Stop Stealing Dreams

Ranked #3,163 overall | Donates to Acumen Fund

What is school for?

The economy has changed, probably forever.

School hasn't.

School was invented to create a constant stream of compliant factory workers to the growing businesses of the 1900s. It continues to do an excellent job at achieving this goal, but it's not a goal we need to achieve any longer.

In this 30,000 word manifesto, I imagine a different set of goals and start (I hope) a discussion about how we can reach them. One thing is certain: if we keep doing what we've been doing, we're going to keep getting what we've been getting.

Our kids are too important to sacrifice to the status quo.

[We have a new cover! Thanks to http://www.asasku.blogspot.com/]

The TEDx talk

powered by Youtube

You can get your copy for free

Here are four versions of the manifesto. Pick the one that you need, and feel free to share. To download a file, you'll probably need the option key or the right click button on your mouse... ask a teenager if you get stuck. (Just added an audio reading by Dave Wakefield all the way at the bottom of this page).
The On Screen version
Use this one to read it on a computer or similar device. Feel free to email to the teachers, parents and administrators in your life.
The Printable edition
This is the same document, but formatted for your laser printer or the local copy shop. You are welcome to make copies, but please don't charge for it or edit it. (And I fixed two typos and added the missing link to Doc's book).
Here's the Kindle edition
You'll need to download it and then plug in your Kindle via a USB cable. Drag the file to the Documents folder on your Kindle and boom, you're done. I'm told that you can also open it with the Kindle reader on your Mac, PC or iPad.
The ePub edition
This should work with other types of ebook readers, but I haven't tested it. Your mileage may vary, and if it doesn't work, the PDF should. Readers have told me that this opens on their iPad as well.
The manifesto in HTML on the web
Useful for cutting and pasting, I guess. The PDFs are easier to read. Now improved with easy to link to chapters...
How I built the manifesto, plus back up links
If any of the links above don't work, you'll find back up PDF downloads here, as well as a long-ish essay about how I built them.
Jeff's modified epub file
Jeff generously tweaked this version so it reads better on your screen. No warranties or refunds, but give it a try.
Improved Nook edition
Devon built this for us.
42 quotations from the manifesto
Ivana takes her pick of 42 tweetable quotes.
NEW! A fabulous new, easy to use audio edition
Thanks to Zia Hassan for contributing this
The bumper sticker!
Yes, the 30,000 word manifesto has been reduced to a killer bumper sticker. Check it out.

How to get a free digital copy--formatted for your screen

Just click on the picture of the seagull

Click the picture to get the free ebook There are several versions of the manifesto.

One is a PDF designed to be read on your screen. Feel free to email this anyone you think might want to read it. You’re also free to post it on a website, as long as you don’t edit it or charge for it.

The other featured edition is a PDF formatted to be printed on any printer. Feel free to make as many copies of this as you like and hand them to people who might benefit from a discussion about what we’re investing our time and our money and our future into.

If you have a Kindle or a Nook or any other device, see below for some links on how to import the PDF to your device. I also created special editions that are easy to transfer directly to the Kindle or Nook. And, as a bonus (once the guys in the Apple iTunes store approve it), an iBooks edition for the iPad.

For a list of other books by Seth Godin (that’s me), scroll down to near the bottom of this page. And if you have comments about the book, feel free to post them here, or even better, on twitter #stopstealingdreams or on Facebook or your own blog!

Sir Ken on Creativity and schools

powered by Youtube

If I could have every administrator, teacher and parent read just one of my books...

