Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Element Book Review

The Element: How finding your passion changes everything by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica, Penguin, 2009, 274 pp. ISBN 978-0-670-02047-8 $25.95

Reviewed by Nicole Charest, M.Sc. Student in creative studies, Buffalo State College.

Sir Ken Robinson is a highly praised inspirational speaker in the area of human potential development ( (Robinson, 2006, 2010). One of his primary preoccupations is that too many young people worldwide leave school early or graduate still unsure of what their real natural talents are or what they should do next. At the core of his plaid, in The Element (Robinson & Aronica, 2010), as well as in his previous book Out of our minds (Robinson, 2001), is the need to revolutionize education systems which are, in most cases, still operating on premises inherited from industrial age. According to him, education systems must be transformed so that they can truly deliver on their mission of preparing children for a future that is completely unknowable. Education systems have to offer environments where children can discover their Element, where they can be inspired to develop their potential talents and live their passions so that they can aspire to higher level of personal fulfillment and achievement. This “also offers our best and perhaps our only promise for genuine and sustainable success in a very uncertain future” (Robinson & Aronica, 2010, p. 8).

In The Element, which is by nature and scope relevant to a broad audience, the authors adequately positioned the importance of the Element and creativity in the current context of unprecedented scale, speed and complexity of change; this resonates with some key challenges raised in the recent global CEO study or the Newsweek paper entitled The creativity crisis (Bronson & Merryman, July 10, 2010; IBM Corporation, 2010). “Businesses everywhere say they need people who are creative and can think independently. But the argument is not about business. It’s about having lives with purpose and meaning in and beyond whatever work we do” (Robinson & Aronica, 2009, p.16). Sir Ken’s goal with The Element “is to illuminate for you (the reader) concepts that you might have sensed intuitively and to inspire you to find the Element for yourself and to help other to find it as well. What I hope you will find here is a new way of looking at your own potential and the potential of those around you” (p. 26). The concepts are abundantly illustrated with stories of the journeys of real people with the intent to persuade a broader audience.

The concepts illuminated throughout The Element have much to do with the humanistic approach to creativity and are not fundamentally new to the field of creativity. The first seven chapters are about creativity and the later chapters deal with notions related to mentorship, facilitation, age and creativity, the place of the Element in one’s life. The authors conclude with urgent messages on the need to radically change the education systems and on the impact of not addressing these issues for the future of humanity and Earth.

The Element is described as the place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together (p.8). Whereas the manifestation of the Element varies with people, its components (two features – aptitude and passion- and, two conditions – attitude and opportunity) are fairly universal and often manifest themselves as “I get it, I love it, I want it and where is it”. Barriers to finding the Element include personal (attitude, awareness), contextual (social and cultural) and process related constraints (including major shortcomings of education systems). The Element is a powerful invitation to think differently about intelligence and to reframe our traditional question “how intelligent are you” in “how are you intelligent”.

Fundamental to finding the Element is accepting that human intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinctive. “Discovering the Element is all about allowing yourself access to all the ways in which you experience the world and discovering where your own true strengths lie” (p. 51). The authors suggest that we can think about creativity as ‘applied imagination’ and rightly present creativity as the key example of the dynamic nature of intelligence. Fundamental notions such as the usual myths about creativity, the definition of creativity, the influence of attitude and openness, the characteristics of creative groups and the importance of creativity in searching for the Element are adequately presented. Chapter four is about being in the Zone, a concept that the authors compare to the notion of Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2008). Characteristically, being in the Element and in the Zone, does not drain energy but tends to replenish it. The authors describe obstacles to finding the Element, which include personal, social and cultural barriers to creativity as well as traditional processes at the core of education systems. Underscored is the vital role that coaching and mentorship can play in recognizing the Element and encouraging its development.

What I found the most refreshing and enlightening is the chapter entitled Finding Your Tribe. Tribe members can be very different from each other but what connects them is a common commitment to what they feel born to do, to the importance of pursuing their Element, doing their best and being themselves. Finding the right tribe can be liberating and transformative and can play important roles in offering interaction, validation, inspiration, provocation, and encouragement.

