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A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future Paperback – March 7, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
With visionary flare, Pink argues that business and everyday life will soon be dominated by right-brain thinkers. He identifies the roots and implications of transitioning from a society dominated by left-brain thinkers into something entirely different—although at times, he seems to be exhorting rather than observing the trend. As a narrator, Pink delivers in a well executed manner, with occasional hints of enthusiasm. He maintains a steady voice that is well suited for a business-oriented text, and his crisp pronunciation and consistent pace keeps listeners engaged and at ease. Updated with new material. A Riverhead paperback (reviewed online). (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Abundance, Asia, and automation." Try saying that phrase five times quickly, because if you don't take these words into serious consideration, there is a good chance that sooner or later your career will suffer because of one of those forces. Pink, best-selling author of Free Agent Nation (2001) and also former chief speechwriter for former vice-president Al Gore, has crafted a profound read packed with an abundance of references to books, seminars, Web sites, and such to guide your adjustment to expanding your right brain if you plan to survive and prosper in the Western world. According to Pink, the keys to success are in developing and cultivating six senses: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. Pink compares this upcoming "Conceptual Age" to past periods of intense change, such as the Industrial Revolution and the Renaissance, as a way of emphasizing its importance. Ed Dwyer
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:
1- "A change of such magnitude is complex. But the argument at the heart of this book is simple. For nearly a century, Western society in general, and American society in particular, has been dominated by a form of thinking and an approach to life that is narrowly reductive and deeply analytical. Ours has been the age of the "knowledge worker," the well-educated manipulator of information and deployer of expertise. But that is changing. Thanks to an array of forces - material abundance that is deepening our nonmaterial yearnings. globalization that is shipping white-collar work overseas, and powerful technologies that are eliminating certain kinds of work altogether--we are entering a new age. It is an age animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life--one that prizes aptitudes that I call "high concept" and "high touch." High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new. High touch involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one's self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning."
2- "With more than three decades of research on the brain's hemispheres, it's possible to distill the findings to four key differences. 1. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body; the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. 2. The left hemisphere is sequential; the right hemisphere is simultaneous. 3. The left hemisphere specializes in text; the right hemisphere specializes in context. 4. The left hemisphere analyzes the details; the right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture."
3- "Three forces are tilting the scales in favor of R-Directed Thinking. Abundance has satisfied, and even oversatisfied, the material needs of millions--boosting the significance of beauty and emotion and accelerating individuals' search for meaning. Asia is now performing large amounts of routine, white-collar, L-Directed work It significantly lower costs, thereby forcing knowledge workers in the advanced world to master abilities that can't be shipped overseas. And automation has begun to affect this generation's white-collar workers in much the same way it did last generation's blue-collar workers, requiring L-Directed professionals to develop aptitudes that computers can't do better, faster, or cheaper."
4- "We moved from the Agriculture Age to the Industrial Age to the Information Age. The latest instance of this pattern is today's transition from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age once again fed by affluence (the abundance that characterizes Western life), technological progress (the automation of several kinds of white-collar work), and globalization (certain types of knowledge work moving to Asia)."
5- "In the Conceptual Age, we will need to complement our L-Directed I reasoning by mastering six essential R-Directed aptitudes. Together these six high-concept, high-touch senses can help develop the whole new mind this new era demands. 1. Not just function but also DESIGN. 2. Not just argument but also STORY. 3. Not just focus but also SYMPHONY. 4. Not just logic but also EMPATHY. 5. Not just seriousness but also PLAY. 6. Not just accumulation but also MEANING."
6- "Design is a high-concept aptitude that is difficult to outsource or automate--and that increasingly confers a competitive advantage in business. Good design, now more accessible and affordable than ever also offers us a chance to bring pleasure, meaning, and beauty to our lives. But most important, cultivating a design sensibility can make our small planet a better place for us all."
7- "Stories are easier to remember--because in many ways, stories are how we remember. "Narrative imagining-- story--is the fundamental instrument of thought," writes cognitive scientist Mark Turner in his book The Literary Mind. ""
8- "Story exists where high concept and high touch intersect. Story is high concept because it sharpens our understanding of one thing by showing it in the context of something else..., Story is high touch because stories almost always pack an emotional punch."
