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Dream Differently: Candid Advice for America’s Students

Publisher: Regnery Publishing • August 1, 2017 • 256 pages

College debt is rising just as employment opportunities for new grads shrinks. This is the central challenge that Dr. Vince Bertram confronts in his new book, Dream Differently.

Dream Differently: Candid Advice for America’s Students addresses those students directly, asking them to identify their dream and, instead of changing it to fit the realities of the economy, understand the other actions they can take in their life to make those dreams work for them.

Dr. Bertram comes to the table with a deep background in what he is preaching, serving as the CEO of Project Lead the Way, which makes the K-12 classroom a more realistic learning experience to encourage students to pursue STEM fields in their post-graduate life.  He’s been a principal, a superintendent, an education expert, and a frequent author for notable publications, so when he offers advice for students, they would be wise to heed it.

Bertram asks students at the outset of the book: Do you have a dream? This question leads to an in depth look at what it really means to have a dream and a path to achieving that dream, which far too many lack when entering the real world.  Saying you want to be professional musician or a writer is simply too broad, he argues effectively. How do you plan to get there? College, most likely. Then what? Do you need a graduate degree?  Have you thought about careers within your desired field, what they can offer, et cetera? These are some of the big questions that Bertram poses in order to help students succeed.

Dr. Bertram not only offers his own advice but argues for and against the advice of others, including Allen Bloom and Steve Jobs. While both men’s arguments on college, the liberal arts, and pursuing your dream have merit, they must be taken with a grain of salt. Being “foolish” and “hungry” doesn’t have to mean dropping out of college, especially when college is a necessity for many careers these days. Enjoying a liberal arts education doesn’t have to mean spending every hour in Women’s Studies Courses and foregoing statistics.

While Dr. Bertram obviously thinks STEM careers are the way of the future, he argues for the merits of a good writing course, the necessity of understanding your own dream, and offers career advice applicable for all. Dream Differently: Candid Advice for America’s Students should be required reading for all high school students.


Original CBC review by Aryssa Damron.

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