ReView of A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
Psychology; 288 pgs
Riverhead Trade Publishing
There is no better way of introducing what this book covers more than the introduction in the book itself. I would like to start with that first and then move on to dissect and reveal the some of the most fantastic secrets of this book (aka. why this book is such a phenomenal bestseller). So here is how the book starts, it is pretty much the premise of this book.
"The last decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind - computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind - creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These people - artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers - will now reap society's richest rewards and share its greatest joys.
This book describes a seismic - though as yet undetected - shift now under way in much of the advanced world. We are moving from an economy and society built on the logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what's rising in its place, the Conceptual Age. A Whole New Mind is for anyone who wants to survive and thrive in this emerging world - people uneasy in their careers or dissatisfied with their lives, entrepreneurs and business leaders eager to stay ahead of the next wave, parents who want to equip their children for the future, and the legions of emotionally astute and creatively adroit people whose distinctive abilities of the Information Age has often overlooked and undervalued.
In this book, you will learn the six essential aptitudes - what I call "the six sense" - on which professional success and personal satisfaction increasingly will depend. Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning. These are fundamentally human abilities that everyone can master - and helping you do that is my goal.
I discovered this book, really, by accident. At first, the title instantly peaked my interest. There has always been this battle between the left-brain thinkers and right-brain thinkers. If and when you read this book, you will discover that "the two hemispheres of our brains don't operate as on-off switches," if you don't already know that. "Both halves play a role in nearly everything we do." "We can't say those functions are confined to particular areas. Still, neuroscientists agree that the two hemispheres take significantly different approaches to guiding our actions, understanding the world, and reacting to events." And what more, "the right brain is the repository of all that is good and just and noble in the human condition." This is the premise on which the book is built.
Daniel H. Pink takes this premise and puts it in the context of the world we are living in today. We have managed to create a phenomenal Information Age. In age of Abundance, Asia, and Automation, as Daniel H. Pink otherwise describes it, we have more information and knowledge than we thought we could have, our jobs are being shipped to Asia because the labor can be done cheaper, and we certainly have technology that can do things much faster than we can. So how do we compete in such a world to provide something uniquely particular to us, human beings, something so undeniably special that can beat overseas knowledge workers that can do things cheaper, computers that can do things faster, and that satisfies the aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual demands of a prosperous time. Well, as it turns out, if you haven't already found yourself thinking about, those things happen to be design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. Maybe not in those exact terms, but you will definitely recognize many of the things Daniel H. Pink mentions to be so prevalent and relevant in the success of your life just as well as in your personal fulfillment.
And so, much of the book talks about these components and about how to master these six essential R-Directed aptitudes to better our lives in a time when we need to do so more than ever. Daniel H. Pink says the following about each of these:
"Design is a classic whole-minded aptitude. It is, to borrow Heskett's terms, a combination of utility and significance." "Design in its simplest form is the activity of creating solutions. Design is something that everyone does every day."
On the Story he says, "Narrative imagining - story - is the fundamental instrument of thought." "Rational capacities depend on it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, and of explaining... Most of our experiences, our knowledge and our thinking is organized as stories." "We are our stories. We compress years of experience, thought, and emotion into a few narratives that we convey to others and tell ourselves. That has always been true. But personal narrative has become more prevalent, and perhaps more urgent, in a time of abundance, when many of us are freer to seek a deeper understanding of ourselves and our purpose."
"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."
"Empathy is mighty important. It helped our species climb out of the evolutionary much. And now that we're upright and bipedal - the big animals on campus - it still helps us get through the day. Empathy allows us to see the other side of an argument, comfort someone in distress, and bite our lips instead of muttering something snide. Empathy builds self-awareness, bonds parent to child, allows us to work together, and provides the scaffolding for our morality."
Daniel H. Pink talks about Play in terms of learning from games saying that "Learning isn't about memorizing isolated facts. It's about connecting and manipulating them." Then he touches on humor, in that "humor, used skillfully, greases the management wheels. It reduces hostility, deflects criticism, relieves tension, improves morale, and helps communicate difficult messages." Both games and humor are important to our success and well-being.
"Man's main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life."
This book offers more, above and beyond, these mere definitions of these six essential aptitudes that are supposedly the hallmark of our right-brain more so than our left-brain. Each section in the book guides you on how to improve these areas of your life. If you believe, you will see, that this book carries a secret that is not yet obvious in our lifetime. It is one, that will soon become more clear, I believe. And after you read this book, I think you will most likely believe so, too.
It's really one of those really powerfully written books. There have only been two book in my life that have had such a magnified impact on me. The first was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho years ago, and now this book. There will be skeptics and critics who are non-believers and will possibly dismiss this book. If you happen to be a believer, and you look to everything in life to teach you how your life can be better, this is one of those books you MUST read. While this book may have a specific audience, anyone can take many great things away from this book, and ironically enough maybe the audience of this book possibly takes for granted the essential secrets of life in this book. It's a great source of power if you choose to believe in it, and pursue it seriously.