32 Wonderful Howard Gardner Quotes

Howard Gardner is an American psychologist and Harvard Graduate. He is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences as identified in eight different categories. With hundreds of research articles authored by Gardner is has dozens of other written books translated in more than thirty languages. Here is a look at some of the most defining Howard Gardner quotes to know.

“An individual understands a concept, skill, theory, or domain of knowledge to the extent that he or she can apply it appropriately in a new situation.”

“Anything that is worth teaching can be presented in many different ways. These multiple ways can make use of our multiple intelligences.”

“Being creative means first of all doing something unusual… On the other hand, however unusual it may be, the idea also has to be reasonable for people to take it seriously.”

“By nature, I am not an optimist, though I try to act as if I am.”

“Creativity begins with an affinity for something. It’s like falling in love.”

“Education is at a turning point.”


“I am knowledgeable enough about the world of prizes to realize that there is a large degree of luck – both for the recognitions that you receive and those that you did not.”

“I believe that the brain has evolved over millions of years to be responsive to different kinds of content in the world. Language content, musical content, spatial content, numerical content, etc.”

“I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place.”

“If I know you’re very good in music, I can predict with just about zero accuracy whether you’re going to be good or bad in other things.”

“If you are not prepared to resign or be fired for what you believe in, then you are not a worker, let alone a professional. You are a slave.”

“If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance.”

“It may well be easier to remember a list if one sings it (or dances to it). However, these uses of the ‘materials’ of an intelligence are essentially trivial. What is not trivial is the capacity to think musically.”

“It’s not how smart you are that matters, what really counts is how you are smart.”

“Kids go to school and college and get through, but they don’t seem to really care about using their minds. School doesn’t have the kind of long term positive impact that it should.”

“Most people (by the time they have become adults ) can’t change their minds because their neural pathways have become set… the longer neural pathways have been running one way the harder it is to rewire them.”

“Much of the material presented in schools strikes students as alien, if not pointless.”

“My belief in why America has been doing so well up to now is that we have been propelled by our immigrants and our encouragement of technical innovation and, indeed, creativity across the board.”

“No academic ever expects to be taken seriously by more than three other people, because really, we write for three people in our field.”

“One must exploit the asynchronies that have befallen one, link them to a promising issue or domain, reframe frustrations as opportunities, and, above all, persevere.”

“Part of the maturity of the sciences is an appreciation of which questions are best left to other disciplinary approaches.”

“Stories are the single most powerful tool in a leader’s toolkit.”

“Teachers must be encouraged – I almost said ‘freed’, to pursue an education that strives for depth of understanding.”

“Teaching which ignores the realities of children will be rejected as surely as any graft which attempts to ignore the body’s immune system.”

“The ability to solve problems or to create products that are valued within one or more cultural settings.”

“The biggest mistake of past centuries in teaching has been to treat all students as if they were variants of the same individual and thus to feel justified in teaching them all the same subjects the same way.”

“Twenty-five years ago, the notion was you could create a general problem-solver software that could solve problems in many different domains. That just turned out to be totally wrong.”

“We are natural mind changing entities until we are 10 or so. But as we get older…then it is very hard to change our minds”

“We need to focus on the kind of human beings we want to have and the kind of society in which we want to live”

“We should spend less time ranking children and more time helping them to identify their natural competencies and gifts and cultivate these. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to succeed and many, many different abilities that will help you get there.”

“While I’ve worked on many topics and written many books, I have not abandoned my interest in multiple intelligences.”

“You learn at your best when you have something you care about and can get pleasure in being engaged in.”

Howard Gardner shares the best way to go about thinking of success. As the author of several books on this topic, he has dozens of honorary degrees from more than 30 institutions.

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