Lawyers. Accountants. Radiologists. Programmers. Engineers. That’s what our parents told us to be when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future now belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. So says Daniel Pink, author of the compelling must-read, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.
“The era of ‘left-brain’ dominance—and the Information Age that it engendered—is giving way to a new world in which artistic and holistic ‘right-brain’ abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind.”
In his book, Daniel describes a seismic shift that—while not yet fully realized—is already underway in much of the modern world. We are rapidly moving from an economy and culture built on the logical, linear, computer-like capabilities of the Information Age to one built on the creative, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place: the Conceptual Age.
The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind—computer programmers who could crank out code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who would crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.
As we transition from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, these people—artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers—will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.
Three increasingly powerful trends are propelling us toward this new age:
To ascertain the impact of these three forces on your own business, ask yourself the following three questions:
Thanks to these three factors, among others, we are entering a new age. It is an age animated by a different form of thinking and new approach to life—one that prizes aptitudes that Daniel calls “high concept” and “high touch.”
“High concept” involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new.
“High touch” involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the mundane in pursuit of purpose and meaning.
The best metaphor for this seismic shift in thinking is actually right inside your head—the two hemispheres of the human brain. The left hemisphere is sequential, logical, and analytical. The right hemisphere is nonlinear, intuitive, and holistic. You must have both in order to function properly, but our society has been heavily dominated by L-Directed thinking. As the three huge social and economic forces: Abundance, Asia, and Automation continue to propel us into the Conceptual Age, people who master these high concept, high touch, or R-Directed abilities will set the tempo of modern life.
This book identifies six essential aptitudes—”the six new senses”—on which professional success and personal satisfaction increasingly will depend:
Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning.
These six senses increasingly will guide our lives and shape our world. The high-concept, high-touch abilities that now matter most are fundamentally human attributes. After all, back on the savanna, our cave-person ancestors weren’t taking SATs or plugging numbers into spreadsheets. But they were telling stories, demonstrating empathy, and designing innovations. These abilities have always comprised part of what it means to be human. But after a few generations in the Information Age, these muscles have atrophied. The challenge is to work them back into shape.
In my opinion, this book is a must-read for anyone in the creative industry, no matter what discipline. Additionally, the practical strategies, examples and even hands-on exercises found at the end of each chapter are an invaluable resource for any business owner who wishes to thrive and succeed in the rapidly-approaching Conceptual Age.
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