Out of Our Minds Chapter 1 Summary – Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson. The wizard of public speaking, and person with achievements that outshine your very existence. 

Here commences the chapter summaries from his updated 2016 edition book  ‘Out of Our Minds’. 

Chapter 1

This is a preface to what lies ahead in the book. Robinson condenses it into 3 main topics:

#1: We are living in a revolution people!! Wake up! 

#2: We need to think differently about our creative abilities and how to make the most of them. Yes you, you! You’re creative. 

#3: *shouting into microphone* Demands are changing! We need to run organisations and education systems in totally different ways to meet them!


Robinson argues that:

“we are all born with immense natural talents but that too few people discover what they are and even fewer develop them properly. Ironically one of the main reasons for this massive waste of talent is the very process that is meant to develop it: education.”


The education system is a TOTAL BACKSTABBER. It’s stifling our NATURAL creative tendencies through standardisation and conformity, even though it’s supposed to help us! 

…Two faced bi*** 


While the education system’s screwing us over, society actually desperately needs this creativity. 

“All organizations are competing in a world in which the ability to innovate and adapt to change is not a luxury: it is a necessity

“All organizations are organic and perishable. They are created by people and they need to be constantly re-created if they are to survive

“Organizations everywhere say they need people who can think creatively, communicate and work in teams: people who are flexible and quick to adapt.”

Ok, so we know that businesses today need creative workers. It’s essential for them to survive!


Here’s what Sir Ken had to say about good ol’ policy people:

“[policy makers] typically narrow the curriculum to emphasize a small group of subjects [and] tie schools up in a culture of standardized testing … These reforms are typically stifling the very skills and qualities that are essential to meet the challenges we face: creativity, cultural understanding, communication, collaboration and problem solving. 



You is blind! What you’re doing is creating the exact OPPOSITE of the workers we need!

“Politicians … argue over the funding and organization of education, over access and selection and about the best ways to improve standards. But it is rare to hear politicians of any party raise questions about the absolute importance of academic standards or of standardized systems of education.”


You politician people need to ask yourselves “what is the point of standardisation and getting more A+’s from our students? Will that even help with anything?


A summary of a summary:

Society demands creativity and innovation. Only problem is, a lot of us don’t think we’re capable of it (though Sir Ken argues it’s a learnt skill).  

The root of this problem lies in the education system. It’s too standardised, industrial-y, and drumming the creativity out of us. 

So instead of scrambling and trying to improve academic standards, let’s focus on the actual cause of the problem. The system isn’t working. We need to be creative, and transform it. 

“We will not succeed in navigating the complex environment of the future by peering relentlessly into a rear view mirror. To do so, we would be out of our minds.”

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