Watching Pink deliver a guest lecturer at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (which you can watch via TVO's Big Ideas as I did) prompted me to add A Whole New Mind to my reading list.
How it connects to the public sector
Pink argues (rather compellingly) that the forces of abundance, automation, and Asia are radically changing the skill set that will make people successful in the new economy. His argument relies on a scientific differentiation between the function and form of the left and right side of the brain. The last century, Pink argues, was dominated by left brain directed thinking (i.e sequential, literal, functional, textual, and analytic) whereas the next century will be dominated by right brain directed thinking (e.g. simultaneous, metaphorical, aesthetic, contextual, and synthetic).
My experience in the public sector thus far bears this out, my success has largely revolved around the fact that I bring different (right brain directed) thinking to groups of people who are traditionally used to a particular (e.g. linear / hierarchical) way of seeing things (left brain directed).
What I got out of reading it
Reading this book right after Godin's Linchpin was incredibly timely. It provided me with everything that Linchpin didn't. In fact, I'd argue these two books take aim at the exact same idea, only Pink delivers it in a way that is scientifically rigorous, evidence based, and therefore far more real and compelling than Godin's. In other words, what Godin explains as inexplicable magic, Pink describes as science. Where Godin says there can be no map, Pink says here are the skills you need to work on (and here is how to get started). As such, I'm going to try to devote more time to mastering Pink's "six senses" (design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning) on this blog and elsewhere; and I've even added some of Pink's suggested reading to my list.