Executive Book Report – A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

Business thinker and award-winning author Daniel H. Pink explains how the new creative work force will take over business critical ideas in his book A Whole New Mind – Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. Named as one of the top 10 thinkers in the world by Thinkers 50, Pink lends his vision and amplifies his beliefs that in order to succeed in business you will need to use both sides of your brain.

According to Pink, our society is transitioning from the Information Age into the Conceptual Age. There is no doubt that many of the Information Age jobs will be replaced by globalization and automation. We are already seeing this shift in application production. Countries like India and Russia can provide software development for corporations at a fraction of the price than the American workforce. Automation advancements are already in the works and can be seen by the research of self-driving cars and food delivery robots. Robots are now even writing news articles based on algorithms and trendy words. In our new world, Pink asks the following questions:

1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
2. Can a computer do it faster?
3. Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?

If you find that your career is stuck in the era of the Information Age, most likely the answer to these questions is “Yes.” In order to find better career longevity, it is advised by Pink to find ways to move ahead into the conceptual job market and A Whole New Mind is the right book to help you get there. By using both sides of your brain, you can accomplish more. Creativity is the new business skill needed by all professionals that want to increase their credibility in the corporate world. Pink also argues that in the new corporate world MBA degrees have less prevalence than MFA’s. Graduates with Fine Arts degrees are in high demand because through their creative lenses they can decipher and solve larger business problems that aren’t seen by people who have Business degrees. Pink gives insight to how musicians, painters, poets, and even people who have dyslexia have more problem-solving skills that will thrive in the new economy.

According to the book, there are more creative Americans than ever. As a matter of fact, people who have careers as writers have gone up by 30% and musical composers and performers have risen 50% since 1970. Globalization will overall reduce the amount of American software developers, lawyers, and accountants. And most importantly, more Americans today are working in arts, entertainment, and design than lawyers, auditors, and accountants.

A Whole New Mind engages ways for the reader to exercise and implement right brain thinking. Chapters include topics of Design, Story, Empathy, Symphony, Play, and Finding Meaning. While Pink has expanded on all of these chapters, I think each element could be utilized and designed per personality types. For instance, musicians who enjoy creativity by playing music might not find the chapter on playing video games as creative as non-musicians.

Throughout the book Pink throws out extraordinary points for triggering the right brain. Some suggestions such as learning how to draw can be a great way to practice Symphony. It quickly enables a right brain response that creates a vision of a bigger picture. By practicing storytelling, the reader will also find parts of the brain that are needed to spark a creative storm that will process thoughts from beginning to end. On the further end of the spectrum, Pink also suggests searching for meaning in life. Some suggestions for this include taking a Sabbath, walking labyrinths, or measuring your spirit.

I found the book to be quite interesting. Overall Pink offers very creative ideas for triggering right brain response that can come in handy as the book is being read. There were several exercises and techniques at the end of each of the chapters that I actually practiced in the past. At one point, I began to think about my lost creative soul. I wondered why I had stopped practicing so many wonderful right brain exercises and it quickly brought back memories and reminders that I need to get back into the creativity game. Having worked as a creative musician, designer, and developer I found some of his points to be a little bit off base. This may just be from my perception. I’m not thoroughly convinced that corporate culture favors workers with MFA’s over BFA’s. Merely from experience it seems that there are way more MFA’s in the corporate culture. However, when I worked in a digital agency, this was the opposite.

Today there are a lot of specialized graduate degrees that cover creative arts such as User Experience Strategy, User Experience Design, Business Strategy. I think these will have a further pull than someone who has a Fine Arts degree in say painting. I have friends with MFA’s who struggled as artists and could not find office work. They eventually had to go back to school for grad degrees in teaching only to take on work as teacher assistants. I think this book is targeted for people in the corporate world who rose to into Information Age jobs, or jobs that don’t allow enough use of the right side of the brain.

Overall, I recommend this book. Pink has an overabundance of stellar tips and tricks to bring creativity to your life. His book recommendations and creativity tips at the end of each chapter are also very intriguing, I definitely want to check out some of his top picks and learn more about him and read his other books.

Check out more from Daniel Pink as his website: http://www.danpink.com/

Out of darkness

When I think about my life in the past, I wonder if all of my beliefs are true. I find my good memories to be particularly hazy, while traumatic events stand strong. I often wonder if my traumatic memories are accurate. They seem to be more engraved in my mind than I would like. A recent event in my life that gave me perspective on these thoughts was the birth of my daughter. Her brightness shed new meaning into my life and gave me a sense of caring that I had never experienced previously. From her birth to 23 months, I have gained a stronger sense of self than I have ever known. I now have to be responsible with my thoughts and actions in order to give my daughter a positive upbringing into the world. By doing so, I paint my life as narrative. My experiences in the world are perceived through sensory perception or “sense data” as empiricists would say. I see how my past experiences have defined who I am for either, better or worse. By sharing memories of my past with my daughter, I find myself focusing on the positive memories which consequentially disprove any false beliefs that I had from my past.

According to Linda Zagzebski, in order to live a life of conscientious belief, I need to find a way to distinguish my true beliefs and separate them from my false beliefs (Zagzebski, pp 86). She places emphasis on our human need to care about a lot of things. But, when we as human’s care about a lot of things, we also tend to believe true beliefs as well as false beliefs. Therefore, we need to be cognitive of our beliefs and distinguish which beliefs are false so that we can responsibly convey our true beliefs. The practice of recognizing our true beliefs and false beliefs is being conscientious of our beliefs. While there is no guarantee that our beliefs will always be true, being conscientiousness requires us a self-trust to believe that our beliefs are indeed true.