Feel free to chime in with your comments

  • Follow
    Share to:
    Alert message
  • MeredithFR Apr 16, 2014 @ 3:07 pm
    I'm trying to keep interactive, team-building outside the classroom activities part of the "traditions" at my children's grade school, but it seems like an impossible task. The principal explained to me during a "Principal Chat" last year that "new traditions - like giving Kindergartners iPads" were being put in place while older traditions -- like a walking tour of historic Boston sites -- were being taken away. He is entirely missing the point of the need to encourage creativity, teamwork and interpersonal skills, versus put more tech in the hands of children. I wish there was a way to effectively harness "the Seth Godin movement" to bring awareness and pressure to school administrations. I've sent links to Stop Stealing Dreams to the administrators, but don't believe they've listened or read them. If anyone has any ideas, please tweet me at @merflyrip Thx.
  • CordeliaFlakk Apr 08, 2014 @ 10:25 am
    Aaaaand that's why I spent 14 years homeschooling my three daughters. They've gone on to excel in what they do, because they had meaning and learning in their lives.
  • JArora Apr 07, 2014 @ 6:50 pm
    Very inspiring message and I appreciate the tone of acknowledging those educators who are trying to embrace change while often stuck in slow-moving bureaucracies. Many folks are doing amazing work to help our kids and are forced to work within a system that is not designed to adapt to change and innovation.
  • julesh2013 Mar 13, 2014 @ 11:08 pm
    Very good. I want my daughter to follow her own path and know she can do anything, including not have to work for someone else!
  • AmineBomBom Feb 18, 2014 @ 8:45 pm
    We have to make our dreams true, specially the ones we share with others wether a wife or friend or family, and dont give up
  • ikeephouse Dec 28, 2013 @ 1:49 pm
    I really enjoy the TED talk. Loading my kindle now with your manifesto. Thanks!
  • YogaAngel Dec 20, 2013 @ 2:53 am
    I have always felt that our education system was built to create compliant drones for the work force. I didn't know until now that it was a fact! :-/
  • saulosegurado Dec 05, 2013 @ 4:51 pm
    Great post!
  • Guy1982 Oct 08, 2013 @ 1:12 pm
    Ken Robinson is an awesome Human being! I love him
  • RealPaycheckstubs Aug 29, 2013 @ 1:25 am
    He is such a great author. I was waiting for more information to consume from old Seth!
  • JakeMarkley Aug 21, 2013 @ 4:24 pm
    I HIGHLY recommend this channel and the manifesto. This is one of my favorite works of Seth's and I have it printed out and have multiple sections highlighted. I would recommend reading Linchpin and The Dip. These are my favorite Seth Godin works, but the manifesto and his TED Talk are also great (plus they're free).
  • analeya Aug 21, 2013 @ 4:02 am
    Hi everybody,
    I must to tell you something based on my obervations. The children from today don't want to LEARN. They interact easy with the machinnes but they don't want to learn in the meaning to stock informations. The problem becomes more deep. if we have children does not store information society of adults will act on other concepts not their logic at all. The children must be ascked to solve problems with out a computer just like an exercise because in certain situation they will not know how to act. More action with out the machinnes to improve the mind and brain develop. Remember a world can make an economy but an economy can't make a world
  • paynui Jul 30, 2013 @ 1:03 am
    Both my daughters a dedicated teachers so I understand the hard work they do.
  • SusanAston Jul 28, 2013 @ 1:22 pm
    I believe that most teachers are professional and teach their "subjects" well. However, the vast majority of teachers have no experience of the real world beyond their academic cloisters. The majority never become involved in any wealth creation activities and have an employee mindset.

    Schools need to engage with the outside world more and show pupils good role models and give them an appreciation of what is possible beyond the 9 - 5.
  • True2Myself Jul 10, 2013 @ 2:42 pm
    So glad I found this! As a mother with 2 children in the school system I am so glad to find this. It absolutely reassured me that I am not the only one that feels this was. My 10 yr old daughter is an absolute dreamer - in fact these are the majority of the comments we get on her report cards "often day dreaming instead of paying attention to the lesson" I have a hard time reprimanding her like the school suggests. My husband and I jokingly say there are 2 people in this world those who will make it out of the wood and those who won't. My little dreamer definitely would. She's creative and sometime truly blows my mind when coming up with solutions to problems that as so far outside the box!! For example, at 4 she lost a detachable cord for the radio in her room - instead of crying and insisting we buy her a new radio because this one was now "broken" she searched the house and discovered one of the t.v.'s had the same exact detachable cord - unhooked it and used it for her radio. At 4!!! I know adults that wouldn't have done this!! She is a problem solver, incredible builder, imaginative an a great artist - in fact this is what she wants to be when she grows up. Her teachers don't like that she hates to read and is not very good at math - does it make me a terrible parent that I'm not all that concerened - I think she'll find a job as an artist if she chooses to and that's ok with me :) I'm a manager of a printing co. & a designer - I get paid every day to be creative, pick colors that look good together and help owners of huge corporations market themselves because they just don't know how. I went to a 1/2 semester of college before an owner of a company told me that I wasn't going to learn anything there that he couldn't teach me - and pay me to learn instead of paying a school to "teach" me - boy was he right and he definitely saved me a ton of money I didn't have. He hired me on the spot and taught me so much! 15 yrs later I'm making a darn good living being creative :)

See all comments

What's your take?

