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/