Tara Tiger Brown
Genre
Most Recent Book Title
Interest Driven Life
Book Description
Everyone talks about the paths they take in life, but those paths more often resemble train tracks than the wide-open road. When someone is facing hardship or a setback, they have “lost their way” and to rectify the situation they need to get “back on track.” The message is clear - the track is safe, stay on the track.

The journey goes something like this: Be born. Progress to solid foods. Go to school. Don’t miss too many days, get top grades and make sure to participate in extracurricular activities in the form of clubs and volunteer organizations to pad your resume so that you can prove to college admissions that you are a well-rounded person. Apply to a bunch of schools because you probably won’t get into your top pick, or your second or even your third. Hope to fuck you get into something because if not you will end up flipping burgers for minimum wage and you don’t want to spend your life flipping burgers for minimum wage do you?

Once you get into college pick your major, something reliable and practical. Something safe. Something that will make your parents proud. Something you are sure will get you hired out of college because you’ll need that income immediately to start paying off the student loans you racked up earning that degree.

After college lock-in that entry-level position because you didn’t gain any real-world experience during the four years you spent learning so you could become hireable. Work your way up the corporate ladder. Get married, buy a house, have 2.5 kids, make sure they follow the same path. Keep working to help pay for all the school costs your kids will incur. Once they have safely graduated from college and you are in your 70’s you can retire to finally relax and enjoy the good life for the final few years you have before you die.

This is more or less the plan laid out for all of us. Don’t take chances, don’t rock the boat. Do what works, learn to love it. Or at least tell people you love it, and just put up with it. And most people have been happy to follow that path, or they told themselves they were happy anyway, which is kind of the same thing right?

But what if, instead of the path someone else chose for you, you had the opportunity to choose for yourself? A path based on what you are interested in rather than what people told you was safe? What if, rather than learning to love something you fell in love with it first, and then shape your life around it? What if your interests were the driving factor in your life, rather than trying to fit them in your spare time? What if that wasn’t only possible, but preferable? What if we’ve been doing it wrong?

The Interest-Driven Life will explore and answer these questions for both twenty-something readers who are just starting out as well as those looking to reinvent themselves later in life. With personal stories from the authors and interviews with inspiring people (both famous and unknown) who are actively designing their lives around their interests, the reader will see how this is possible. With citations to academic research, the reader will learn that there is something to this idea, that it’s not just the whim of people with excessive privilege. Through exercises and experiments, the reader will learn how and where they can begin to make changes in their own lives that can lead to more time being spent on things they care about, and less on things they don’t - and why this is better for them and the people they surround themselves with.

This is not a “follow your passion” feel-good book filled with platitudes, this is a researched process for actively engaging in and learning about the things that pique your interest, coupled with evidence supported stepped approach to discovering how to rearrange your life so you can spend more of your time doing the things you love.
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Location (city/state/country)
Tokyo, Japan
Author bio
Tara has been exploring Interest-Driven Learning alongside some of the top researchers in the field for the better part of the last ten years. Her work at UC Irvine, as well as the multiple nonprofits and startups she’s founded, have been focused on sharing the positive results with educators, parents, and kids alike. She’s spoken at the White House on several occasions about the maker movement. As a contributor on Forbes, her articles have been widely read and hotly discussed. She served as an advisor during the genesis of YouTube Kids.

Currently based in Japan, Tara has been following her lifelong interest in trees through training to be a Yamabushi (mountain monk), earning certifications in forest medicine and education in sustainability development and leading the Tokyo environmental monitoring club. Her Los Angeles-based company, KitHub, focuses on combining interest-driven learning and hands-on science education, with the intent of unlocking the repeatable patterns behind how following interests can solve real-world problems.

A vocal critic of current education systems, she argues that schools are out of date and by teaching subjects in silos and treating children as a calculated average something important is being lost. She advocates for personalized modes of learning that focus on the whole person and connection to the wider Earth community. Her work, in all its incarnations, puts the focus on skills and competencies, not how well students do on tests.
Professional Speaker Topics
STEAM Education. Makerspaces.
Favorite Quote or Personal Motto

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

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