When I received a gift card to Tattered Cover way back in April, I knew what book I wanted to buy. It is called A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink. It has been sitting on my shelf since then, just waiting for the right time to call my name.
Yesterday, it was time and as I began reading A Whole New Mind, I realize how scary the future could be for those who haven’t developed their right brained skills, and how lucky for those of us who tend to live more in this world.
According to Pink, we are moving out of the information age and into the conceptual age where creators and empathizers will play a larger role in shaping our society. Three things are pushing this.
1) The abundance in our country- while many people may still feel the effects of a recession, we are living in a time when 2/3 of Americans own houses and cars and designer furniture and clothing can be bought at stores like Target. We have so much stuff that storage for our things is a 17 billion dollar industry.
2)Asia- Instead of companies paying their knowledge workers a nice salary in the US, they are taking the jobs overseas. While a computer programmer in the US may make $70,000, the rate in India is $15,000. India’s colleges and universities are graduating 350,000 engineers a year. While by our standards, $15,000 seems low, this salary is enough to put a young adult into the upper middle class of the country.
3) Automation- Any job that depends on a routine- that can be broken down into steps or logical rules is subject to automation. As Pink says, ” If a $500 a month Indian chartered accountant doesn’t swipe your accounting job, TurboTax will.” In our global economy, this means that we need to work to develop more intuitive skills that can’t be copied with automation.
We are moving into a high concept, high touch kind of world. “High concept involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to create a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into a novel invention. High touch involves the ability to empathize, 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 quotidian, in pursuit of purpose and meaning.”
This isn’t just about being right brained thinkers- It is more about the interconnection of the right and the left hemispheres of our brain so we learn to be more balanced in our approach to the world. I am still reading and will have much more to post, yet I am excited to see that my idea of being-ness, and developing our relationships with one another, will become a much more important piece of how we show up in the world.
You can view the book here.