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on 21 March 2013
The point the author makes is solid, but this could have been an essay or a long article. I believe on some level that the author is absolutely right, to thrive and succeed today, we need to think differently about our career than our parents did and make a living producing work that can not be outsourced. The portfolio exercises are fun Edward de Bono derivatives, a couple of writing and drawing challenges were genuinely fun and surprising. However - in my view we will always need people who choose the "traditional" career paths, as they are often the ones who can build scalable businesses. We cant all work in service businesses, cutting each others hair, polishing each others shoes, doing each others advertising campaigns. Moreover, this kind of book will always be preaching to the choir. A programmer, doctor or solicitor is unlikely to prioritize time to read this book, and thus, this is a book for people already working in the creative right-brained field of business, giving themselves a self-congratulatory pat on the back for being smart enough to choose a right-brained career path. (Myself included. :)I would have given more stars, but the chapters kept losing me for lack of succinctness, the same points are made many times and from many angles. This is of course the mark of a well researched and intelligent piece of work, but I would have enjoyed a tighter edit more.
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on 8 August 2015
very insightful book
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on 20 March 2016
We all know that our brain is divided into two hemispheres: left brain and right brain. Whenever I think of the right brain, with its more intuitive functions, such as imagination, creativity, daydreaming, music and art, I think of John Lennon.

And whenever I think of the left brain, with its more logical, linear, sequential, computer-like functions, I think of Star Trek’s Mr Spock. As any Trekkie will tell you, Spock is the guy with the funny ears (actor Leonard Nemoy) who served as science officer (Starfleet service number S179-276 SP) aboard the Starship Enterprise. Spock’s mother was a human schoolteacher, his father a diplomat from the Planet Vulcan, and poor Spock was torn between the rigid discipline of Vulcan logic and the emotionalism of his human side. I am certain that the creators of Star Trek knew a great deal about the way our left and right brains work.

The idea generation process in our brain goes through two stages. In Stage 1, we take the jumble of unstructured data swimming around in our right brain, and start simplifying, categorising, identifying and labelling this data. In Stage 2, we use our logical left brain to process, evaluate, assess and judge the unstructured data from the right brain. Most of us are far too quick to use our left brain. No sooner do we ask ourselves: “What would happen if I tried idea X?” than our left brain tells us that the idea is stupid, illogical and unworkable. Instead of mulling over the ideas thrown up by our right brain, we’re often too quick to jump to the second stage of the thought process, using highly judgmental left brain tools to tackle the ideas generated in our more imaginative right brain.

Our left brain functions like Spock’s. It uses only logic to assess situations. That’s why we must prevent the super-logical Spock, who lacks the ability to feel human emotions, to prematurely intervene in the idea generation process. It is true that without the Spock-like logic processor in our heads, we would never come to any conclusions or make any decision. But we can keep him outside the door a little longer. By allowing ourselves to wallow around for longer in right brain thinking, we will become more spontaneous, less rigid and more imaginative. And unlike Spock (who almost never cracked a smile) - we’ll have more fun, too.

Daniel H Pink takes right-left brain to a new level in A Whole New Mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. He reminds us that Peter Drucker, the father of management science, coined the term: Information Age. Drucker’s knowledge workers (a term he first used in 1959 to describe lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers, teachers and executives) get paid for applying theoretical and analytic knowledge. The Information Age places a premium on activities associated with the left side of the brain.

The age of the knowledge worker is rapidly coming to an end, says Pink. Welcome to the era of the conceptual worker, for whom the right brain is dominant: artistry, empathy, inventiveness, big-picture thinking. Left brain used to be the driver, and right brain was the passenger. Now right brain has grabbed the wheel, has its foot on the accelerator, and is determining where we’re going and how we’ll get there. Interestingly, Pink describes himself as a left-brainer who is grappling with right brain thinking.

