First published October 2, 2008
This insightful book by Daniel Pink should be required reading for those of us in education and business. There are a number of reasons why but most importantly because he is a big thinker. By that I mean he is one of those gifted with the ability to synthesize trends from different information streams to achieve new insights about our lives and culture.
For those in K-12 education who believe in the development of 21st century skills for our students, Pink provides the rationale. Essentially, he maintains that our culture which has been dominated by left-brain thinkers – accountants, lawyers, computer programmers, and MBAs – will now be guided and illuminated by right-brain folks who are empathetic and creative such as artists, designers, caregivers and storytellers.
"Today, the defining skills of the previous era – the "left brain" capabilities that powered the information Age – are necessary but no longer sufficient. And the capabilities of inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness, and meaning – increasingly will determine who flourishes and who flounders. For individuals, families, and organizations, professional success and personal fulfillment now require a whole new mind. "After outlining the scientific differences in the two hemispheres of the brain, Pink asserts that while the two halves of the brain have their strengths, "leading a healthy, happy, successful life depends on both hemispheres of the brain." He maintains that the success of left-brain thinking has created an abundant society which has made us wealthy. Now the right brain will lead us forward to find meaning. All of a sudden, being able to see the big picture is becoming the most valuable business skill to develop.
This is an absolutely fascinating analysis of where we've been and where we're going as a culture. Reading it will challenge your thinking and give you a new understanding of the skill sets required for success in the 21st century.