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Friday, September 21, 2012

Review of "The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking" Book

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking was one of those books that I literally did not want to put down, and has changed the way I look at how I approach teaching.  I received the book in exchange for a review, and I'm so happy I got the opportunity to read it.

It was captivating with real-life examples and an easy-to-read, shared-author style that made it feel more like two books in one as Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird provide personal perspectives based on their individual life experiences, both in the classroom and outside of teaching.

The authors use common elements everyone is familiar with to explain the five elements of thinking: Earth, fire, air, water and change.

  1. The Earth refers to foundation of thinking.
  2. Fire represents working through mistakes and failures till you reach success.
  3. Air represents raising questions and delving into being “your own Socrates”.
  4. Water refers to how ideas flow together throughout life.
  5. Change is the only element that will always be, so the authors discuss how to embrace it.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book include:

“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten”.  B. F. Skinner
In considering the element of Earth, the author writes, “True experts continually deepen their mastery of the basics.”


“First just try to hit the moon.  Walking on its surface is for another day.”

“Clear the clutter and seek the essential…’Remember, you may not be able to see everything, but you can certainly ignore most things.”

“What everyone believes is not what is actually true.”  “How do I know?  Test.”

 “Failure is a potent teacher and a scheduled stop along the road to success.”

Behind these quotes are intriguing stories of famous and not-so-famous people who made an impact on the lives of the authors.  There are so many more quotes and excerpts from real-live stories in this book that inspired me that I would have to share the entire book for you to see them all.

The book is somewhat small.  It can easily be tucked into a bag to be read while the kids play (I took it to the pool while we were traveling.  The kids played, and I read and enriched my teaching style).  It’s small but mighty.  Pick up a copy of this newly-released book at a local bookstore or online here.  It will enhance the teaching of even the most brilliant educators.  It is truly your students, and for homeschoolers this is your own children, who will benefit from your reading and applying the words in this book.

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