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Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age [Kindle Edition]

Marty Neumeier
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"A rousing manifesto of mastery in a connected world." –Google

The Industrial Age has taught us how to break problems into parts, but not how to build parts into solutions. We’re baffled when we’re confronted with complex challenges like recession, political gridlock, climate change, childhood obesity, pollution, and failing schools. We see them as separate ills, each requiring a separate remedy—if we can imagine a remedy at all.

Why are so many jobs disappearing? Why are a few people getting rich while the rest of us struggle? How can we pay for the costs of healthcare? Why can’t our trusted institutions behave ethically? What’s the cause of governmental gridlock? How can we afford to educate our children? How do we stop damaging the ecosystem? Why do we create ugliness?

Author Marty Neumeier suggests that these problems are merely symptoms of a much larger problem–our inability to deal with interconnected, non-linear, and amorphous challenges. It’s not that our problems are too difficult, he argues, but that our skills are too basic. Success in the post-industrial era demands that we move our thinking from the static, the linear, and the step-by-step to the dynamic, the holistic, and the all-at-once.

In this sweeping vision for personal mastery in a post-industrial era, Neumeier presents five metaskills–feeling, seeing, dreaming, making, and learning–that can help you reach your true potential. They’ll keep you two or three steps ahead of the machines, the algorithms, and the outsourcing forces of the “robot curve”. They’ll also bring you greater creativity, higher purpose, and a deeper sense of fulfillment.

Metaskills is more than a manifesto. It’s a compass for visionary leaders, policymakers, educators, and planners. It’s a creative framework for designers, engineers, scientists, and artists. It’s a picture of the future that allows people from a wide range of disciplines, industries, and professions to envision new ways to create value together. Perhaps more important, it’s a long-overdue examination of what it means to be human in the 21st century.

Product Description


Metaskills is a rousing manifesto of mastery in a connected world.”



“Fresh, insightful, and highly relevant for today’s business challenges.”



 “The success of all future leaders will depend on their ability to innovate–Neumeier’s book provides a critical roadmap.”



 “Great read. We’re ready for this!”



“Fascinating stuff...really thought provoking.”



“A substantial book written by a true visionary who lays out a way forward in the Robotic Age.”



“Metaskills is Neumeier’s fourth book in ten years, and it’s his best.”



“The process of human knowing has barely begun. Hence the great importance–and significance–of Neumeier’s book.”


About the Author


Marty Neumeier is a designer, writer, and business adviser whose mission is to bring the principles and processes of creativity to industry. His recent series of “whiteboard” books includes The Designful Company, about the role of design in corporate innovation; Zag, named one of the “top hundred business books of all time” for its insights into radical differentiation; and The Brand Gap, considered by many the foundational text for modern brand-building.

In the 1990s Neumeier was editor and publisher of Critique magazine, the first journal about design thinking. He has also worked closely with innovative companies such as Apple, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, HP, Adobe, Google, and Microsoft to help advance their brands and cultures. Today he serves as Director of Transformation for Liquid Agency in Silicon Valley, and travels extensively as a workshop leader and speaker on the topics of innovation, brand, and design. Between trips, he and his wife spend their time in California and southwest France.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10959 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (20 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009W5YA0U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #348,919 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
J. H. Flavell was probably the first to use the term metacognition when suggesting that it "refers to one's knowledge concerning one's own cognitive processes or anything related to them, e.g., the learning-relevant properties of information or data. For example, I am engaging in metacognition if I notice that I am having more trouble learning A than B; if it strikes me that I should double check C before accepting it as fact." That was in 1976.

