Stop Stealing Dreams

If you have concerns or strong views about our children’s education then click on

At this site, Seth Godin asks the question, “What is school for?” and in his usual provocative style he makes you think... differently. He says:

“The economy has changed yet 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.”

Seth Godin imagines a different set of goals and has published a 30,000 word manifesto, totally free to read, share, print and use to start what he calls “ essential conversation on our education system.”

While you are at the ‘Stop Stealing Dreams’ site scroll down to Ken Robinson’s wonderfully entertaining and thought provoking Ted Talk on ‘Creativity and Schools’. Well worth watching and listening too.

Here are some edited extracts from Seth Godin’s ‘manifesto’.

Memorising large amounts of information is obsolete
Even Seth Godin admits that ‘Stop Stealing Dreams’ is more of a rant than a book. He says it’s written for teenagers, their parents, and their teachers and for bosses and for those who work for those bosses.

He stresses that the notion that memorising large amounts of information was essential is totally outdated. In a world where access to data was always limited, the ability to remember what you were taught, without fresh access to all the data, was a critical success factor. The size of the library mattered.

School used to be the best chance to be exposed to what happened when and why. School was the place where the books lived and where the experts were accessible.

Now, memorising isn’t the point, because there’s too much to memorise and it changes anyway. No, the goal has to be creating a desire (even better, a need) to know what’s true, and giving people the tools to help them discern that truth from the fiction that so many would market to us.

Two tools available to the educator - Fear and Passion
Godin claims there really are only two tools available to the educator. The easy one is fear. Fear is easy to awake, easy to maintain, but ultimately toxic.

“The amygdala, sometimes called the lizard brain, is the fear center of the brain. It is on high alert during moments of stress. It is afraid of snakes. It causes our heart to race during a scary movie and our eyes to avoid direct contact with someone in authority.

“The shortcut to compliance, then, isn’t to reason with someone, to outline the options, and to sell a solution. No, the shortcut is to induce fear, to activate the amygdala. Do this or we’ll laugh at you, expel you, tell your parents, make you sit in the corner. Do this or you will get a bad grade, be suspended, never amount to anything. Do this or you are in trouble.

“The other tool is passion. A kid in love with dinosaurs or baseball or earth science is going to learn it on her own. She’s going to push hard for ever more information, and better still, master the thinking behind it.

“Passion can overcome fear—the fear of losing, of failing, of being ridiculed.

“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.

“I think that passion often arrives from success. Do something well, get feedback on it, and perhaps you’d like to do it again. Solve an interesting problem and you might get hooked.

“School serves a real function when it activates a passion for lifelong learning.”

Whether or not you agree with Seth Godin’s viewpoint, he will make you think… and that’s a good thing.

Jurek Leon is a storyteller, trainer and coach who presents courses and addresses seminars on word of mouth marketing, motivation, customer focussed selling and managing the customer experience. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly ‘Terrific Tips’ e-newsletter at Alternatively, email

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Jurek Leon is a storyteller, speaker and trainer. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly 'Terrific Tips' e-newsletter at Alternatively, email