9- ""Storytelling doesn't replace analytical thinking," he says. "It supplements it by enabling us to imagine new perspectives and new worlds. . .. Abstract analysis is easier to understand when seen through the lens of a well-chosen story. " Now Denning is spreading his message-- and telling his story--to organizations worldwide. "
10- "Like drawing, Symphony is largely about relationships. People who hope to thrive in the Conceptual Age must understand the connections between diverse, and seemingly separate, disciplines. They must know how to link apparently unconnected elements to create something new. And they must become adept at analogy--at seeing one thing in terms of another. There are ample opportunities, in other words, for three types of people: the boundary crosser, the inventor, and the metaphor maker. "
11- "Empathy is the ability to imagine yourself in someone else's position and to intuit what that person is feeling. It is the ability to stanc in others' shoes, to see with their eyes, and to feel with their hearts. It is something we do pretty much spontaneously, an act of instinct rather than the product of deliberation. But Empathy isn't sympathy--that is, feeling bad/or someone else. It is feeling with someone else, sensing what it would be like to be that person. Empathy is a stunning act of imaginative derring-do, the ultimate virtual reality--climbing into another's mind to experience the world from that person's perspective. "
12- "Empathy is neither a deviation from intelligence nor the single route to it. Sometimes we need detachment; many other times we need attunement. And the people who will thrive will be those who can toggle between the two. As we've seen again and again, the Conceptual Age requires androgynous minds."
13- ""The opposite of play isn't work. It' 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 "
14- ""Laughter can play a major role in reducing stress in the workplace,' he says. Kataria says that businesses believe that "serious people are more responsible. That's not true. That's yesterday's news. Laughing people are more creative people. They are more productive people. People who laugh together can work together." "
15- "Our fundamental drive, the motivational engine that powers human existence, is the pursuit of meaning. Frankl's approach--called "logotherapy," for "logos" the Greek word for meaning--quickly became an influential movement in psychotherapy. "
The book consists of 2 parts, The first part is short and clarifies left/right brained thinking and what the author means with the conceptual age, the whole new mind and "high concept, high touch". The second part goes over the "6 senses" that will be important during the conceptual age.
Part 1 is reasonable small (about 50 pages) and starts with the author explaining a little bit about how our brain works and a summary of his understanding of the current brain research. Then the second chapter explains the reason for the change from the information age to the conceptual age: abundance, asia, and automation (more on this later), and the last chapter of this part then explains what the author considers the next age, the conceptual age where people will need to use both their right and left brain, their whole brain.
Let me comment a bit on chapter 2, which I found by far the worst chapter in the book. This is important as this chapter is the "reason" behind the start of the conceptual age. Dan Pink claims that the reason for the conceptual age are: Abundance, Asia, and Automation. For Abundance, I think he makes some interesting and good arguments. We're moving from an age where you have more than enough of 'things' and therefore the 'things' that you have are becoming less importance than others such as the ascetic design or spirituality. His discussions about Asia miss the mark completely (having lived in Asia for over a decade). His argument is that left-brained work will go to 'cheaper' people in Asia and that trend will continue. In my opinion, the author is missing a few key points. First, he never clarifies why "whole-mind" jobs wouldn't go to Asia? It seems as if he has the opinion that people in Asia don't have a whole mind, but only the left part. Next, of course, the labor cost is Asia is going up rapidly. Lastly, he frequently refers back to Software Development and in that domain, the amount of offshore development has probably decreased rather than increased. Also on automation, I think he is off IMHO. He is right that automation is going to be more important and that it will influence how people work but he is missing the perspective that automation actually helps people do their job, rather than just replaces their job (a view promoted by the Lean movement). I felt the base of the book was shaky, but I did agree with the fact that the "6 senses" are important and that its importance will grow.
Part 2 covers what Dan Pink calls "the 6 senses" which are 6 'skills' that are extra important in the conceptual age. These are 1) Design, 2) Story, 3) Symphony, 4) Empathy, 5) Play, and 6) Meaning. Each of these sentence has their own chapter (each of about 30 pages) which explains the senses and gives stories and examples (in the typical journalistic style of writing). The stories were enjoyable, and the examples illustrative.
All in all, I felt the book was ok. It was a good read, well written but didn't have any *wow* feelings or strong *aha* moments. The book did what I had sort-of expected, with the exception of the second chapter which I felt provided a poor background to the rest of the book. So, all in all, the book is an ok read yet I wouldn't strongly recommend it and if you ask me what the book was about in a few years, I'll probably have to re-read this review :) 3-stars therefore.
I am in my 60's and taking a ceramics class in a local college.... this book was required reading.....so....it was interesting, after reading it, to sit down and have a book discussion in class with people of all ages....and hear the ideas this book sparked. Mr. Pink brings all the warmth and fuzziness of your grandmother together with the logic of your math teacher and fuses together the import attributes that will fuel this age. Integrating the right minded capabilities of empathy , creativity and all the right brain attributes with the left brain attributes of logic, order etc. I would encourage everyone....of any age.....to read this illuminating book.