Last updated on January 26th, 2019 at 07:56 am

Daniel Pine - A whole new mind

A WHOLE NEW MIND: Why Right-Brainers will Rule the Future

Daniel H. Pink

[Riverhead Books, 275 pages]

The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind—creative, right-brained thinkers whose abilities will be essential for professional success and personal fulfillment. In his provocative and powerful book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future, Daniel Pink explains why creative thinking will be key to our ability to compete in a global market. Providing a daring analysis of the most pressing economic and business issues of our time—the impact of globalization, socioeconomic changes, automation and outsourcing—Pink explains why right-brained aptitudes will be indispensable.

In recent decades, the information era has dominated, bringing with it an age of “left-brained” authority—lawyers, accountants, software engineers have been highly valued professions. But the workplace is changing. Pink suggests that we are quickly moving from the information age to a conceptual era where rational, logic-based thinking is no longer enough to succeed in our economy. Businesses will urgently need designers, inventors, teachers and storytellers. Their creative and emphatic abilities will be essential for success in business, media and marketing.

We have come to a point in the western world where prosperity has created such material abundance that increasingly our interests are shifting to right-brained pursuits and desires such as beauty, spirituality and emotion. Pink feels that this shift will have profound impact on all of us both professionally and personally. It will affect everything from how managers interact with their employees to what products succeed in the marketplace to how products are marketed and advertised.

The conceptual age will demand that corporations combine traditional left-brained reasoning with right-brained aptitudes. Pink refers to these aptitudes as “high-touch, high-concept” abilities that value intrinsic humanistic ideals. Drawing on research from around the world and experts in the field, he provides a thought-provoking and engaging outline for developing six key aptitudes for creative thinking:

  • Design: It’s no longer enough to create a product or service that’s merely reasonably-priced and functional. Consumers are becoming more discerning and products must be beautiful, unique and meaningful. It’s economically crucial to create something that is emotionally engaging and represents an experience or lifestyle.
  • Story: Our lives are brimming with information and data. It’s no longer sufficient to provide just the facts; the essence of persuasion and communication is the ability to tell a compelling narrative. Telling a story that touches people on a humanistic level is becoming essential in all forms of media.
  • Symphony: The greatest demand today is no longer analysis but synthesis—seeing the big picture, crossing boundaries, and being able to combine disparate pieces into an arresting whole. An essential skill will be to understand connections between diverse ideas and knowing how to link unconnected elements to create something new.
  • Empathy: In a world of ubiquitous information and advanced analytic tools, logic alone is not enough. What will distinguish those who thrive in the conceptual age will be their ability to understand human relationships, intrinsic motivations and how to care for others.
  • Play: As we all know, there are plenty of opportunities to be serious but too much sobriety can be bad for your career and general well-being. The scientific evidence is mounting that there are enormous health and professional benefits to laughter, games and humour. Businesses that integrate play into their work days will reap the creative and motivational benefits from their employees.
  • Meaning: Our society of prosperity and material plenty has freed hundreds of millions of people to pursue purpose, transcendence and spiritual fulfillment in their lives. The key to personal and professional image will be embracing and understanding these principles and integrating them wholistically into your life and business.

Pink includes practical and engaging exercises designed to stretch your thinking and shake up your perspective. Encouraging readers to explore and develop the skills of each aptitude, he provides a road map for exploring your creativity. Pink explores each aptitude in depth with real life examples and short case studies. Eclectic reading and resource lists are provided on topics ranging from mindfulness to positive psychology to scriptwriting and design.

The conceptual age will bring with it a demand for imaginative, emotionally intelligent, right-brained professionals who can master high-concept, high-touch abilities. A Whole New Mind is recommended reading for anyone who wants to enhance their humanistic, creative side and integrate these skills into their personal and professional lives.

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