Design is more important than function for conceptual workers, says Pink. Story is more important than argument; symphony is more important than focus; empathy is more important than logic; play is more important than seriousness; and meaning is more important than accumulation. The implication of this is that while left brain activities still matter, they are not enough. Left-brainers will not immediately be out of work, but people will have to knock their right-brain muscles into shape. Pink's right–left brain message is not entirely new, but he gets his message across in a clearer and more accessible way.
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on 28 February 2007
James Watson who won the Nobel Prize for helping discover DNA called the human brain, "the most complex thing that we have discovered in the universe." Woody Allen called it "his second favourite organ." Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind, is in many ways a seminal book. It builds upon the fact that a neurological Mason Dixon line divides the brain. The left brain is analytical. While the right brain is more creative. In this book, the author argues that the future will belong to the right brainers which means that the structured MBA, comp-geek will progressively become a no-brainer, so to speak. However, make no mistake; Pink's perspective is no complex cortex compilation. Instead, it's a racy read divided into two parts. The first is dedicated to Asia, Abundance and Automation (slight yawn) while the second part is devoted to the six senses that will be significant in the world of tomorrow. Filled with leads to brain tests and must read magazines, this book is delightful for anyone who wishes to know which minds will be the great minds of the future. The book is also peppered with some lovely quotes: "The guy who invented the wheel was an idiot. The guy who invited the other three was a genius." Or " He who laughs last, doesn't get it." A must read.
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on 12 December 2013
Loved this book-helps make sense of today and tomorrow! So much practical stuff that can be used with people of every age. I will
Implement loads within my school-provides ideas, structure and initiates a million questions about what we do and why we do it. Simply brilliant.
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Ever since Peter Drucker pointed out that the future performance of organizations in the developed world would be in the hands of knowledge workers, we've been blessed with an understanding that the dominant economic focus can shift rapidly into new directions. Prior to that, the industrial age had lasted for over two centuries. The agricultural age that preceded it lasted several thousand years, and the hunter-gatherer age had lasted even longer.
What is the conceptual age? It's a time when due to applying all of our brain's many functions and the many advances of technology that we enjoy, a person can imagine totally different ways to serve and entertain others. Imagination is the limit.
A number of people have preceded Mr. Pink's message in partial ways such as those who have written about the entertainment economy, works about serious play, cataloguers of storytelling best practices and those who consider emotional intelligence.
But I think Mr. Pink's concept is both bigger and more accurate than that which has preceded this book. Most methods of making improvements only harness parts of our capabilities and serve only parts of our needs. Anyone who has sat in a traffic jam recently realizes that. What good is s beautiful sports car if traffic is bumping along at 10 mph? Put that same driver into a Grand Prix simulator, and the person comes alive in a way that's almost beyond belief.
Mr. Pink points out six key opportunities to supplement traditional, linear thinking. These are design, story, symphony (integration of disparate elements), empathy, play and meaning.
I think, however, that Mr. Pink is wrong about these being the primarily undeveloped senses. Given what I've read about brain research, I wouldn't be surprised if aroma, physical touch, musical stimulation, simulation and directed meditation didn't end up being as, if not more, important.
Some will be disappointed that Mr. Pink doesn't give them a manual to operate in the new age. Given how little we know about how to engage one another in these other ways, time will have to pass before we have what amounts to instructions. In the meantime, Mr. Pink does a good job of pointing towards experiences and books that can help with whole brain development.
If you think the problem with the economy is that we have too few engineers, you should read this book. It'll take you ahead into a future you need to start preparing for now.
To give you a sense of how important I think Mr. Pink's concept is, I made this book the focus of this week's briefing for The Billionaire Entrepreneurs' Master Mind.
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on 23 April 2009
Pink's text, explaining the logical way by which we might better harness our approaches and to build on our understandings of how brainpower can help us to become more creative is well considered and easy to read. As designer it is easy to agree with many of the sentiments, though some of the more fine art comments could easily be challenged.

As an entrepreneurial type, working between art and design and business, I find the messages he offers very supportive of the way we have been working in design education for (in my experience) the past few decades. I'd encourage any design professional or business creative to read it.
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on 2 August 2008
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

This is an outstanding book. It is entertaining and easy to read. At the same time, it is very insightful and stimulating. I have read many books on the future of work and this stands out as one of the best. Many business books can be dry and intense or fluffy and nebulous. This one is well researched and well written. After reading this book, I bought all of Daniel Pink's books and every one is great. Highly recommended!
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on 3 May 2009
In this beautifully written book, Daniel Pink points to a shift that we already knew was coming. We have already moved from the industrial age, where manufacturing jobs dominated our societies, to the information age, where the programmers, engineers and medical professionals commandeered our economies into prosperity. However, three things - abundance, asia and automation - is pushing us to the next shift. One that the author calls the Conceptual Age, where creative, synergistic skills, domain of our Right Brain in physiological term, are becoming increasingly important. This book examines what this means, what will the key skills be and how our social preferences, education systems, jobs and ideas need to change to account for this shift.

I shall recommend this book as an essential read for business decision makers, educators and public policy professionals, or anyone wanting to make sense of the future without necessarily wanting to stand in the way of progress.
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on 10 October 2014
Enjoyed Daniel Pink’s guide to right brainers and their inevitable ascendancy.

In some ways the book is more of a reference book than a traditional book. Each chapter closes with a ‘portfolio’ - a list of additional reading, web sites, clubs etc relevant to the material in each chapter. And I found myself being drawn into following up on a number of the suggested references from the portfolios.

The recommendation ‘my favourite business book’ from Thomas Friedman (author of the world is flat’) is not surprising. and, for the record, I enjpoyed Friedman’s book also. The theme is that left brain activity is being automated and/or displaced and that therefore in order to ‘prosper’ one needs to develop one’s right brain.

Six right brain activities are discussed:
Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning.

and lots of the observations/ ideas rang true with me:

Design: John Haskett: ‘human nature to shape and make our environment, in ways without precedent in nature, to serve our needs and give meaning to our lives’

Story: The general availability of facts reduces their importance

Symphony: Great entrepreneurs are systems thinkers, have a passion for the whole, recignise patterns, demonstrate intuitive, contextual reasoning

Empathy - with increasing automation IQ becoming less importance and EQ more important

Play - SW Airlines: ‘people rarely succeed unless they are having fun doing it’

Meaning - the difference between labyrinths and mazes

The book is thought provoking. Interesting to look at how various corporations have adopted and leveraged some of the ideas. And it will certainly be interesting to see whether the poets win out over the MBAs in years to come.
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