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on November 16, 2014
Howard Gardner lays out "five minds" he thinks are necessary for future societies and workplaces in Five Minds for the Future. He even in a later chapter gives the order in which he believes these five different ways of thinking should be developed. I will try to tell you what they are from memory.

1. The Respectful Mind. Gardner thinks that people should develop a respectful mind early on in their life. Developing a respectful mind just minds developing respect for other people and their differences, being able to understand different and similar ways of thinking and behaving. Gardner argues that in many ways such minds can be developed when societies hold up role models for the younger generations, people who were respectful themselves of differences and who encouraged them.

2. The Disciplined Mind. What people ought to learn to have next, Gardner thinks, is a disciplined mind. When a person has a disciplined mind, they are able to understand the major disciplines needed to function as a literate adult. These disciplines are learned over time, of course, and incrementally. The disciplines include what you would probably think. For a modern American, they would be mastery of the English language, understanding of major mathematical and scientific concepts, a working knowledge of American and world history, an adequate grasp of literature, both American and international, and so on--that is, most of what has been traditionally taught in schools. Gardner does believe, however, that the current educational organization could be rearranged to develop more a disciplined mind; most of those proposal are to be found in his book Multiple Intelligences.

3. The Synthesizing Mind. The synthesizing mind is able to take the deep knowledge she has acquired throughout much of her time while studying the various disciplines and then re-combine it to be able to get a clearer picture of the world. An example of this might be understanding how evolutionary processes (biology) and game theory optimization techniques (mathematics, economics) seriously delimit the scope of certain kinds of human thought and behavior (psychology). That example I just gave, by the way, is not fully fleshed, but you get the picture.

4. The Ethical Mind. In Gardner's use of the words 'respectful' and 'ethical,' the respectful mind is when a mind tries to relate to other minds and understand those minds as people to be respected, whereas the ethical mind is when a person tries to relate what should be the proper thoughts and actions given a certain role she occupies in the workplace, in her society, or in the world. This would involve a doctor, for instance, being on time for his/her appointments or for a lawyer adequately defending his/her client. It could also be conceived of more broadly, as with a civil rights activist understanding that it is part of his/her role to defend other people's civil rights.

5. The Creative Mind. Gardner thinks developing a creative mind is hardest to cultivate but it can be done in small doses, especially when people find new ways to relate to other people, or relate to their roles, or to develop new ideas in a discipline, or find a new and creative way to synthesize. Etc.
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on July 2, 2013
Gardner is my hero. He puts everything in order, discipline, synthesis, creativity and most important, respect and ethics. Without these last two, we are just whistling in the wind. I came out of an immigrant culture. I know what it is to be at the bottom of the heap. I have experienced discrimination, bullying, you name it.

I was born an artist but when ridiculed for my odd art as a child, I set out to make it in this world in other ways. I became a primary grade teacher. Not just any one but took graduate classes at the university to be the best possible in teaching children in a working community to read, to communicate, to hold their place in this world.

I did become an artist making art like no one else by building Installations to bring the experiencers inside the work, to experience through all of our senses, what we have experienced from the time we floated in amniotic fluid before coming into this world. The constant in our world is change, time. Everything is changing micro-secondly whether we like it or not. We'd better be aware of that and roll with the tides as my Norwegian ancestors from the beginning of time adapted to the world of the sea, symbol of our basic planetary necessity, water.

Howard Gardner is so exactly right in why we educate and how. I cannot urge too much his importance. I make a gift of this book to everyone in any sense associated with education, the arts, science, you name it. It addresses the unity of knowledge and what education can make possible in our very lives, no matter who we are.
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on August 23, 2009
Howard Gardner is well known for his development of a theory of multiple intelligences (in contrast to the simplistic notion of a single intelligence measurable by something like IQ). In this book, he goes a step further by describing five "minds" which he believes will need to be cultivated in order for individuals and groups to flourish in the future. This cultivation will require substantial reform of our educational systems, will need to continue for each individual as a lifelong pursuit, and will need to be balanced (in the best liberal arts tradition) in a way that encompasses the arts and humanities along with the usual mathematics, science, and technology.

In my opinion, Gardner's proposed five minds pass the basic test of being reasonably distinct from each other. It could be debated whether additional minds need to be added, but I think that they cover plenty of ground, and are at least an excellent starting point. The five minds can be summarized as follows:

1. The Disciplined Mind has mastered the distinctive ways of thinking associated with a scholarly discipline, craft, profession, or other practice. The resulting expertise goes well beyond the erroneous or inadequate approaches laypeople would employ, and often involves the ability to conceptualize problems in multiple ways. Such mastery doesn't generally come naturally and therefore typically takes about a decade of steady effort to develop, followed by continued education and practice to maintain it; coaching and mentoring can be a big help in this regard.

2. The Synthesizing Mind is skilled in drawing information from various sources and organizing it in sensible ways, making useful connections while avoiding false or unproductive ones. Since we tend to operate in domain-specific ways and are driven toward specialization, synthesis doesn't come naturally, but we yearn for it. We often achieve it in the form of narratives, taxonomies, complex concepts, rules, aphorisms, metaphors, themes, theories, metatheories, works of art, etc. Interdisciplinary work explicitly aims for synthesis.

3. The Creating Mind breaks new ground by putting forth new ideas, new ways of thinking, unfamiliar questions, and unexpected answers, and then ideally also gaining their acceptance by others. Not surprisingly, creators are much rarer than "mere" experts and have traits like willingness to deviate from the crowd, perseverance in the face of difficulties and failures, comfort with turbulence, and eagerness to continue pushing boundaries (even after achieving success). But creativity isn't simply a result of individual "genius," since sociocultural context can also play a large role.

