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Prepared

What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life
Written by: Diane Tavenner
Narrated by: Pamela Dillman
Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A blueprint for how parents can stop worrying about their children’s future and start helping them prepare for it, from the cofounder and CEO of one of America’s most innovative public-school networks

Bill Gates' Holiday Reading List

"A treasure trove of deeply practical wisdom that accords with everything I know about how children thrive." (Angela Duckworth, New York Times best-selling author of Grit)

An educator and mother, Diane Tavenner cofounded the first Summit school in 2003. Summit Public Schools has won national recognition because 99 percent of Summit students get into a four-year college, and Summit students finish college at twice the national average. But in a radical departure from the environments created by the college admissions arms race, Summit students aren’t focused on competing with their classmates for rankings or test scores. Instead, students spend their days solving real-world problems and developing the skills of self-direction, collaboration, and reflection, all of which prepare them to succeed in college, thrive in today’s workplace, and lead a secure and fulfilled life.

Today, thousands of educators, tens of thousands of students, and hundreds of schools across 38 states and the District of Columbia have embraced the Summit model.

Through personal stories and the hard-earned lessons of Summit’s exceptional team of educators and diverse students, Diane Tavenner shares the underlying learning philosophies and unconventional wisdom that lead to all children being prepared for school and life.

Praise for Prepared

"In a world filled with lots of parenting advice, Prepared cuts through the noise, offering a no-nonsense guide for raising curious, confident kids. Diane shares the secret sauce behind Summit’s success and how we can make sure that all kids can have the same opportunity." (Jon Deane, CEO of GreatSchools)

"Prepared is compelling and actionable. It tells the story of why we all must do this work. We must prepare every child, not allow luck or circumstance to dictate their future - and ours." (Dr. Priscilla Chan, CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, pediatrician, and mother)

"Diane Tavenner is one of the leading thinkers in education today - her energy and insights are infectious. There is no one better to think big about what kids need, and who can roll up her sleeves to make it happen." (Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy)

©2019 Diane Tavenner (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“Diane Tavenner is in a class by herself. But now, fortunately, we can all sit in her classroom by reading this book.” (Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance)

“With Prepared, Diane shows us that we don’t have to choose between success and fulfillment for our children. They can have both. Diane created the kind of schools we all want for our kids - schools that combine rigorous academics with real-world experiences and give our children the opportunity to figure out who they are, understand what motivates them, and know how to achieve it.” (Todd Rose, director of Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of The End of Average and Dark Horse)

What listeners say about Prepared

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Good for Teachers.

It’s inspiring, but more autobiographical than instructive. As a book to prepare kids, this will not benefit the reader. Look to ‘The Yes Brain’ or ‘The Formula’ as better sources of information.

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  • Nicole
  • 2020-01-11

Terrible messages

I saw this was on Bill Gates’ recommended list so got it - it’s a soap box for Summit schools supported by the Gates Foundation. This book has little depth but reminds me of the problems of today’s school system. Everything has to be fun - so all learning is group-based “project-based learning.” I agree you have to know the relevance of your work but you also have to sit down and get work done. Memorize and study. The author, who started Summit, defends that kids don’t have a textbook but instead learn by videos. How does that prepare you for real world. And one kid tried a computer programming internship but didn’t like it because he only likes working in teams. My interpretation - he has no idea how to sit down and do work on his own. How can we compete with kids from China, Korea, or India if kids here are so spoon faced and avoid the hard work of studying, memorizing, referencing text books. The author didn’t let her son do traditional martial arts because it is competitive with tests and winners. She says in multiple examples everyone is a winner and there should be no test to say otherwise. For instance everyone in a class pops balloons and is disappointed to learn the lesson is there is no winner. Is our bar in the U.S. this low? This is not just about a school for at-risk youth this is the mentality of the next generation that leaves us eating the dust of other countrys’ success. I had to stop listening.

12 people found this helpful

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  • MelMal
  • 2020-02-05

Doesn't deliver

The combination of the author's writing style and the narrator's voice often come across as pompous. The book can't quite decide what it wants to be and results in an awkward mixture of autobiography and ad for the author's Summit school system in the Bay area. Early in the book, the author promises practical advice for parents and educators who want to empower children to be prepared adults. However, the author only gives vague examples until one of the final chapters quickly lists some concrete strategies that don't require sending your child to one of the narrator's Summit schools. There are some interesting ideas but they are covered in early chapters and the book is pretty repetitive from thereon out. The author repeats the statistic that 98% of Summit students are accepted to college. However, she never really discusses other factors that might impact that number such as the overall student demographics, teacher-to-student ratio, funding per pupil (although start-up funding is mentioned at point), etc. Overall, the book isn't nearly as helpful or insightful as it promises to be.

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  • Robert and Amy
  • 2020-03-30

Great for anyone working with school-aged kids

Wonderful insights that the normal educational system is too afraid to attempt. Start from scratch today, knowing what we know now, and you'll have a system that prepares kids for any successful future. should be required reading for all superintendents and school boards.

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  • Allen
  • 2020-03-06

Hurray for Summit Schools?

If you are going to listen to this, listen to it on 150% playback. The narrator read what is essentially a 8 hour pitch for why a school your kids likely don't have access to is the best possible school, in the most breathy and drawn out manner possible. With that said, I will admit there are some interesting takeaways from this book... especially around defining the building blocks for successful learning, instilling a self directed mindset, and the benefits of project based learning. However everything else is the biography for Summit schools... of which there are only a handful in the Seattle, Tacoma, San Francisco, and San Jose areas. For everyone else this book simply highlights the problems in your local schools, most of which are out of your direct control. In summary I suppose... this book is great for starting a movement to reform how we teach our kids, and total rubbish for helping parents who purchased it get their children actually "Prepared" for a fulfilling life.

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  • Danielle Andrews-Lovell
  • 2020-08-24

Insightful

Thought this was really insightful regarding rethinking school but also reminded me of what’s needed for my personal success as well. It’s never too late!

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  • Carolina Villamizar
  • 2020-08-22

a new path for education

great success story in education, but I wonder what has been done for those kids that don't learn the same way or have disabilities. A 21st century approach hopefully can be replicated and teachers mindset can be changed.

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  • Matthew Sechler
  • 2020-03-10

Revolutionary

This book is fabulous. It’s everything our public ed teachers need to hear and be doing! Stop using the system as an excuse for not preparing kids. Just do it!

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  • buihaian
  • 2020-03-08

To survive the noise of parenting

Must read for parents that have children entering schools, as early as possible. But you need to have an open mind and persistent to change

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  • Michael
  • 2020-03-08

Smart ideas

This book is full of a lot of smart ideas. Most of them, educators have known for a very long time. However,We don’t usually have the tools or resources to do anything about it. This book offers resources that can help. I hope that some of them do. They seem to be working for the author.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-03-05

Edu-marketing at best

I wanted to listen to this book because it was recommended on Bill Gates’ EoY list. Unfortunately, I found the entire experience frustrating to listen to. While I don’t doubt the success of the Summit school, the broad application of these tenants is in my observation dangerous without full investment. Further, the book is more about declaring isolated (fantastical?) success. Not recommended.