Overall, this book as highly inspiring. I did, however, find that the selection of true stories is skewed in favour of journeys of exceptional achievers who found their Element. Examples of journeys of creative everyday and self-actualized individuals could greatly enrich the message and make the inspiration significant to a broader audience. As well, proper credits should be given to those who created some of the notions mentioned in the book: e.g. applied imagination of Osborn, peak experience of Maslow, farmers analogy of Rogers or lateral thinking of de Bono (De Bono, 1990; Maslow, 1999; Osborn, 1954; Rogers, 1996).

Bronson, P., & Merryman, A. (2010, July 10). The creativity crisis: For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong – and how we can fix it. Newsweek. Retrieved from

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (First Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition of the 1990’s edition). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

De Bono, E. (1970). Lateral thinking: A textbook of creativity. Reprint (1990). London, UK: Penguin Books.

IBM Corporation. (2010). Capitalizing on complexity: Insights from the global chief executive officer (CEO) study. North Harbour, England: IBM Corporation. Retrieved from:

Maslow, A. H. (1999). The psychology of being (3rd ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [First edition, published in 1968].

Osborn, A.F. (1953). Applied imagination: Principles and procedures of creative thinking (3rdprinting). New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Robinson, K. (2001). Out of our minds: Learning to be creative. Chichester, England: Capstone Publishing Limited.

Robinson, K. (2006, February). Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity. TED: Ideas worth spreading. Posted, June 2006. Retrieved from

Robinson, K. (2010, February). Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution! TED: Ideas worth spreading. Posted, May 2010. Retrieved from

Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2009). The element: How finding your passion changes everything. New York, NY:Penguin.

Rogers, C.R. (1996). Toward a Theory of Creativity, In A. Rothenberg, & Hausman, C.R, (Eds.), The creativity question, 8th printing (pp. 296-305). Durham, NC: Duke University Press [Reprinted from 1954 ETC (11(4), 250-258]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aesthetic Intelligence: Reclaim the power of your senses

Aesthetic Intelligence: Reclaim the power of your senses, by Rochelle T. Mucha, PhD, BookSurge Publishing, 2009, 200 pp., ISBN-13 978-1439238493, $15.99.

Reviewed by Amy Frazier, State University of New York/Buffalo State.

Author Rochelle Mucha spent over two decades as a business consultant before embarking on a doctoral thesis which would fundamentally alter her awareness of certain untapped potentials in organizational life and leadership. The catalyst for Mucha’s insights came from the developing field of Organizational Aesthetics, a branch of organizational development which seeks to improve organizational life by integrating perspectives from the arts (Mucha, 2009, p. 2). Mucha extends major themes from her dissertation in a book for general business readership, entitled Aesthetic Intelligence: Reclaim the Power of Your Senses.

A self-professed theatre lover, Mucha turned to the art form for insights into teamwork, creativity and leadership. Her findings led her to the development of the concept “Aesthetic Intelligence” (AeI©) which defines key elements in what Mucha calls the “coveted culture” of theatre (Mucha, 2009, p. 9). I have a background in the professional theatre, as well as some experience in translating theatre practices to business settings, and was curious to see how Mucha built a bridge between the two worlds.

AeI© is comprised of three elements: Presence, Authenticity and Synthesis. Presence refers to “being and acting in the moment;” (Mucha, 2009, p. 32). Authenticity is “intentional characterization, thinking and preparing for whom you have to be for that audience, for that purpose, at that time,” (Mucha, 2009, p. 44). Synthesis pulls together presence and authenticity in a moment-by-moment ability to capture “the synergy of presence...while being authentically in character” (Mucha, 2009, p. 48). I found a connection to the actor’s work quite clear: be in the moment, be in character, do both of them at once.

Presence, authenticity and synthesis give rise to a style of communication Mucha describes as “Generative Conversation,” which is “emergent and begins with deep listening” (Mucha, 2009, p. 59). Generative Conversation is found in the “coveted culture” of theatre, where:
team play is a given, and everyone has their eye on the same prize; feedback is daily and embedded; experimentation informs structure, is welcomed and not punished; individuals passionately and proudly invest 100 percent of their focus and energy every day; pride and playfulness, compromise and competency, self-interest and collaboration, and structure and freedom stand side by side. (Mucha, 2009, p. 12)

Having worked to articulate the value of theatre in describing some of my own programs, I admire Mucha’s ability to paint a compelling picture of the power, openness, embrace of failure for the sake of truth, and connectedness found within theatre cultures. She skillfully builds arguments for why these qualities would improve creativity and connectedness in many business cultures.

