No More Gold Stars

Regenerating Capacity to Think for Ourselves

Non-Fiction - Business/Finance
265 Pages
Reviewed on 04/15/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

In No More Gold Stars, author Carol Sanford critically examines the societal impact of behaviorism, tracing its roots to a transformative restructuring a century ago. Behaviorism, focused on observable behaviors, reshaped individuals into compliant entities, shifting societal roles and impacting sectors like advertising and workplace management. Sanford argues for a departure from behaviorism toward empowering paradigms rooted in self-awareness and personal development, drawing from experiences in South Africa to illustrate the transformative potential of empowering individuals. She challenges conventional knowledge theories, advocating for conscious engagement and questioning inherited beliefs to foster independent thinking. Sanford outlines a framework for holistic growth, emphasizing disciplined inquiry and integrity, while urging for a revolution in societal approaches to education, work, and governance, centered on individual self-determination.

There is a lot to appreciate about No More Gold Stars by Carol Sanford, but to me, the best of what was presented was in chapter six where she discusses the roots of the regenerative paradigm in Indigenous cultures and critiques humanism's focus on self-actualization and potential pitfalls like social atomization. It may have been one of the many unique anecdotes that Sanford shares that beefed it up for me, with the relationship between an Indigenous elder and a young shaman-in-training illustrating how developmental relationships foster self-determination, community well-being, and the integration of individual growth with collective contributions. I loved Sanford's writing style, which is comfortable enough to be accessible to all levels of readership but academic in tone so there is no question about her expertise and authority. This is a fantastic guide that would be of benefit in both personal and professional lives, and I do not doubt that all who take it to heart will walk away a better person, leader, and member of society. Very highly recommended.