4. The Respectful Mind recognizes and accepts the diversity among individuals and groups and thereby shows tolerance and the ability to collaborate effectively with others. Ever-intensifying globalization makes development of the respectful mind an imperative.

5. The Ethical Mind ponders one's work and society's needs at a more abstract level than the respectful mind, and then finds ways to go beyond self-interest and instead also serve others. Ethical work is "good work" in the senses of being of excellent quality, responsible to the community, and engaging in a way that provides meaning.

Gardner does an excellent job in this book of fleshing out the five minds and illustrating their importance. He does this by drawing on his formidable erudition and giving a wonderfully diverse range of great examples. His writing is also exceptionally clear and the book is very well organized. As a result, I found it very easy and enjoyable to read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in their own personal development and continuing education, the education and development of their children, service to society, and the welfare of the world. This book has made me an appreciative fan of Gardner and I look forward to reading his other books. Also, readers who like this book may also want to check out Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: How Self-Education and the Pursuit of Passion Can Lead to a Lifetime of Success by James Marcus Bach.
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on May 16, 2013
Howard Gardner continues his research about multiple intelligences and thinking frames in this book about what are the essential areas that the younger generations should be brought up in through education. There is nothing revolutionary about what he writes. But there is something to be said about writing on what the essence of education should be. It is such thinking that cuts through the various education wars that are happening today - over the subject content, over the curriculum frameworks, over the skills that need to be taught. Gardner brings the focus back to what we should equip our children with - the need to think with clarity over what one is exposed to, whether in writing, conversations or otherwise. A good read, easy on the eyes and yet creates the need to digest over the content over a very long time.
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on July 11, 2013
So many good ideas and research about education makes it so hard for us teachers to have an overview that rises above and can give us a path so "of all there is to teach what must be tought" in order to balance the tendencies of to industrialize education which altough it is necessary for economic development it would be a disastrous lose of humanistic knowledge for human kind with the danger of dehuminizing education . Howard Gardner is one of my favorite Gurus of Education, his overview gives us a universal approach to education, inclusive and ehical I as a Mexican educator feel part of this master vizion that will unite world education with respect of diversity and value of what it enrich universal knowledge.
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on January 22, 2014
I always think it's interesting when academicians divert from what they know best (i.e. research) and delve into hypothetical theorizing for popular press. I found this book (and the theory within it) intriguing, but not as interesting as I would have found a theory that was well-founded in evidence. Plus, some of the "minds" Gardner discusses are not as well developed as the others.
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on May 26, 2012
often when people read something pertaining for the future they forget it was written in the past. Therefore the future referred to is in the 'Long Now' which started once the book was published. This book sits very comfortably with in the time and place I sit in right NOW. It may be a long time for me before it can be dismissed as some past set of ideas more suited to the last centuary. It challenges us to think about how we should behave in the stage of our lives we find ourselves in. Some may be see it as an adjunct to their other guides for living whilst other will recognise it as a challenge to improve their style in the game of life. We can dig deep into it or skim through it with some sense of application. Whatever we do it is well worth the experience and pleasure of exploring.
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on May 30, 2012
Ordinarily I would not comment on a book reviewed by many others. However the importance of the author and of the issues he takes up require pointing out serious problems with the exposition.
The gravest one is suggesting education as a main change agent, in some mix with parents, peers, mass media, leaders, grass-root activists etc. Thus, in respect to "respectful minds" the author states "short of peace pills or widespread extirpation of those brain nuclei or genes that support aggressive behavior, the only possible avenue to progress lies in education broadly conceived" (p. 106). This leaves wide open the crucial problem how first to bring about radical changes in teachers, parents and so on, which the book ignores. Without outlining at least half-realistic ways to bring about on a large scale the recommended transformations of minds, the prescriptions of the book are not more than exhortations.
Related is emphasis on changing individuals without taking up transformation of broad societal features as a necessary condition for changing individual minds. Thus, expecting many "ethical minds" in societies dominated by fanatic ideologies, or by greed and consumerism, is a delusion - tied in, inter alia, to misunderstanding of the nature of faiths and cultures and their potentials, in part thanks to effective education, to bring about absolute evil.
Striking is the neglect of politics and politicians. If money is a main factor influencing the outcome of elections, together with unsavory relations of candidates with mass media, but unavoidably politicians are in charge of critical future-shaping choices, including on public education - then, clearly, radical reforms of politics, also in democracies, are a must for achieving the honorable goals postulated in the book. But this imperative is completely ignored by the text.
The most critical issues facing the human species are survival and deciding on possibilities to change itself - such as by "human enhancement." These fateful challenges are radically novel, resulting from the unprecedented capabilities to shape human futures supplied by science and technology. Therefore, the most important "minds" needed for the future include good understanding of science and technology and their possible implications for better or worse, long-term thinking and action in terms of the human species as a whole, pondering and deciding on high-stake future-shaping "fuzzy gambles" in the face of thick uncertainties, and value transformation fitting survival requirements and self-transformation potentials - including counter-conventional ones such as strict regulation of science and technology. None of the five minds proposed by Gardner takes up squarely these pressing requirements.
Nothing said disparages in any way the important contributions of the author on "multiple intelligences" and other subjects. Having learned much from other books by him, I expected much from this book. All the greater was my disappointment that he missed this missed opportunity to make a great contribution to exploring the "minds" really needed for the future and on ways to nurture them.

Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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on September 27, 2013
Gardner's philosophy on multiple intelligences is really great stuff, and I respect the man. However, this particular book of his is just WAY too wordy for such a simple premise. I know you said you wish Amazon would get rid of the rating system, Howard, but I have to tell you, this book needs some editing!
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on September 29, 2016
Needed it for a Master's Class, but enjoyed every minute of my reading.
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