In her use of the word “aesthetic,” however, Mucha tends to leave the reader hanging. “Aesthetic,” is a word often used to describe an awareness of beauty, or a particular artistic style; however, it has its roots in the ability to perceive with the senses (Mucha, 2009, p. 8). Mucha explains this, but falls short of really laying out for the reader how the senses contribute to the qualities of AeI©. She references the six senses (sight, taste, touch, hearing, smell plus intuition), but leaves out valuable senses such as the vestibular sense (involving movement and balance), and the kinesthetic sense (Hannaford, 2005, pp. 37, 48). Omitting the senses of balance and kinesthesia, which feed into a person’s felt sense of grounded presence (Kabat-Zinn, 2005, p. 219), seems to be an oversight.

I also see a missed opportunity in not exploring exactly how actors develop awareness of their senses. Specific exercises using the breath and techniques for centering are fundamental tools for the actor. Leaving out these practical details strands the reader, ironically, in a theoretical landscape, unsupported by knowledge or information on how exactly one can begin to cultivate a state of presence.

Also, in terms of post-IQ intelligences, it appears that Mucha’s concept of AeI© may be an interesting bundling of Gardner’s (1983) bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences––which does not make the theory behind AeI© uninteresting or unimportant, but does draw questions to my mind as to Mucha’s stated focus on the senses, without giving a more detailed explanation of their operation.

In her exploration of leadership, Mucha returns to what she does best: bringing a seasoned consultant’s eye to the intersection between business and theatre. An “Aesthetically Intelligent” leader is present, authentic, and a superb synthesizer of ideas, impulses, talents, needs, goals and directives. A theatre director and an organizational leader both “glean the optimal performance of the individuals for the whole, the performance, the organization” (p. 133). A theatre director’s ability to listen in deeply and to care about person, process and outcome are related to the role of change leadership. Once again, I connected with Mucha’s ability to build a bridge between two worlds, in ways I have often found difficult to articulate.

Mucha (2009) states that the twin imperatives of business and the arts are to “cultivate an environment of connection and creativity...(and) develop robust and healthy relationships in a diverse and global marketplace” (p. 21). The AeI© principles of presence, authenticity, communicating from a basis of generative language, and cultivating an environment of experimentation, self-interest and collaboration form a solid platform for imparting the cultural wisdom of theatre to organizational settings. Despite gaps in information regarding the role of the senses, I found Mucha’s work to offer an insightful, enthusiastic, and provocative recipe for furthering these twin objectives.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Hannaford, C. Ph.D. (2005) Smart moves: Why learning is not all in your head. Salt Lake City, UT: Great River Books.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005) Coming to our senses. New York: Hyperion.
Mucha, R. T. (2009). Aesthetic Intelligence: Reclaim the power of your senses. Atlanta, GA: Author.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Review: Brain rules-12 Principles for surviving and thriving at work, home & school

