Monday, 14 March 2011

Out of our minds by Ken Robinson – Book review

This is a big book, not because of its length (200 pages), but because it contains large ideas. If the style makes it easy to read, the ideas developed in this book will make you pause and think.

It is less a “how to” book than a “why” book on creativity. Although Ken Robinson’s interests lie in education, this book will captivate anyone interested in creativity. It will give you a framework to think about creativity in our society and in your life.

Ken Robinson gives his definition of creativity: “imaginative processes with outcomes that are original and of value.” He rightfully insists on the fact that “Creativity is a process, not an event.”

The book contains some interesting developments on the difference between art and sciences.
For the author, art should be recognised as a legitimate intellectual process. He denounces the “academism” that promotes core subjects such as sciences, mathematics and English as the only serious subjects. The other bias of academism is to give more value to analytical studies of art than practical experience of it when it comes to judge the value and experience of university professors (see: Art, another form of intelligence)

Favorite quotes

There are so many interesting passages in this book that it is difficult to just pick a few quotations. I selected some more relevant to artists.

“Creativity can be as much a process of finding problems as solving them.”

“Pictures give the whole pattern of ideas simultaneously. In these forms we can express thoughts that do not fit the structures of words.”

“Creativity is often a dialogue between concept and material. The process of artistic creation in particular is not just a question of thinking of an idea and then finding a way to epxress it. Often it’s only in developing the dance, image or music that the idea emerges at all.”

“Creativity is not purely intellectual process. It is enriched by other capabilities and in particular by feelings, intuition and by a playful imagination.”

See also my previous post: Art, another form of intelligence.

The Book

Out of our minds by Ken Robinson
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Capstone (5 April 2001)
Language English
ISBN-10: 1841121258
ISBN-13: 978-1841121253

Videos of Ken Robinson speaking at TED conference

Ken Robinson is an excellent presenter, so I recommend you watch some of these videos. They are as informative as they are entertaining.

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

See also Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms.

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