Today marks the opening of the Reading Room, a new feature of The Arts Room – and our first recommended book is Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind. Many of us have an intuitive sense of the importance of the arts in education, but reading Pink’s book will deepen and clarify your understanding. To be clear, A Whole New Mind is not a book about the arts in education; it is an engaging treatise about our changing world economy and the revolution in thinking about how the world works that we’ll all need to grasp in order to find success and fulfillment in the new millenium.
This is not a new book; it was published in 2005. But its message has only become stronger and more urgent as over the past several years too many people have lost their jobs and discovered their skill-sets are now considered ’obsolete’, too many new graduates have found themselves underprepared to enter the job market, and countless parents have struggled to figure out how best to guide their children through our troubled pK-12 education systems. From the introduction,
“The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind – computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could 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. These people – artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers – will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.
This book describes a seismic – though as yet undetected – shift now under way in much of the advanced world. We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age. A Whole New Mind is for anyone who wants to survive and thrive in this emerging world – people uneasy in their careers or dissatisfied with their lives, entrepreneurs and business leaders eager to stay ahead of the next wave, parents who want to equip their children for the future, and the legions of emotionally astute and creatively adroit people whose distinctive abilities the Information Age has often overlooked and undervalued.”
I hope you’ll join me in reading, or re-reading, Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind this winter. The book is divided into two parts. Part One delivers a lot of profound information, but in an engaging and entertaining style that feels like a spirited conversation over drinks with a good friend. Part Two is more hands-on, describing six essential abilities and taking the reader on a series of trips to see these abilities in action. You’re left wanting to learn even more, and Part Two includes a portfolio of opportunities to do just that, a welcome resource as we kick off the new year!