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
Reviewer: Elizabeth Aebersold
The human brain is full of vastly unexplored territory. Dr. John Medina tries to explain some of the known territory about the brain in his New York Times bestselling book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Medina, a developmental molecular biologist has spent his career focused on the genes involved in human brain development. With an impressive biography of research and scientific achievements, Medina is a medical expert as well as an award winning teacher. In Brain Rules, Medina takes that knowledge and creates an easy to understand explanation of twelve brain principles. His book can be categorized somewhere between self-improvement and an introduction to neuroscience, with an emphasis on understanding the basics of how the brain works in order to think differently about how we live and work.
Brain Rules is divided into twelve “rules” of how the brain functions. Each chapter begins with a clever hook (Rule #4: Attention) that illustrates some facet of the brain rule. Medina then explains the science behind the rule and ideas for action. Throughout each chapter Medina weaves in personal stories and interesting research examples to further demonstrate and demystify the science.
The twelve rules break down into the following topics: Rule #1: Exercise (exercise boosts the brain), Rule #2: Survival (the human brain evolved too), Rule #3: Wiring (every brain is wired differently), Rule #4: Attention (we don’t pay attention to boring things), Rule #5: Short-term memory (repeat to remember), Rule #6: Long-term memory (remember to repeat), Rule #7: Sleep (sleep well, think well), Rule #8: Stress (stressed brains don’t learn the same way), Rule #9: Sensory Integration (stimulate more of the senses), Rule #10: Vision (vision trumps all other senses), Rule #11: Gender (male and female brains are different), and Rule #12: Exploration (we are powerful and natural explorers).
Medina makes the case that our greatest brain rule is the importance of curiosity and tapping unto our powerful need for exploration. Babies are born with the joy of learning and problem-solving. Unfortunately, this can be knocked out of our children as they learn what it means to get an “A” and “acquire knowledge not because it is interesting, but because it can get them something” (p. 273). Medina goes on to argue that our curiosity instinct is so powerful that we learn in spite of our educational system. This curiosity stays with us throughout our lifetime and we cannot outgrow our thirst for knowledge. Medina says, “…some regions of the brain stay as malleable as a baby’s brain, so we can grow new connections, strengthen existing connections, and even create new neurons, allowing all of us to be lifelong learners” (p. 271). Medina leaves us with the reminder that “we must do a better job of encouraging lifelong curiosity"(p. 274).
Medina’s book is intriguing and entertaining. He has a gift for taking complex information and making it understandable. The brain research he presents calls into question many of the societal norms we have established that work against the way the brain is wired and has evolved. For example, what if meetings were conducted while walking in order to boost our brain power? Or school desks were equipped with treadmills? Our brains evolved by walking up to 12 miles per day – we think best when moving rather than sitting in cars, classrooms, or boardrooms.
There is a strong connection between Brain Rules and creativity. Creativity is ultimately a product of our brains. Having even a basic understanding of how our brains work can give us insight into the optimal conditions for supporting creativity. Several of his rules spark questions for creativity trainers, teachers, and practitioners. If vision trumps all senses (Rule #10) what might be the ways to integrate more visual thinking and imagery into our teaching? Exercise helps stimulate the brain (Rule #1) and a stressed brain doesn’t learn as well (Rule #8). How might we work in partnership with wellness programs to get the best thinking out of our students and work-force? What might be the ways to utilize people’s powerful need for exploration (Rule #12)? How might we more actively engage all the senses when learning (Rule #9) particularly to help with retention and recall of information? How might we structure training to tap into the natural learning power of the brain during sleep (Rule #7)?
One of my criticisms of Medina’s book is the puzzling lack of references in the book itself. A self-proclaimed “grumpy scientist” Medina claims he cites only research that has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and that has been successfully replicated. Medina posts the reference section on the book’s website. Perhaps this is a clever marketing tactic to drive traffic to the book’s website or a convenient synthesis of all the references in one place meant to keep the book uncluttered. The site contains audio, video, and additional supporting material aligned with Rule #9, Sensory Integration, however mapping the references back to the book is a challenge.
For such a complex topic, Brain Rules is easy to grasp in large part due to Medina’s sense of humor and storytelling ability. The book provides the reader with information about how the brain works and how we process information. It also goes into detail about the ways and circumstances under which we learn best. Medina uses his “brain rules” throughout the book through repetition, grabbing the reader’s attention, and engaging multiple senses. The reader can walk away with practical ways to apply the learning to different facets of life. It is a book worth reading for people interested in creativity in order to better understand the neuroscience behind problem-solving and the factors that contribute to or hinder idea generation. The value in the book is ultimately a set of principles for how the brain works and a richer understanding of how we think.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You are not a gadget: A manifesto

Melanie Rothschild
Lanier, J. (2010). You are Not a Gadget: a Manifesto. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

I must first explain, that I consider Jaron Lanier to be something of a Cinderella figure in my life: this has nothing to do with his three-foot long dreads. Rather it harkens back to the Creativity and Cognition conference I attended in October, 2009. At that conference, I found myself deeply enthralled by an un-scheduled speaker who warned about the dangers of groupthink in the creativity community. In the middle of a thought, he suddenly remembered his unattended parking meter and bolted out of the hall. No one sitting near me knew his name and I was never able to learn his identity. Several months later, I heard Mr. Lanier interviewed on the radio about his new book and found very engrossing the issues he was discussing about maintaining individual personhood in an increasingly tech world. When I finally got hold of You Are Not a Gadget, and went to read about the author, I was astonished to see from the picture, that he was in fact, the same fellow who ran out to tend his parking meter last year in Berkeley. Ah, a fit for the glass slipper at last.