As I have grown older, I have found it easier to reflect on my past and recognize false beliefs. By setting them aside, I can allow my true beliefs to reveal my nature as a person. It was Reneé Descartes who describes in “Meditations on First Philosophy” that he had discovered a large number of falsehoods that he had accepted as true (Descartes, pp110). “I realized that it was necessary, once in the course of my life, to demolish everything and completely start again right form the foundations if I wanted to establish anything at all in the sciences that was stable and likely to last (Descartes, 110).” To me this means that false memories can conjure a deceptive view of the world or situation. By removing falsehoods from our lives, we can be our truer selves and display greater confidence in our choices. Deception in our mind will hold us back from our greater potential which will not allow happiness to transcend in our lives.

By coming to terms that my memories may be compromised by both true and false beliefs, I also understand the thought that memories caused by trauma can be magnified and have a tendency to stand out or be more realized. By focusing on positive memories that tend to be hazy, I can bring them a new light. A light that brings these memories back into focus, which I believe brings meaning to my life as a new dad. Also, to recognize these beliefs and think responsibly as we share ideas with colleagues, comrades, or peers we can build “a community of epistemic trust” as described by Zagzebski (Zagzebski, pp86).

On the other hand, I see how Locke’s memory theory works, “Personal identity persists over time because you retain memories of yourself at different points, and each of those memories is connected to the one before it (Video #19).” I feel that as we grow older, we lose sight of our memories. There are many memorable moments in life, but we do not have the capacity to remember everything. I find in myself that memories seem to get fuzzy, or amplified depending how I processed the memory recall.  Also, according to the video, one of the problems of personal identity is that “If personal identity requires a memory, then none of us became who we are until our first memory. Which means we all lost at least a couple of years at the beginning (Video #19).” I disagree with this statement since my daughter has an amazing memory, she recalls memories from the day before, all the way to past five or six weeks. It seems that she can remember everything including the bug that I smashed with my shoe on the floor five weeks ago.

I never imagined that I would be a father, but when my daughter was born, all of my memories went out the window, all except for one. I remembered almost quite vividly being born, or at least acknowledging a memory of being born. I shared it with my daughter as I held her fragile life, which only weighed 7lbs. She was the tiniest being that I had ever seen, I was amazed by her hands, fingers, toes. Everything about her was so tiny, she seemed unreal. I remember taking her home, and my first thought was, how are we going to take care of this little person? In my mind, she had trait qualities of a person. She exhibited simple emotions, I knew when she was unhappy and wanted either milk or diapering. I knew when she was sleepy, because she slept, I knew when she was experiencing tummy troubles, because she would scream constantly. During the first ten months, I remember my daughter was fanatical about the ceiling fan. She would stare at it with such curiosity, I wondered to myself if she was going to be engineer when she grew up. Her curiosity sparked my curiosity. Her positivity helped engage my positivity. Having a child gave me a profound sense of responsibility.

I no longer have the memory of being born, but at the time it was so strong. I now question the validity of it, since it may have been a false belief, or perhaps it was a memory theory. After this memory disappeared, new memories resurfaced.  Today, I find myself focused on sharing positive stories with my daughter as they relate to our family.

Having my daughter alleviated me of the thoughts of trauma. I began sharing stories about my parents and my upbringing. My travels around the country, happy stories that were distant memories came flooding back from my past. I gained a new understanding and knowledge of myself and my beliefs. I never thought I could ever be a father. My parents passed away before I was 23 years old, which is why I never thought I would have kids. My belief was that I needed to have my parents around in order to help me raise my kids.  This turned out to be a false belief.

I found that after I had my daughter, my life narrative had also changed. There was a dramatic shift, traumatic experiences from the past started to get hazy whereas good memories started to stand out. Positive beliefs about myself encouraged me to return to school. I found myself to be more productive at work even though I wasn’t nearly sleeping as much. When I was in position where I couldn’t find an answer, I found that I could make everything work out somehow.

Even though I experienced both wonderful and traumatic experiences, the traumatic experiences from my memory always stood out as a narrative for my life. My parents died, I was mugged, I moved several times around the country and had to start over, I witnessed 9/11 first-hand, I struggled, etc….  In order to come to terms with my false beliefs, which I believe were primarily traumatic, I had to stand outside of myself to gain a new perspective. Questions that would arise as I practiced this method were: Did my parents really leave me? Do I really have a choice as to whether or not I’m going to be mugged? What if anything can I do in the future to prevent such an event from happening? After analyzing such questions, I found new hope from my memories. By questioning false beliefs and coming to a broader understanding, I can now live more confidently and have epistemological trust in my society.

In conclusion, becoming a parent has not only been a narrative experience in my life, but it also has changed the narrative. My beliefs and memories from past experiences have evolved and become clearer. As I share stories with my daughter, I am sharing stories of hope and courage rather than fear. I have new fond memories of my parents every time I share photos to remind my daughter of her grand-parents. I used to hide these photos because they brought heartache and despair. As I share them with my daughter, I am so happy and grateful that I had parents that loved me. The other day I sternly asked my daughter, “What is the meaning of life?” I looked at her seriously as she ate her dinner. She looked at me with concerned eyes, brought her hands over her face, smiled and said, “Peek-a-boo!”

Works Cited

 Zagzebski, Linda. “Caring and Epistemic Demands.” “Exploring Philosophy, an Introduction to Anthology” (2015): 85-88. Book

Descartes, Reneé. “Meditations on First Philosophy.” “Exploring Philosophy, an Introduction to Anthology” (2015): 110-113. Book

Locke, Berkely, & Empiricism: Crash Course Philosophy #6

Personal Identity: Crash Course Philosophy #19