative Schools so much, but I did find his ideas interesting. So I thought I would give this one a try.

I felt enthusiastic about it in the beginning. Those first chapters were inspiring - instead of handing directly the "solutions" to the problem Robinson offers you some material to digest and consider. It made me think, it made me even re-think what I previously thought, and I would have said at that point that it was an awesome book.

Yumiko Hansen
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, Sir Ken Robinson manages to say the essential with great humour and taste. This book is a page turner - and it can turn also your mind around. Must read for all who think that creativity matters - and for those who think that it doesn't matter.
His books should be prescribed reading for all educationists, parents and especially government appointees to education departments. The world situation, with very few exceptions, is in dire straights and an imperative reason for parrents to rea
B. Lee
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was a little underwhelmed with the policy ideas, aside from his pointing to examples of what people are already doing. But the overall analysis of the state of education - in particular the idea of education as a societal concern - seemed right on, to me. Very much worth the read for anyone concerned about education in the U.S., or anywhere.
Ms. Ritchie
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. Inspiring read about the importance of creativity in education. The only thing I would have liked more of was ideas on HOW to teach creatively and to teach creativity. This was very high-level/ inspirational.
Charlie Rogers
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great exploration of creativity by Ken Robinson. Written in the early 2000s, the message rings truer than ever before. Harnessing creativity will be the single most important source of organisational competitive advantage throughout the 21st Century. A call-to-arms that both highlights the present issues and posits potential solutions, well worth a read.
jeni brasfield
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
YES... YES ... YES... read this one! I always enjoy what Sir Ken Robinson has to say. He is informative and witty.
~jeni b~
Jan 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
I love Sir Ken Robinson. He's one of my main influences. BUT this book is terrible. First, the title is misleading. It won't teach you to be creeative at all. A more appropriate one would be "Why we need to be creative?". That's the whole book: painting the general picture of why we needed to rethink traditional forms of education. Sure, he painted a general picture but it's not a good picture. Each and every chapter, I'm looking for something .that'll go in depth. I finished the book and I didn ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I was introduced to Ken Robinson's books on the subject of creativity with The Element, which he wrote in 2009. Out of Our Minds (2001) covers a lot of the same ground, but each of these books describes the subject from a very different perspective. Out of Our Minds is an historical and somewhat scientific treatise on the subject, (the origins of modern educational systems, the science of the brain's development of creativity, etc.). Its coverage is in-depth and scholarly (but very readable). Th ...more
Eustacia Tan
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really excited to read this book because it's on creativity by Sir Ken Robinson, you know, that guy who gave the TED talk? But it was slightly different from my expectations, even though it was pretty interesting.

Rather than a treatise on how to be creative (like how Peak discussed not only how people develop their talents but gave concrete strategies), this book is a general discussion on creativity in schools, and how the current system of education, which was developed for a different t
brian dean
Jun 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Like many others, I really enjoyed Sir Robinson's TED Talk. In book form , however, I never really felt he proved his point. He describes 1) how creativity is being crushed by modern schools, 2) schools decide what is and isn't important - the three 'r's are important, but dance is not, 3) how creativity is needed in all aspects of study, and 4) arts are therefore important.

The first point, I readily grant - I live and teach in South Korea, the home of crushed creativity.

The third point is both
Nov 05, 2009 rated it liked it
I picked up this book after listening to one of Ken Robison's TED talks on creativity and education. Ken covers a lot of territory, but it's a very readable introduction to some of the issues in education today and the necessity to stimulate creativity on personal and corporate levels.

I think more time could have been spent on solving the education problem. He suggests that education must be rebalanced so that there's balance across the curriculum, balance within the teaching of disciplines, an
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Robinson is an excellent writer and an inspirational thinker.

The book meanders through the minds (and sands) of time, both explaining things about humans as if we were aliens learning about Earth for the first time, and also as creatures who don't yet know the abilities we can achieve if only we were to put our minds to it. History, geography, politics, and environments -- his book traverses it all. Later chapters refer back to previous ones, but I can't remember if I liked it because it was en
Jul 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: junk
This guy is a successful businessman. His business is happy positive snake oil. Some sort of Deepak Chopra of education. And he writes on the book covers and his own site the long list of charmed institutions that have paid well for his preaching. This book is not for individuals. It is for the institutions that pay for his rent and his children's tuition. As in his other books, "nobody can make predictions" is well paired with visions of how the computers and other appliances are going to be. S ...more
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about how we need to adjust the education system to embrace the idea that intelligence is not just how well one can read and do math. It is also found in the creative arts. Is not Picasso as intelligent as the scholar who writes about Picasso? Just in a different way?

Our current education system functions much the same way it did 100 years ago. The problem is the system was designed to produce workers for the industrial age. Robinson asks why, in the 21st century, is our educati
Stas Sajin
Jan 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
Those who have read this book, or plan to, largely did it because of the TED talk he gave sometime in 2008, which was a great talk, really. This book on the other hand reads more like the disjointed notes written by a freshman for intro to psychology and philosophy classes. The arguments are fairly simplistic, there are instances where he is plainly inaccurate (especially when he talks about neurosciency stuff), and he really does show a lack of creativity and imagination in telling us how we mi ...more
Jun 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sir Ken Robinson is awesome and I think if you watch his TED video from a few years back, you get all you need to get, though the book is still interesting. His story about the dancer is absolutely inspiring, especially for people raising children, or for people who grew up thinking there was something wrong with them academically. Who knows the real answer, bu the book provides different avenues that I know I didn't think of. Makes me want a child therapist on hand while these boys grow up. ...more
Mike McGinniss
Derivative or just dated

I expected something a little more revelatory and exciting. Instead, there were a lot of references to other studies and points of view and I didn’t get a real sense for how to move education forward in tangible ways other than several small scale initiatives or experiments. Seems like the educational “crisis” is more urgent and these small one-offs aren’t going to move the needle far enough or fast enough.
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Sir Ken Robinson (born Liverpool 4 March 1950) is an internationally recognized leader in the development of innovation and human resources. He has worked with national governments in Europe and Asia, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, national and state education systems, non-profit corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations. They include the Royal Shakes ...more

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“I'm in a weird place because the book is about to come out. So I'm basically just walking around like a raw nerve and I'm not sure that I...
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“If all you had was academic ability, you wouldn't have been able to get out of bed this morning. In fact, there wouldn't have been a bad to get out of. No one could have made one. You could have written about possibility of one, but not have constructed it.” 30 likes
“I asked a professor of nanotechnology what they use to measure the unthinkable small distances of nanospace? He said it was the nanometre. This didn't help me very much. A nanometre is a billionth of a metre. I understood the idea but couldn't visualise what it meant. I said, "What is it roughly?" He thought for a moment and said, "A nanometre is roughly the distance that a man's beard grows in one second". I had never thought about what beards do in a second but they must do something. It takes them all day to grow about a milllimetre. They don't leap out of your face at eight o'clock in the morning. Beards are slow, languid things and our language reflects this. We do not say "as quick as a beard" or "as fast as a bristle". We now have a way of grasping of how slow they are - about a nanometre a second.” 21 likes
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