What we have 36 years later, in Marty Neumeier's latest book, is a brilliant examination of metaskills within the context of a global business world that is increasingly more complicated, confusing, frustrating, and uncertain than at any prior time that I can remember. Neumeier calls it the "Robotic Age" while noting that today's robots are, at best, early prototypes of what are certain to become far more sophisticated than we can possibly imagine now. Human beings must develop both the nature and extent of their mental capabilities (e.g. cognition) if they are to control rather than be controlled by the advanced technologies that await. How to do that? In a word, "metaskills" and Neumeier identifies and discusses five:

FEELING (e.g. intuition, empathy, and social intelligence)
SEEING (i.e. the ability to think, whole thoughts, also known as systems thinking)
DREAMING (the metaskill of applied imagination)
MAKING (i.e. master the design process, including skills for devising prototypes of, for example, robots)
LEARNING (the audodidactic ability to learn new skills at will)

Note: This last talent or metaskill is perhaps the most important, in my opinion, because we cannot understand what is beyond our ability to recognize, process, and assimilate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Argument 5 Feb. 2013
I've read Marty Neumeier's other books which develop strong cases for design as a core strategic tool for the modern organisation. As someone who works in the field of design and innovation management consulting, I devoured them. If you've not read them and you work in the field of design, then you're way behind the curve.

Metaskills is different. It isn't a book about design per se. ZAG et al took his knowledge and experience of design and placed it in the context of the organisation. They were 'white board' primers: consumable in two hours or so and leaving the reader able to exploit design thinking within his or her organisation (or his clients') immediately. And I really did devour them

I savoured Metaskills: it took quite a bit more than two hours. In a good way. The stuff in here is not to be skim read. There's no quick fix via design thinking here (though there are lots of great tips). It's a book that provokes deep thought and provides some great insight about humanity's progress. Marty's perspectives on design are woven seamlessly with his well considered and highly accessible discussion on a range of important issues.

His articulation of the value of problems and spending time them, rather than hurrying to the solution and execution phases of a development, were a particular highlight for me (I tell that Einstein "one hour" story whenever possible). The description of systems thinking as Grandma might see it, is inspired and the best introduction to the topic I've read.

Marty helps us understand why we are operating in a world of increasing uncertainty, change and complexity and why the current modus operandi just won't sustain us. It's a beautiful unpacking of some arguments he is associated with: The Aesthetics of Management (check the [...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big subject told simply 8 Jan. 2013
By david
A lot of design readers will know his previous books which handheld clients and designers through branding, competing and thinking.

However, this is a bigger subject. It tells us about five skills which we will require to confront living and working in the future, i.e., Feeling, Seeing, Dreaming, Making and Learning. I found it very thought provoking and stimulating. Marty Neumeier has a very easy writing style which is rare when discussing such subjects, it makes understanding and adoption of his arguments so much simpler. I strongly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New world. Great book. Must read. 2 Feb. 2014
First let me admit that I am a big fan of Marty Neumeier's books, so I jumped into his latest book with high expectations. I've read The Brand Gap, Zag and The Designful Company, and have been very impressed with Marty's ability to simplify complex situations, give expert advice, and do so with an awesome writing style. Metaskills totally lives up to my expectations, and even takes the conversation further. He gives more concepts, with more anecdotal support, and also challenges bigger issues in Metaskills. He gets into exploring the broad context of cultures, business and people, and what we need to "be" and "do" in the future. I find the content fresh, insightful, well organized, and very relevant for today's business challenges.

Similar to his previous books, he simplifies the message, and in this case breaks the argument down into five core areas ...
- Feeling - which involves intuition, empathy, and social intelligence
- Seeing - involving systems thinking, those wicked problems, looking at the big picture
- Dreaming - never underestimate the importance of imagination and creativity
- Making - and never underestimate the incredible value of the design process in innovation
- Learning - not only embracing continuous adult learning, but challenging our early education system as the starting point.

All presented with ample examples to make it very relevant. Makes me realize it's never to late to take on changing something big!

Make no mistake, this is not a theory book. This is a practical application and how-to-do-it book, and is a great guide about the people skills needed considering the future. As a recruiter of design and innovation talent, these insights are very beneficial for me personally and in my work. I really do enjoy reading Marty's books and have learned a great deal from him. I would highly recommend all of his books, including Metaskills.
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