Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Pink Side of the Mind

Have you heard about the book The Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink that Oprah gave to each member of the graduating class of Stanford? I heard an interview with him recently, and it made me want to run out and buy a copy of the book for each member of local school board. In this economy, I just bought a used copy for myself.

A description of the book from Daniel Pink's website ...
"Lawyers. Accountants. Computer programmers. That's what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of "left brain" dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which "right brain" qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate. That's the argument at the center of this provocative and original book, which uses the two sides of our brains as a metaphor for understanding the contours of our times."

In the interview I heard, Mr. Pink reasoned that any jobs that can be mapped out in logical sequential steps (such as technology, accounting and some forms of law practice) are the jobs that are being shipped to Asia. The U.S. of A. is entering a new economy in which a new set of skills will be necessary. He outlines the main skills (the six senses) in his book. These include play, empathy, big-picture thinking among other things.

Ironically, the traits that Pink espouses will be important for a healthy economy and successful job search of the future are exactly the kinds of skills taught in art classes, classes that are being cut out of school curricula at a faster rate than folks cutting out cereal coupons during Our current economic downfall.

I am not going to kick the accountants and other left-brained thinkers while they are down. They are not dinosaurs by any means. I have always advocated a whole mind approach. Though it may seem like I am a right-mind cheerleader--it is only because society has put down creative thinking with disempowering labels of flakiness and woo-woo. In order to achieve balance, I have had to stick up for the creative, non-verbal, non-linear hemisphere. Take back your woo-woos and give me an R!

I am still awaiting my copy Pink's book. I ordered it days ago. I am sure I will more to say when I actually read it. (I am anticipating a lot of AMEN, Brother Pink!) But for now, I wanted to personally go on record as saying: I think our country will soar if traditionally left-brained thinkers add some of these new skills to their repertoire, and if traditionally right-brained thinkers (who, out of survival, have already acquired left-brained skills) are valued for their gifts.

My son is entering the high school next year. With that comes a whole new focus on future careers. I am so glad that this book and the Johnny Bunko comic accompaniment have crossed my path at this time.

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