A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I finally finished this book this week, and would have done so sooner if I hadn't left it at home during a business trip (some other books took priority). I really enjoyed my first Daniel Pink foray. I believe that he makes some really relevant points, and when I consider that this was first published in 2006, it is evident that he was on the forefront of the tidal wave of change that the marketplace has gone through.
Mr. Pink's thesis mainly boils down to the fact that because of Asia, automation, and technology the economy has changed. If a product or service can be made cheaper, better, or faster by any of those three factors, your field of work may be in trouble. The "left-brain" logical, analytic mindset that has dominated the American economy ever since the time of Henry Ford, has been outsourced and can be done just as well or better - AND cheaper - abroad than in the US. The so called "Knowledge Worker" is made irrelevant - all the engineers, the doctors, the service workers, manufacturers - can be provided for less cost by India or China than they can in the US. So what is a US knowledge worker to do?
This is where the brunt of Pink's work comes in. His supposition is that an American worker can no longer just be contained to the left-brain, analytic mindset that is taught in school - he/she must broaden their perspective and mind and use the long dormant and much maligned "right-brain" skills. By bringing a creative outlook to their analytic skills, the New economy worker has an opportunity to bring meaning and purpose to the widgets they produce - in fact, Pink argues that even in order to survive in the new economy, workers MUST bring their right-brain skills to work with them - otherwise consumers will not pay attention or buy the workers' products or services.
There are six areas that Pink outlines - three that jump to my mind right now are Design, Symphony, and Meaning - that workers must learn to employ within their skill sets in order to create products and/or services that people will want.
One of the neat things that sets this book apart is that Pink includes a host of exercises and steps for incorporating or learning each of the six areas that he highlights. Instead of just listing "six steps to a right-brain mindset", he gives you an action plan for how to incorporate these different areas into your life.
I thought it was an easy read, very easy to understand, with a compelling argument. If you're interested in learning how to augment your set of skills with "right-brain" creative qualities, I highly recommend it. And even if you're not, I still recommend the book because you should learn how to incorporate these ideas into your current set of skills - otherwise, you'll be left behind as the marketplace moves forward.
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