“When we deploy a computer model of something like learning or friendship in a way that has an effect on real lives, we are relying on faith. When we ask people to live their lives through our models, we are potentially reducing life itself. How can we ever know what we might be losing?” (p.70).

I have been a visitor to Mr. Lanier’s world of technological landscapes and fast flowing rivers of expertise. This destination is extremely far from my usual home, further even than Buffalo, New York. He is certainly a fascinating, if not necessarily overly welcoming host to non-techies. Nevertheless, I find him to be a profoundly good man and I am happy to hang out in his quarters for a while based on my abundant respect for his raw tech brilliance all the while connected to an ever-present awareness and concern for the experience of the human soul. His book is basically a discussion on maintaining personhood in a technological culture.

In describing him in relationship to creativity, I would probably have to say that he is the closest thing to a living embodiment of the entire concept of creativity that I can imagine. His claim to pioneering inventions and inroads in the history of technology is formidable (among many other things, he is credited with coining the term virtual reality) and he is not only a musician but also a recognized expert in early instruments. All this would certainly be enough to earn him substantial decorative hardware as a creative giant, but what speaks the loudest about his essential creative spirit I believe, is his ability to be introspective and sensitive to a myriad of potential human ramifications of this dense and intense world as well as the bravery to amplify his concerns. It would only shortchange Lanier to not extend full claim to him, all of the following titles: tech giant, musician, philosopher, anthropologist, entertainer and “humanist softie” (p.191).

While thoroughly devout to the potential of the tech world for ultimate good, he discusses a host of fundamental issues about a cybernetic totalist culture where individual human specialness would ultimately be subsumed. His concerns include the annonynimity of the web which he asserts too often denies the individual intellectual credit as well as the need for responsibility, giving rise to creating pack-like thinking. He points to Wikipedia as becoming a dominant source of reference which erases accountability and point of view entirely. The author takes the reader on a logical continuing path in which the practice of obscuring authorship could ultimately lead to “one collective book” (p.47) bankrupting us of books by individuals. He refers to a “digital flattening of expression into a global mush” (p.45). His discussion of the internet’s impact on the world of print journalism posits a critical warning about the invaluable role of an independent press, composed of “heroic voices” without which, “the collective becomes stupid and unreliable” (p.57).

He continually points out and challenges subtle strains of thought which are easily taken for granted in our rush to keep up with an ever-developing tech way of life. Lanier discusses how computers, with reputations as intelligent machines, tend to make people defer to them and become prone to changing themselves in order to appear to make the machine work better, instead of insisting that the computer be changed to be more useful (p.36).

Facebook he warns, organizes people into multiple-choice identities and points out that it is the “alien bits where the flavor is found” (p.48). By reconfiguring information to make it fit a particular pre-planned format, we risk losing the heart of it. He reminds us that the real customers of Facebook are not the members, but rather the advertisers of the future who will feed on the valuable information currently being captured (“social-graph”) between people whose definition of what constitutes a “friend” seriously diminishes prior uses of the term. A fierce believer and defender of individual creativity he states: “A new generation has come of age with a reduced expectation of what a person can be and of who each person might become” (p.4).

He believes that before vast baseline technological systems are instituted and become deeply entrenched, or “locked-in” to place, tremendous thought must go into potential outcomes:

“It is impossible to work with information technology without also engaging in social engineering . . . Different media designs stimulate different potentials in human nature. We shouldn’t seek to make the pack mentality as efficient as possible. We should instead seek to inspire the phenomenon of individual intelligence” (p.5).

