The major premise and emphasis of the book calls on employees and those in business to look differently at work and how you prepare for it. Knowledge workers or logical thinkers who were in great demand during the Information Age are less in demand in today’s job market. The trend will continue where jobs that require a lot of left brain thinking are being outsourced as companies continually look for ways to cut costs. The author, Daniel Pink, emphasizes the need to be creative and perceptive utilizing the right brain approach to increase your viability in current and future job opportunities.
In the Whole New Mind, Pink defines Left Brain thinking as logical and analytic – people who specializes in text and details. As mentioned above, many of these jobs are being performed by overseas workers or done by computers who can do it much faster. On the other hand, Right Brain thinking is inventive, aesthetic, intuitive, and specializes in context and putting independent elements together to perceive things as a whole. The author emphasizes individuals will need to focus on improving these skills and leveraging them in an ever-changing job marketplace. He also states that eventually, right-brain thinkers will dominate business and everyday life.
Part of this book addresses the terms High Concept and High Touch. Both of these terms are areas of Right Brain thinking and help to provide a framework for this book. Pink says High Concept is the capacity to detach patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to create apparently unrelated into something new. Regarding High Touch, this involves having the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s life and to bring it out in others, and to stretch beyond the most ordinary in pursuit of purpose and meaning.
The author also mentions the term Convention is the Enemy of Progress, which at the surface appears to be very strong commentary about our economy or marketplace although it’s important to view this concept in the right context. In lieu of change, looking at the way we have always done things may not be the right approach to addressing issues or problems. As innovative occurs, we may need to consider ignoring convention and look for new ways in dealing with change.
According to researchers who examined 10 years of emotional data, they discovered the largest gains in careers are in Nursing and Designers where people skills and emotional intelligence are key skills for RNs and imagination and creativity are key skills for Designers.
Later in the book, Pink lists the keys to success and developing and cultivating the six senses: Design, Story, Empathy, Symphony, Play, and Meaning. The end of each chapter is a portfolio or a collection of tools, exercises, and further reading to sharpen the saw.
I thought the author did a good job emphasizing the economic changes and trends, giving readers many examples why our job marketplace appears to be shifting from left to right brain thinking. However, I was somewhat disappointed on the author’s examples and action steps that can be done to help prepare and embrace this change. Yes, the six senses were mentioned at some length in the second half of the book but it felt vague and unstructured on what actual steps can be taken to adjust to this marketplace trend.
The author concludes that those who are slow of foot or rigid minded, the future will be unkind. The greatest awards will go to those who move fast – to those who develop a whole new mind.