Friday, July 22, 2005

A Whole New Mind - Moving From The Information Age To The Conceptual Age - by Daniel H. Pink

It has been a while since I added a posting to the Blog. I will be in Tampa much of next week visiting my sister, so before I head South, I want to share an exciting resource that I recent read. Daniel Pink, best-selling author of Free Agent Nation, has recently published a book that I think should be required reading for everyone who wants to understand the subtle shift taking place in the way we process information and knowledge.

My friend, Bob Allard, frequently mentioned in these pages as a source of great ideas and networking tips, simply said to me: “You must read this book immediately.” It only took me a few pages to understand why Bob had made such a strong recommendation. In its review of “A Whole New Mind,” Wired Magazine wrote: “Why right-brainers will rule the future.” As a left-handed and right-brain dominant individual, I heard this message of hope as music to my ears!

Pink’s basic premise in this book is spelled out well on the flyleaf of the cover: “Lawyers. Accountants. Radiologists. Software engineers. That’s what our parents told us to be when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future now belongs to a very different kind of mind. The era of “left-brain” dominance – and the Information Age that it engendered – is giving way to a whole new world in which artistic and holistic “right-brain” abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind.”

The book begins with a quick overview of the neurophysiology of the brain and the essentially different functioned performed by the left and right hemispheres of or brains. Then, drawing from research and case studies from around the globe, Pink shares his views on six essential aptitudes that will determine individual and professional success in the emerging Conceptual Age. The six tools and aptitudes – the Six Senses of the Conceptual Age – form the skeleton and structure of the book.

Design“Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something the world didn’t know it was missing.” Paola Antonelli, Curator of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art. (p. 72)

Story“The story – from Rumplestiltskin to War and Peace – is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind for the purpose of understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” Ursula K. Le Gun (p. 103)

Symphony“Symphony, as I call this aptitude, is the ability to put together the pieces. It is the capacity to synthesize rather than to analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns rather than to deliver specific answers; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.” (p. 126)

Empathy“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate and to connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” Oprah Winfrey (p. 154)

Play“The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression. To play is to act out and be willful, exultant and committed as if one is assured of one’s prospects.” Brian Sutton-Smith, Professor of Education [emeritus], University of Pennsylvania (p. 179)

Meaning- “We are born for meaning, not pleasure, unless it is pleasure steeped in meaning.” Jacob Needleman (p. 209)

Not since I read “The Tipping Point” for the first time have I encountered a book that gave me more helpful and encouraging insight into how my brain functions. Many of my friends are wired as “left-brain” analysts; others are more like me – “right-brain” conceptualizers. This book makes it clear that to move forward in a positive, healthy and productive manner into the future, we have to “put our heads together.” We need one another.

Should you read this book?

It’s a “no brainer”!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not anonymous, I just haven't found a memorable user name that isn't taken. I'm Al Chase's friend Robert Olivier, After I read this I thought more about "story," and like the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz I astonished myself. I got to thinking that Beauty and the Beast is a good paradigm for husbands and wives--the guy is uncommunicative; she thinks he's crude and only thinks about sex (beast!) when he's approaching deep, true love from his direction. And the Little Mermaid--tired of keeping her legs together, she wants to be a real girl, and she's even willing to give up speech for a shot at love. Know any teenagers like that? And Lion King--out to avenge the heinous treatment his father received, like Hamlet and Horus. I can identify. Stories.