“There is more than one possible technological future and the debate should be about how to best identify and act on whatever freedoms of choice we still have” (p.45). Without this careful planning, the consequences of initially inconsequential decisions can develop into “unchangeable rules of our lives (p. 8-9).” Constantly questioning what are easily perceived as established rules of the web, he makes a compelling case for the ultimate diminution of individual creativity within the framework of an endless sea of free access to creative content: without compensating individual artists even a tiny bit, we lose the effect of imposed scarcity, without which money itself has no value, a concept which is at the heart of a capitalist system.

While Lanier certainly blasts tech culture to a significant degree, he makes a touching tribute to his colleagues rather early in the text, thereby reasserting his basic core optimism in the creative spirit of the intellectual tech culture:

Many of my friends disagree with me. It is to their credit that I feel free to speak my mind, knowing that I will still be welcome in our world (p.17).

His tome, while dire at times, is impressive and even inspiring in terms of the writer’s ability to examine that of his own making as well as to introduce thinking which emboldens us to take claim of our spiritual selves and challenge what may at time seem like the inevitable. He reminds us indeed that we are each, responsible for our own creativity.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Light up your child’s mind: Finding a unique pathway to happiness and success

Book Review
Light up your child’s mind: Finding a unique pathway to happiness and success, by Joseph S. Renzulli and Sally M. Reis, with Andrea Thompson, Little Brown and Company, 2009, 304 pp., ISBN-13: 978-0-316-00398-8, $25.99.
Reviewed by Lee Anne White, State University of New York/Buffalo State.

Despite many one-size-fits-all gifted programs, gifted and talented students are not a homogenous group. They are a highly diverse group, and traditional methods of identifying students for these programs often overlook the creatively gifted. While many creatively gifted children excel in the classroom, others do not. “The answer,” Renzulli and Reis say, “lies in looking not for a ‘gifted child’ but for a child who displays or has the potential to display gifted behaviors” (p. 15). They also suggest that rather than testing for giftedness, educators and parents should focus instead on developing talent wherever they see potential—to help children build on their strengths, discover a love of learning, and develop creative problem-solving skills. In doing so, children will gain more than knowledge. They will grow in self-confidence and self-efficacy, and develop valuable life skills.

Although written for the parents of students who display gifted potential, the strategies detailed in this book can be used to help light up the minds of all children. This practical and inspiring guide is based on the premise that children learn best when they enjoy what they are doing and tackle authentic, real-life challenges. Renzulli and Reis encourage an investigative, project-based approach to learning, rather than the “drill-and-practice” approach often found in classrooms. The emphasis is on “creative-product learning,” or that which “takes place when a youngster is intent on developing an original something, a product that he hopes will have a positive impact on an audience of some kind” (p12). Such products might include an invention, a short theatrical production, a newspaper article, a small business venture, or tackling a local community issue.

This concept of creative productivity—taking education beyond the classroom environment and developing projects that tap a child’s individual interests and sense of curiosity—encourages children to develop creative problem-solving skills. And the authors emphasize that parents play a crucial role in that process by providing opportunities, resources, and encouragement.

Light Up Your Child’s Mind is divided into three sections: The first challenges the traditional concept of giftedness that is primarily based upon intelligence and testing, instead arguing that potential giftedness can be observed when high levels of ability, creativity, and motivation come together in a child. The book also addresses the hidden potential in children who daydream, challenge authority, or have one-track minds—noting that these children are often creatively gifted. The second section helps parents recognize the strengths, interests, and learning styles of their children, and offers practical strategies for guiding out-of-class learning opportunities. Anecdotes, including stories about challenges the authors faced with their own children, help bring this section to life. The final section addresses special considerations for underachievers and the twice exceptional (those with both gifts and talents, and learning disabilities), and offers tips for partnering with teachers to enhance a child’s education. The book is filled with useful sidebars—questionnaires, checklists, and activity lists—and the appendix provides extensive resources, including outstanding books, websites, and competitions that offer “active learning” activities.

What makes this book different from other books on gifted and talented education is the authors’ recognition that all children have unique strengths and interests that should be developed, that creative-production is a powerful way of both learning and instilling a lifelong love for learning, and that parents are just as responsible as educators when it comes to developing the talents of their children. It is packed with success stories and practical advice, giving parents hope and direction, as well as specific strategies they can use with their children.