A Whole New Mind

A Whole New Mind

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Pink, Daniel Riverhead, 2005
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IN THIS SUMMARY

In A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink describes a new era already underway in the global economy - the Conceptual Age. Success in this new era calls for a set of skills and talents that have been largely discounted, historically, in the workplace-- creativity, playfulness, empathy, intuition, and inventiveness. Throughout American history, first the Agricultural Age gave way to the Industrial Age, which then bowed to the Information (e.g., technology) Age. Pink ascertains that the each of these economic shifts came about because of the same three factors: 1) affluence, 2) technology, and 3) globalization; and he makes a convincing case that we are once again at the birth of a new economic era. As in the past, these three social/economic factors, which in the present situation can alternately be called abundance, automation, and Asia, are once again in play, this time driving us into the Conceptual Age. Skills necessary for success in the Agricultural and Industrial Ages were physical strength and endurance. The Information Age called for linear, logical, analytical reasoning (left-brained or L-directed skills). The Conceptual Age, however, will demand we also draw from the right side of our brains, developing what have been consider "soft" (right-brained or R-directed) skills, such as creativity, empathy, and intuition. The Conceptual Age will require a "whole-brained" approach, a melding of R-directed and L-directed characteristics. Pink provides the evidence that the forces are now in place to propel us out of the Information Age and into the Conceptual Age - whether we like it or not - and introduces six essential right brain-directed aptitudes that will be necessary to succeed in this new economy: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. In Part II, Pink devotes a chapter to each of these aptitudes, presenting a case for why each of these skills is crucial in the Conceptual Age (for example, the bewildering design of the butterfly ballot in the 2000 Presidential election which may have altered the course of history) and then a portfolio of exercises to pump up that underdeveloped right hemisphere.