I know I should not be as narrowly minded as to classify books into genres but I have never read any self-help book before. This might have been the first one, if you could label Ken Robinson’s The Element in such fashion.
My first impression was that it was repetitive as hell and I found myself hating all those fortunate people used as examples of finding their elements and being incredibly happy with their lives and achievements.
However, from the chapter called ‘Do you feel lucky?’ onwards, this impression changed and I am not ashamed to admit that I actually began to feel optimistic and hopeful about my own epiphany. I agree that luck does not have an important role in attaining your dreams but fear and attitude towards opportunities and failures do. This part was sincerely motivating.
Robinson’s critique of the educational system based on passing tests and excluding arts from the curriculum was very inspiring too since I used to think teaching was my call in life. School is treated in the book as an entity that suppresses creativity in children and fosters only academic intelligence. According to the author, a lot of kids feel liberated when leaving school so that they can actually explore and find their true passions.
There is no need to say that everyone should pursue their desires but this thesis ends up sounding a little bit naïve to me because even though society needs people to clean the streets, I don’t think that’s anybody’s element... In that perfect world, who would do that?