In Your Right Mind

Book Review: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future by Daniel H. Pink

Every now and then I read a book that stretches my mind.  I'm not such a free-thinker to do it often, but a friend offered me a copy of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future by Daniel H. Pink and I could feel the stretch starting.  I'd have to say I'm a bipolar brain.  I love people, relationships, networking and music (even though I'm famous for my inability to accurately reproduce it).  But I'm also impatient, interested in facts, have a passion for numbers.  My alarm has sounded.  Daniel Pink's book is a well-researched, meaningful wakeup call for the West and the left brainers in the world.

He builds his case using statistics and studies that document change that has been happening in the last decade.  He talks about how traditional left-brain functions are reducing in significance and importance with each passing study.  In an early chapter titled Abundance, Asia and Automation, Pink reasons that driving forces behind the switch are:

  1. The abundance of information and the ease of access
  2. The disparity in labor costs between the west and Asia and how that difference is compounded by drastic increases in the ease of communication.
  3. The exponential increases in tasks that are being computerized and automated.

He summarizes the penchant of the right side of the brain as "high-concept and high-touch."  Right brain activities are the very things that have been de-valued in business and society over the past 100 years as "touchy-feely."  He stated well that the key questions for the next generation are:

  1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
  2. Can a computer do it faster?
  3. Is what I'm offering in demand in an age of abundance?

"If your answer to question 1 or 2 is yes, or if your answer to question 3 is no, you're in deep trouble."

Or you can avoid the trouble.  Because you can read the remainder of the book and learn that there are six senses that you can develop that will help you make the transition.  The senses are:

  • Design
  • Story
  • Symphony
  • Empathy
  • Play
  • Meaning

The author contends for the need to develop these "senses" and he goes on to explain the reasoning behind the need.  Much of what is written is understandable and reasonable.  At least to me, the arguments and the explanations make great sense.  Each chapter on the six senses ends with a portfolio of ideas and resources to help you strengthen your skills in that particular area.  The author has done a wonderful job of making a defense for the six senses, but also for helping you grow your that skill and strengthen your right brain.

As a student of leadership, I enjoyed the book.  You see, you can try to fight things like outsourcing and automation or you can begin to prepare for it.  I don't want to sound heartless, but the best thing for people sometimes is to accept responsibility for their situation, decide on a best path through the transition and embrace the challenge.  Join the revolution!

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