Should we reexamine what school is for?

Loading

Yes, we need to start making artists, not low-wage automatons

familystorykeeper says:

There are definite failures with school as it is now. School doesn't help every child get a great education. Most people have some things that they do very well and some things they don't do well. Standardized testing indicates everyone should do well at the same things.

AlexBPearl says:

I think there's too much emphasis on getting exam results and perfecting exam techniques. Ken is right to point out that creativity is almost a dirty word in schools. Creativity and imagination should be encouraged and not treated like a poor relation and brushed under the carpet. Alex Pearl - author of 'Sleeping with the Blackbirs'

smartwaybooks says:

I think we should reexamine what life is for...and how we can prepare young people to be successful in life. That includes teaching life skills such as personal finance, how to buy and prepare healthy meals, and how to interact with people in a way that benefits both parties. Some of those are more art than science.

carol_2 says:

We homeschool to give our kids the freedom the learn at their speed (so far they have graduated at 18 and 17 years of age), to give them one-on-one teaching, and many other reasons. They all loved being homeschooled, and have had absolutely no problem fitting in at college and in the world.

wyattfairlead says:

I am not sure about artists, but we definitely need to reexamine the school system. What we need is schools to actually start turning out innovators. We need people to start thinking again. People no longer think and that is to societies detriment.

bjj_james says:

Creativity vs. Obedience, I choose and open minded approach.

jan-kinahan says:

The status quo no longer is sufficient!

jan-kinahan says:

Today and tomorrow, in a nutshell! (In education, the past is largely inapplicable! Read on!)

coolaunt says:

Not only it's purpose but the outcome it truly delivers. Are we truly offering the skills that children will need to be functional and productive in the world on it's current course?

alphastim2 says:

Yes but I am not claiming we need to make more artists. Lol.

The manifesto consists of a lot of whining about schools. There is next to ZERO about what Seth thinks schools should actually look like. Kids have to be someplace during the day as parents are working. And if you have 25+ kids in a classroom there is only so much freedom and exploration that can be permitted. Homeschooling is the best way to achieve what Seth is suggesting and yet he dismissed it! Hilarious contradiction! If you are going to whine on for hundreds of pages please talk with someone who knows something about schools and have them put into words some actual suggestions on what your ideal school would look like and how it would run.

No, we need more rigor and obedience and better test scores

dpgibble says:

We can't skip the preliminaries. Once I start reading reviews and opinions from toddlers and 6-year-olds on this site, I will accept the possibility that I'm wrong. The Information Age requires impossibly high levels of technical education to expand. Almost no culture has solved the moral conundrum created by the demand for "more." Japan came close and now they face extinction. External systems of discipline make warfare more lethal and classrooms more predictable. But the best special ops soldiers, industrialists, scholars and artists have first mastered themselves. Hence the real purpose of schools.

BarbaraFrank says:

We certainly need tor reexamine school. But we also need to allow parents to choose how their children should be educated. Not all parents will choose to homeschool their children to adulthood like I did, but they should have the option by being able to direct the property tax dollars they pay to the public schools toward any educational option they wish.

