Book Review: Independent Thinking (Ian Gilbert)


Quite simply, the wisdom written on the back cover of this book speaks volumes about the contents within, “Do things no one does or do things everyone does in a way no one does” – it’s one of those phrases that stops you in your tracks and gets you thinking. This is what is at the heart of Gilbert’s book – the art of thinking, or independent thinking with many beguiling questions scattered throughout which catch your attention and get you thinking. Big life questions such as, “Is a mum who is abusive towards you better than no mum?”, to observations about the education system, “When teachers talk about education they are referring to what they can get out of young people. When politicians talk about it they are referring to what they can put into young people. It’s important to remember this difference.” As I said, this book will stop you and get you thinking.

For example, the alternative good school checklist has 25 key questions which all leaders, teachers and parents should explore in ensuring that children receive a top quality education; however different people will place a different priority in what they want the pupils to achieve. To me, key chapters in the book (they really are short and very absorbing) included the “How to write a book”, “Trust your gut” and the many ‘observations’ and ‘thunks’ sprinkled within. For those who become absorbed with social media – twitter in particular – will enjoy Gilbert’s 21 ways of knowing you have spent too long on twitter…#soundsfamiliar!

This book should be read and shared with educators globally, and if you don’t have time to sit, read and reflect about education, your life and priorities, then this is the ONE book you should read this year. The ideas and thoughts within would be of great use within staff meetings in order to help keep feet on the ground and remember what the priorities within education should be. There is no definitive answer to this, but the succinct and digestible nature of this book will certainly help all those involved in the system to stop, think and reflect the practice within the school.

Independent Thinking by Ian Gilbert (@ThatIanGilbert) is published by Independent Thinking Press, which is an imprint of Crown House Publishing.

The Book is priced at £9.99, but available from Amazon at £9.69, or available for Kindle at £7.12. Click on link below for information:


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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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