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Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose,…

Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger…

by Mark C. Perna

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2013731,177 (4.29)1



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was one of the books I requested to review for LibraryThing but I did not receive it until just recently. I have no idea where it was for almost two months but I am so glad I finally received it. As a substitute teacher who ultimately desires to teach full time, I spend a great deal of time with students of this generation, too many who question why they are learning what they studying and doing things they feel have no impact or import on their lives. This book provides me with some answers and strategies as to how to make their education correlate directly with their lives and futures. The author also believes, as I do, that simply going to college is not the answer for every student. Having been a substitute teacher at the local BOCES Career & Technical Institute for a year, I know how wonderful these programs can be for students. This is a book I shall keep on my bookshelf to refer to again in the future because of its insights. I plan on checking out the author's free resources available online to gain even more insights and advice. This is a great book for all teachers and businesses that want to reach this new generation of students and future employees. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Oct 27, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I assumed, wrongly, that the current group is 'smarter' because of their access to smart-technology. Once I got my head around that error, the rest was obvious. School administrators were dropping metal shop, electrical, auto, drafting, math-for-life, music, cooking, in 1970's, so its not a surprise that there is no shared knowledge of career ladders in these fields. As one of the few who crossed from teaching Calculus, and Beginning Drafting, with stops at CAD, and Math for Life, the cross-over theme needs to be to "keep learning all your life"-- experimenting. Read "What Color is your Parachute?" when confused about what to do next. The book reads like an info-mercial for the author's materials. Can't recommend them, since I haven't see them. ( )
  Lace-Structures | Oct 17, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
tl;dr: Not perfect, but definitely worth a read.

IMO, this book's biggest value is Perna's insightful explorations of:
* a growing "awareness gap" among modern youth concerning the broad array of employment and career opportunities in attainable existence and how that gap feeds the growing "skills gap" we keep hearing about as more and more employers lament the shortage of appropriately skilled applicants to fill their evolving needs;
* how our schools' evolution into what are often effectively college-applicant factories, teaching relatively little about life skills and career possibilities (many of which do not require increasingly expensive college degrees) before packaging students for their ultimate goal of college entrance, is a very large contributor of the feeding of this "awareness gap";
* ways of thinking and paths of action that broaden our school experiences to introduce students, as early as middle school, to the enormous breadth of careers and employable skill possibilities out there—not to drown their youth under the looming need to adult, but to sprinkle myriad diverse seeds that could lead to discovery of aptitudes and resonances that could motivate and direct their educations toward real gainful employment and career possibilities.

The first five or so chapters focus on various aspects of these concerns in a way that is easily worth the price of the book on their own. The rest of the book continues to explore and reinforce these concepts in various ways.

What grew less effective for me later on? Well...
* Custom buzzphrases. Perna introduces terms such as "branch creak" and "light at the end of the tunnel" to illustrate and represent various aspects of the issues at hand and his strategies for addressing them, and uses these terms very frequently throughout the text. Perhaps for some this label-repetition is helpfully reinforcing, but for me, at least, it can be overused to the point that it drains away some of the meaning of the terms leaving behind a sense of mindless propaganda mantras. But maybe that's just me.
* "Why Generation" Hypergeneralization. I appreciate that he's trying to draw broad cultural patterns about our modern youth from which to advise strategies, and I believe he did state once that not all Why Generation members fit the same descriptions. But I'd suggest a little more care in not painting an entire broad generation as multi-tasking extroverted idealistic new-experience-seekers.
* Proprietary solution tools. The strategies discussed for helping the Why Generation find their way in the career opportunity universe depend heavily on Perna's proprietary Career Tree concept, his descriptions of which do illustrate well the nature of the problem, but which none of us can directly use without engaging Perna's professional services and his very-capable team, which may make the latter half of the book feel a little like guerilla marketing.

In short, Answering Why is worth the read for the valuable insights and message, even if arguably a little lessened by the buzzword-repetition and interwoven self-marketing. ( )
  Thogek | Sep 25, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Being a member of the Baby Boomer generation who currently works with an office full of employees from the Why generation has been a very interesting experience. Mark Perna’s book Answering Why has been helpful for me to better understand my coworkers. Mark also takes a very hard-hitting look at the countries love affair with college. I worked at a small university for 20 years and during that time felt that many of the students would be better off heading into the skilled labor market instead of becoming a knowledge worker. Mark goes in to different programs his firm has developed to help high school students and parents understand that the skilled labor market can lead to a very promising and fulfilling career. This book should be read by every parent who has children to show that there are other paths that can bring high pay and a great feeling of achievement for their children. ( )
1 vote fritzs | Sep 21, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a homeschooling parent this book proved itself invaluable to helping with the many questions addressing education and where it can take you. It is an excellent read that not only illustrates the Why but lays out the how. This is a tremendous blueprint that addresses the needs facing our youth as they move forward into the world outside of their education in the primary/secondary years. This is a timely and focused read that will benefit students today and the American economy of tomorrow. ( )
  julieandbeli | Sep 20, 2018 |
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