BFuniv.com says:

As long as we start school at ten years old, end it at twelve, and this curriculum is a free choice for those considering going into engineering, science, or foreign military service.

 
view all 36 comments

A teacher who mattered

Most of us have had at least one, some have been lucky to have had many. If there's a teacher who made a difference to you or your kids, give them a shoutout here.
  • Follow
    Share to:
    Alert message
  • Marias_Stuff May 29, 2013 @ 1:56 pm
    One teacher really can make all the difference... but sometimes its a parent too. Parents must not forget to inspire their kinds to achieve and think big
  • smartwaybooks May 23, 2013 @ 5:18 pm
    Mr. Gregory. An elementary teacher who coached my high school track team. At practices, he ran with us and did every fitness drill he asked us to do with us. I was amazed. It changed the way I viewed coaching. Years later, when I coached track, I did the same thing. Never asked the kids to do any fitness drill that I wouldn't or couldn't do with them! Teachers who teach and lead by guiding their students like that are few and far between, but they "get" education at its deepest level.
  • Margot_C Feb 24, 2013 @ 12:27 pm
    The most helpful assignment I ever got in school involved a list of questions and a day in the library to answer them. It taught me a lot about how to research and find information. This lens was an interesting read and certainly makes a lot of very valid points. I am a big fan of the book, "The Willpower Instinct".
  • takkhis Feb 12, 2013 @ 2:42 pm
    Yes! I had one such teacher in my life :)
  • Jay27 Jan 07, 2013 @ 3:24 pm
    Absolutely loved this video. We need a faster growing awareness of the fact that education sucks. Thankfully, education is already being transformed thanks to initiatives such as the Khan Academy and others.
  • kent-ong Nov 03, 2012 @ 3:40 am
    I am not sure if this is correct. I read Robert Kiyosaki's book.Rockefeller built and support school system because he needed workers to work for him rather than build a wealth empire.
  • Mr-Panda Oct 20, 2012 @ 2:33 pm
    DWW is awesome. Teaches what he loves, and is oh so funny while doing it.
  • Papier Sep 19, 2012 @ 8:30 pm
    Sorry, I didn't have one teacher that I can recall exciting me about learning or anything else.
  • CarlynMitri Aug 20, 2012 @ 1:44 pm
    Mr. Grogg! You'll never see this but I will give you a shoutout anyways :)
  • mouse1996 Jul 05, 2012 @ 3:48 am
    To many to name. It was their kindness and not really what they taught that made them wonderful.

See all comments

My teaching experience

Photo by Jill Greenberg (yes, *that* Jill Greenberg) I got my first gig as a teacher up in Canada at the age of 16, teaching style canoeing to hundreds of kids every summer. In college, I was the youngest computer science TA the department had ever had, and did it for three years as I developed and taught a lecture series to classes as big as a hundred.

I was an adjunct professor at Mercy College, developed and taught a course on desktop publishing for the Learning Annex (which they ‘shared’ without asking me and used nationwide). I’ve taught science lectures on a volunteer basis in public elementary schools and was a popular professor the year I taught at the NYU Stern School of Business.

I founded the SAMBA alternate MBA program which I hosted in my office daily for six months, and have run a series of events and seminars and free programs around the world over the least twenty years.

I have no idea what it’s like to teach full-time in an underserved education-industrial-complex high school in which the teachers are in a pitched battle with a testing-oriented system that wants nothing but to force them to act like automatons. My guess is that it’s unspeakably horrible, which is why I wrote this manifesto.

Other books by Seth Godin

Loading
Embed

More free stuff from Seth

Two blogs, free ebooks, book recommendations and more
An overview of my work
This is a great place to start if you're new to my books and work.
Posts about my recent experiments in book publishing
The Domino Project published a dozen bestsellers in a row. This blog chronicles what we did and what we learned.
The original blog, updated daily
Since 2000 (or something like that)

How to get any PDF document onto your Kindle

Click the image to get the instructions Just click the picture to see the article. It’s pretty easy… you email it to a special address.

You’ll also note that the ebook has been published in mobi format. All you have to do is download it to your hard drive, plug your Kindle in via the USB cable and drag the file from your hard drive to the Documents folder on your Kindle.

Sideloading to the Nook

Click the image to get the instructions You can also browse the file via the web. Click the picture for details on sideloading.

You’ll also note that the ebook has been published in epub format. All you have to do is download it to your hard drive, plug your Nook in via the USB cable and drag the file from your hard drive to the right folder on your Nook.

A quick mind map

Thanks to Lynne Cazaly in Australia…

Tell your story on Squidoo 

Loading