Monday, March 26, 2012

MBR: A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink

I decided I was going to read a book a week for a year, here's a quick review of this weeks book.  You can see the ongoing list here.

Basic Info

Why I bought it

I love Dan Pink, I find his blog insightful, he shares compelling and interesting content on twitter, and his TED talk on the surprising science of motivation is a must see (Note: it is based on his previous book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us).  

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.

A Whole New Mind was an incredibly satisfying read.  

One of the best books I've picked up so far; and I highly recommend it.

Originally published by Nick Charney at
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