39 pages • 1 hour readDaniel H. Pink
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Daniel H. Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, released in 2005, considers and challenges society’s history of valuing left-brained attributes over creative and empathic right-brained thinkers. Pink, an author of several books on business and human behavior, argues that the age of left-brain supremacy is over, making way for whole-minded thinkers who will define and thrive within the coming Conceptual Age. Pink offers six essential whole-minded aptitudes that are key to achieving professional success and personal fulfillment. This guide draws from the 2006 Riverhead paperback edition of the text.
The society of the previous economic ages has been crafted with logical, linear qualities, relegating those who don’t fit within the neat framework of left-brained rationale to the sidelines. As the Information Age comes to a close and the Conceptual Age draws near, the workforce demands a new type of thinker who can utilize both left-brain and right-brain qualities. The human brain is divided evenly into two hemispheres: The left is consecutive and analytical; the right is holistic and intuitive. These hemispheres, though equal in importance, have been caricatured to reductive representations, resulting in a hierarchy based on misunderstandings. For generations, the conclusion was that the left hemisphere was essential to humanity and the right was subordinate. Pink endeavors to destabilize this notion, arguing that right-brained qualities are and will continue to be in high demand.
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The Conceptual Age is the cultural response to the Industrial and Information ages. Skilled labor and access to information are not in as high demand as in the past; now high-concept work with emotional impact is desired by the workforce. Pink attributes this seismic shift to three major forces: Abundance, Asia, and Automation. A world of abundance has made information and products widely accessible, thus decreasing the value of these products/services and requiring innovation and ingenuity. Pink’s focus on Asia is an examination of outsourcing; Americans can compete with workers abroad by establishing personal relationships. Finally, Automation represents the impact technology—particularly computers—has had on the availability of jobs. Workers can only compete with computers by capitalizing on their most humanizing aptitudes, such as empathy.
American workers can overcome these challenges by mastering six traits that embrace right-brained thinking: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. These skills, Pink argues, meld together the opposite and complementary functions of both hemispheres of the brain, empowering readers to become whole-minded thinkers rather than only utilizing half of their brain. Pink breaks down the importance of each of these senses, using personal anecdotes and scientific data to support his claims. He follows up each chapter with advice on how strengthen each right-brained proficiency, including booklists and activity guides and even suggesting readers seek out laughter clubs.
The SuperSummary difference
As Pink communicates the causes behind societal discrimination towards right-brain-associated traits, he attempts to define what it means to be human and how readers might utilize biologically programmed behaviors for professional achievement.
By Daniel H. Pink