The Best of Stop Stealing Dreams (Part 2)



I previously posted some of my favorite passages from Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin.

Here are some additional quotes from the latter half of the manifesto that I found particularly interesting. Check them out and let me know what you think!

(I’ve edited many of these excerpts for length. Please refer to the original source for the full quotes. The numbers accompanying each excerpt refer to the section number.)


On factory output:

School is a factory, and the output of that factory is compliant workers who buy a lot of stuff. These students are trained to dream small dreams. (#60)

On why:

No, the problem isn’t that we haven’t spent enough hours memorizing the map. The problem is that we don’t want to. Teachers aren’t given the time or the resources or, most important, the expectation that they should sell students on why. (#70)

On craftsmanship:

What’s needed from the teacher is no longer high-throughput lectures or test scoring or classroom management. No, what’s needed is individual craftsmanship, emotional labor, and the ability to motivate. (#74)

On two steps to school:

We act as if there are only two steps to school:

(1) Get kids to behave
(2) Fill them with facts and technique

Apparently, if you take enough of each, enough behavior and enough technique, then suddenly, as if springing from verdant soil, passion arrives. I’m not seeing it. (#88)

On writing:

Writing is organized, permanent talking, it is the brave way to express an idea. Talk comes with evasion and deniability and vagueness. Writing, though, leaves no room to wriggle. The effective writer in the connected revolution can see her ideas spread to a hundred or a million people. Writing (whether in public, now that everyone has a platform, or in private, within organizations) is the tool we use to spread ideas. Writing activates the most sophisticated part of our brains and forces us to organize our thoughts.

Teach a kid to write without fear and you have given her a powerful tool for the rest of her life. Teach a kid to write boring book reports and standard drivel and you’ve taken something precious away from a student who deserves better. (#90)

On being usefully wrong:

If the training we give people in public school or college is designed to help them memorize something that someone else could look up, it’s time wasted. Time that should have been spent teaching students how to be wrong. How to be usefully wrong. That’s a skill we need along with the dreaming. (#97)

On caring:

One thing a student can’t possibly learn from a video lecture is that the teacher cares. Not just about the topic—that part is easy. No, the student can’t learn that the teacher cares about him. And being cared about, connected with, and pushed is the platform we need to do the emotional heavy lifting of committing to learn. (#108)

On Legos:

Give me a motivated block builder with a jumbled box of Legos over a memorizing drone any day. If we can’t (or won’t, or don’t want to) win the race to the bottom, perhaps we could seriously invest in the race to the top. (#112)

On figuring it out:

The puzzles of math and physics are among the most perfect in the world. They are golden opportunities to start young adults down the path of lifelong learning. The act of actually figuring something out, of taking responsibility for finding an answer and then proving that you are right—this is at the heart of what it means to be educated in a technical society. But we don’t do that any longer. There’s no time and there’s no support. Parents don’t ask their kids, “what did you figure out today?” (#113)

On higher education:

If there’s a part of the educational system that should be easier to fix, it’s higher education…Colleges have an opportunity to dramatically shift what it means to be educated, but they won’t be able to do this while acting as a finishing school for those who have a high school diploma. College can’t merely be high school, but louder. (#124)

On learning, leading and teaching:

The common school is going to take a generation to fix, and we mustn’t let up the pressure until it is fixed. But in the meantime, go. Learn and lead and teach. If enough of us do this, school will have no choice but to listen, emulate, and rush to catch up. (#131)