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According to Ken Robinson, what he characterizes as "The Element" is not a physical location but the challenge is to locate it, nonetheless. "It's about doing something that feels so completely natural to you, that resonates so strongly with you, that you feel as if this is who you really are." Some people locate it in childhood, others decades later, and still others never. "Finding your Element is a quest to find yourself...it is a two-way journey: an inward journey to explore what lies within you and an outward journey to explore opportunities in the world around you." Robinson wrote The Element (2009) with Lou Aronica who also assisted with the writing of Finding Your Element four years later. Ever since the first book was published, Robinson explains, "people have asked me how they can find their own Element, or help other people to find theirs."

In response, this sequel has five main thematic threads that weave throughout the book, each of which is intended to help the reader reflect and focus on finding their own Element and, if they wish to, help others to do so. Robinson provides ideas and principles as well as stories and examples, stories, and other resources such as 15 exercises to complete (more about them in a moment) and clusters of questions to consider at the end of each chapter before moving on to the next. In fact, each chapter title is a question. "Although there are ten chapters in the book, Finding Your Element is not a ten-step program." Just as Oscar Wilde once suggested, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken," Robinson suggests that only the reader can answer the questions posed. "In the end, only you will know if you've found your Element or if you are still looking for it. Whichever it proves to be, you should never doubt this is a quest worth taking." True to form, Robinson asks most of the right questions but it remains for each reader to answer them, perhaps using some of the tools that Robinson provides. I have found mind mapping to be an especially helpful technique during both an inward journey of personal discovery and an outward journey of the world in which I live. As with answering questions, however, each reader must select which tools to use as well as when and how.

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to indicate the scope of Robinson's coverage.

o A Personal Quest (Pages xxii-xxiv)
o Three Elemental Principles (19-27)
o True North (27-30)
o Hidden Depths (39-44)
o Finding Your Aptitudes (44-48)
o What's Your Style? (65-71)
o Two Sorts of Energy (84-87)
o The Unhappy Truth (113-115)
o Having a Purpose What Is Happiness? (117-120)
o The Meaning of Happiness (120-126)
o Seeing Through the Barriers (143-146)
o Who Are You? (147-148)
o A Question of 160-165)
o Figuring Out Where You Are (173-174)
o The Culture of Tribes (191-192)
o Moving Forward by Going Back (215-222)

As I began to re-read this book prior to composing this brief commentary, I realized that amidst all the information, insights, and counsel that Robinson provides in abundances, there were certain key points that I had missed. I strongly recommend re-reading this book, highlighting especially relevant material along the way and then reviewing that material from time to time. I also suggest keeping a notebook near at hand in which to record personal thoughts, feelings, experiences, concerns, and other professional as well as personal issues.

As quoted earlier, Robinson views "finding your Element is a quest to find yourself...it is a two-way journey: an inward journey to explore what lies within you and an outward journey to explore opportunities in the world around you." This is a never-ending process because each of us and our circumstances change and adjustments must be made to accommodate them.

This is what Ken Robinson has in mind, when concluding: "Like the rest of nature, human talents and passions are tremendously diverse and they take many forms. As individuals, we're all motivated by different dreams and we thrive -- and we wilt too -- in very different circumstances. Recognizing your own dreams and the conditions you need to fulfill them are essential to becoming who you can be. Finding your own Element won't guarantee that you'll spend the rest of your life in a constant, unbroken state of pleasure and delight. It will give you a deeper sense of who you really are and of the life you could and maybe should live."
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on 1 July 2013
Essential reading for anyone who feels they're just going through the motions and doing what's expected. Open your eyes to what you want to do instead. Lots of good exercises to get you to see yourself differently.
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on 21 October 2013
Ken Robinson is the guy who everyone should listen to when it comes to education, motivation and how the human Development Works. The book has too much fluff before it gets to the point. If it was me I'd publish this book in 40 pages and it would still get the work done.
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on 30 August 2015
Sir Ken Robinson deserves nothing more than 5 stars every time. He deserves them for being born and bringing his incredible wisdom, knowledge, enthusiasm and compassion into this world. And if you go to TEDTalks.com... you will see this brilliant raconteur (he's actually so much more but he has brilliant comedic timing!) in action... over 34 Million views... now tell me this man hasn't got something to say that is worth listening to??? That talk is Do Schools Kill Creativity.... go watch it, enjoy and think on!
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on 24 August 2013
The good advice in this book could be written down in half-a-dozen pages at most. The rest is a bit dull. The author is clearly sincere in wanting to help people find their passion and in his belief that going so is a good thing. Can't argue with that. But the declared aim of this book is to tell you how to find your element and it really doesn't do that. The problem is ALL the stories of people following their passions start with a natural process of discovery - most of them a single life changing experience after which they just 'knew' what they had to do. None of the stories tell of someone who found their element through a process of analysis. I finished the book feeling that I hadn't learnt anything new or moved forward. I DID do the activities but this became harder because they are very repetitive and frankly unimaginative.

I came away liking the author and would have liked to have given the book a higher rating but it simply doesn't deliver on its aim.
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on 14 July 2013
But it is not needed. IF you have 'The element' don't buy this! It is just cashing in on previous success.
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on 9 August 2015
I read his book Finding your element some time ago. Now, when I realized what I’d like to do with my life, I discovered that I got pretty strong hints in all of the exercises I did. The exercises that I came across in his book are strong and worth doing. In some reason, after I did the exercises, I couldn’t see my future, my element. It came to me few months later when I was doing some random work.
I got a stroke of genius and something unfolded in front of my eyes for a fraction of a second. That was it, I realized I’ve had it in front of my eyes all the time. I like explaining things to others. I like teaching and helping. My business is full of that. I couldn’t see it for so many years, it is unbelievable how little we need to change a course of our life.
More reviews on my website http://adamwojnar.com
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on 12 September 2015
A wonderful book that has helped and will continue to help individuals understand something more about their own skills and creativity. All written in Ken Robinson's highly amusing and inimitable readable style.
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on 26 August 2015
Really interesting CD. Well read and engaging to listen to. Ken Robinson has some good things to say. He reads it himself, and has a nice voice.
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on 14 September 2015
Every young person and every adult who is unhappy in their job/career should read this book - I wish I had read it when I was young!
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