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A Whole New Mind

July 13, 2010

If you haven’t read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink then run out and get it. It is already 5 years old and was a NY Times and BusinessWeek bestseller. It’s probably at your library for free.   Then buy a copy for the administrators at your campus or whatever school you may be at right now.   Here is the first book I have ever seen that makes the case that the right-brained creative types, like us, are the economic hope for the American future.  You heard it right.  Our time has come.

Pink logically walks us through trends of our recent history. First, America has experienced enormous abundance and studies have shown that Americans are not happier for it.  “The United States spends more on trash bags than ninety other countries spend on everything.” [quote from business writer, Polly La Barre]  Second, the technology age in America is reaching an understandable end because knowledge skills can be outsourced to other countries for less money.  India graduates 350,000 engineering students annually.   And finally, technology has reached a point where computers can beat the masters at chess — and a whole lot of other logical thinking as well.  

 So Pink continues by making the case that any commodity that can be done cheaper by someone overseas, computed faster with technology or adds to an abundance of products that we don’t really need is not where the future lies.  Where is it?   The future is in design – right-brained thinking, problem-solving, creative types like you and I are the future.  We don’t make the product, we make the product better and more desirable.

Part two of the book continues on with what Pink calls the ‘six senses,’ skills that will provide us with the advantage over our left-brained counterparts: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning.  Sounds a lot like a theater class, doesn’t it?   Or maybe an art class? Music class? 

So raise a glass to the guy who finally equated economic advantages with the creative skills we have taught for centuries.   And by all means, read the book.

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