Here’s my review that went up on 1800CEOREAD this morning and that I mentioned in my earlier post called, Spreading My Tentacles!
I have been feeling quite bored with the usual business stuff for some time. Bored with talk of efficiency, bored with most business books (like Johnnie), bored with the usual chatter on most of the 98 business blogs I read (and that stuff is infinitely more interesting than what´s in the magazines and books).
It´s a bit worrisome, because I endeavor to be a great and well paid business writer and consultant. I can see the impact my lack of interest is having in my blog posts, too. Once or twice a week I psych myself up to say something that makes me think. These are the posts you like, too. The other days, I´m not giving readers anything special, and it shows. Sorry about that.
After procrastinating for a while, I cracked open the new book, A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. I agreed to do a review of it for Todd at 1800CEOREAD.com. That´s the only reason I opened the book. Had I not made the commitment, I likely would have never read the book. It would have sat in the stack with the other books I have been meaning to get to.
Here´s the irony. Had I not pushed past my apathy toward reading the book, I would not have learned why I am feeling bored and uninspired.
A Whole New Mind told me exactly why I was bored and, in fact, why my uneasiness makes sense.
Some of you are likely are feeling the same. The last thing you want to do is buy and read another nonfiction book. You´re burnt out on the usual business conversation. If this is you, then you NEED to read A Whole New Mind.
Here´s the quick gist of the book for those of you who have not read the other reviews or articles about the book:
Dan Pink believes that were are moving from the knowledge age to the conceptual age and that right brain aptitudes (art, empathy, inventiveness, meaning, etc) will determine whether we soar or stumble. He cites three reasons for this change: technology rendering some tasks/jobs obsolete, many left brain type jobs moving overseas, and an overabundance of stuff (we won´t seek stuff, we seek a deeper meaning in life). Pink makes his case in the first three chapters of the book. The rest of the book is spent sharing the "Six Senses" we will need to excel in this new world: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. A Whole New Mind takes a fresh look on what it will take to succeed.
Here´s what I love about A Whole New Mind: The book is designed to make it easy for me to find what I need and move forward. There are six chapters, each dedicated to one of the six senses."?? Each chapter is followed by a portfolio section containing ideas for how to apply the sense covered in the preceding chapter. For me, these portfolio sections are the best parts of the book! Yes, I need the upfront writing to understand the concepts, but then I want to move very quickly to how to develop and apply the aptitude. The design of the book makes it easier for me to get into action.
My one criticism of the book: I wish that the portfolio sections were four times as long and the chapters one-fourth the size. Personally, I comprehended and bought into the concepts quickly and did not need all the extra pages of examples and clarification.
Here´s one of the portfolio suggestions for building and applying the sense called symphony.
"??Celebrate Your Amateurness
I am best at what I can´t do.
It has become my ability to feel strong and confident in these situations. I feel free to move, to listen to my heart, to learn, to act even if that means I will make mistakes. If you want a creative life, do what you can´t and experience the beauty of the mistakes you make."??
I love this suggestion and it reminds me of two quotes:
"??I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance." Socrates
"??It´s amazing what you can do when you don´t know you can´t do it." Timo Shaw (A wise friend of mine)
So how does this all relate to my boredom, and perhaps yours? The conversations, blog posts, books, and articles with which I have become uninterested are predominantly left-brained oriented. According to Pink (and my unconscious mind, apparently), our conversations need to change. What we talk about, spend time on, and write about needs to reflect the transformation that is underway.
I asked Dan Pink a few questions via e-mail. His responses are provocative, so I thought I would share them with you:
HANEBERG: Five years from now, when you look back at the impact the book had, what do you see/hope for?
PINK: I hope that a few people, having read the book, have built businesses and a careers around fundamentally human abilities such as design, story, and empathy.
HANEBERG: In the March Issue of Fortune, they listed the 20 fastest growing professional jobs.
"Here are the 20 jobs likely to see an increase of better than 20%."
Environmental engineers 54.3%
Network systems and datacom analysts 41.9%
Personal financial advisors 36.3%
Database administrators 33.1%
Software engineers 27.8%
Emergency management specialists 27.8%
Biomedical engineers 27.8%
PR specialists 27.8%
Computer and infosystems managers 25.6%
Comp, benefits, and job analysts 25.6%
Systems analysts 24.9%
Network and systems administrators 24.9%
Training and development specialists 22.3%
Medical scientists 22.1%
Marketing and sales managers 21.3%
Computer specialists 20.8%
Media and communications specialists 20.6%
Counselors, social workers 20.4%
Do you agree/disagree with this list?
PINK: I don’t either agree or disagree with this list, really. A lot of these jobs seem to be quintessential Conceptual Age professions — personal financial advisors, counselors and social workers, training and development specialists, media and communications specialists, etc. But I take these sorts of estimates with a grain — if not an entire box — of salt. These estimates tend to be merely straightline projections of the present — and therefore they utterly neglect surprise and human ingenuity. For instance, back in the 1980s, the BLS forecast lots of jobs for “data entry clerks” — not envisioning that everyone from executives on down would have pc’s on their desks and do their “data entry” themselves. In the early 1990s, the BLS, seeing that travel was becoming cheaper and more democratized, forecast lots of jobs for travel agents. But of course, they never envisioned the web. And they didn’t — couldn’t — have foreseen the rise of Orbitz, Travelocity, and so on. This is actually one reason I shied away from making explicit forecasts about particular jobs. I knew I’d be wrong. What’s easier to foresee is the basket of abilities people will need. They’ll need to do things that computers can’t do faster, that overseas knowledge workers can’t do cheaper, and that appeal to the non material yearnings of an abundant age. Ten years from now, I fully expect lots of people to be working in professions none of us have heard of today. (Sorry for the long answer. But it’s a great, and important, question.)
HANEBERG: Individuals need to answer the three questions you reiterate in the Afterword of the book. Who do you see will the ones driving systemic change? In other words, which type of person/which group of people are best poised to be the catalysts for the transformation?
PINK: Hmmm. I’d generally place my bets on people who are intrinsically motivated — people who do what they do not to secure riches or fame, but because they simply love it. Left brain or right brain, those are the sorts of folks who change the world.
There´s a shift going on. I can see this more clearly, now, after reading this book. We are moving from the knowledge age to age of high touch and high concept. When it comes to the usual business talk, we´ve been there, done that, got the shirt, and need to move on. Our minds and hearts need to move on.
A Whole New Mind is a great book and you should go buy it, especially if you don´t want to be left behind.
P.S. I have changed how I am looking at few things as a result of reading this book. I hope you notice the difference on my blog.