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Finding Your Element


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Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human potential. He advises governments, corporations, education systems, and some of the world's leading cultural organizations. The videos of his famous talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been watched by an estimated 300 million people in over 150 countries.


This apparently rushed, thin sequel to the author's previous book, The Element, outlines a practical path to finding your passion and turning it into a vocation. Robinson begins by encouraging readers to not only think freely about their aptitudes, but to actively muddle them-to try new activities, not for the activities themselves but for the skills and talents they may reveal or develop. Unfortunately, after introducing a new idea, Robinson often lapses into abstraction. Chapters attempt to guide readers through the "inward" and "outward" journeys of finding their "Element," from understanding their own abilities, insecurities, and blockages to finding an outlet and community for their strengths. Most chapters begin with perfunctory brainstorming exercises bolstered with glosses on pop psychology (like lessons on learning types, meditation, and happiness studies) and inspirational anecdotes from TED-friendly celebrities like Jamie Oliver. None of Robinson's advice is particularly motivating, as the exercises rarely encourage doing much beyond list, ruminate, or (even worse) search the Internet for personality tests. The book is brimming with stories of others finding their passion, but readers would do better looking elsewhere to locate their own. Agent: Peter Miller, PMA Literary and Film Management, Inc. (May 21) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

In addition to hard work and perseverance, there are a number of ways to achieve one's dreams and goals. Professional mentor Carter offers 20 "breakthroughs" or "course corrections" (think following a compass) to assist readers in fulfilling their basic needs, such as finding love, understanding, and meaning in life. Carter poses questions, relies upon case studies, and guides readers through worksheets that ask them to list their priorities and strengths and their energy-givers and energy-takers (or people and activities that respectively invigorate one's life or sap energy from it). Similarly, Robinson (The Element, LJ 12/08) believes that one can achieve self-fulfillment by meshing natural talents and personal passions. He helps readers embark on a personal quest to find their purpose in life through exercises, narratives, and autobiographical information. VERDICT Both approaches are potentially useful to those willing to delve into the exercises. But are there new answers here to the old questions that are posed? Not really. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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