Book Review: A WHOLE NEW MIND by Daniel Pink

by Ruth Folit

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink is a readable and engrossing book that provides a new global perspective about the direction in which our society is heading.  Mr. Pink’s main thesis is that we are shifting from the Information Age, a time when the economy and society is built on logical and linear abilities, to the Conceptual Age, a period when our economy and society will be built on inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities. Pink contends that people who able to excel in “right-brained” thinking will be highly valued during the Conceptual Age. Those who are able to see the whole, who understand the subtleties of human interaction and have an intuitive, non-linear capacity will be in demand in the coming years.

Pink breaks down essential aptitudes or “senses” into six categories: design, stories, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning.

Design

Pink contends that because of the current abundance of material things in the 21stcentury, in the future design of objects rather than their function will differentiate them, and well designed products be more valued.

Story

Narratives which explain, persuade, and communicate an argument or point of view will be more compelling than facts.  We are currently overloaded with facts and data, and a story will bring the information to people in a more effective and memorable manner.

Symphony

Pink uses this term to describe the ability to synthesize information-to take individual, disparate pieces of information and bring them together to see a new big picture, perhaps crossing boundaries from one discipline to another to see connections and find patterns.

Empathy

Those who are able to understand their own feelings, and hence, better understand and read others feelings will excel in this new era.

Play

Playfulness and humor, which involve the right brain, are sophisticated and specifically human forms of intelligence which foster creativity.

Meaning

Finding meaning and purpose in one’s life is critical to happiness and to creating a sense of peace.  This is a shift from emphasizing basic economic and physical security to valuing self-expression and quality of life.

Upon reading the book, I was impressed with the cogency of Pink’s argument and his vision of the future.  I was also struck by the thought that LifeJournal is a tool that helps you exercise and sharpen your right brain and helps build “a whole new mind.”

LifeJournal was designed to maximize customizability and lets you build your own journal, designing the components that best suit your life: you can choose the topics, the Daily Pulse values, the journal types, default font and background colors, and add your own prompts and quotes. We encourage you to make the program uniquely yours.

Journal writing is about telling stories-writing the stories of your life.  You can write stories of your past, your day-to-day stories,  and your own nightly invented stories-your dreams.

Journal writing also encourages you to explore and discover your feelings so that you understand them better. The better you understand your own feelings, the easier you’ll be able to understand others’ feelings and feel empathy. In LifeJournal, the prompts, in particular, help you dig more deeply into your feelings. And two journal techniques, dialog and alternative viewpoint, put you more in touch with other’s feelings.

LifeJournal brings all the pieces of your life into one location so it’s easier to review your entries and see the big picture. LifeJournal specializes in helping you organize and unify your writing, note, and tracking so you can see connections and trends. Performing focused searches and reviewing Daily Pulse graphs are excellent tools for developing Pink’s “symphony” sense.

One of the higher purposes of keeping a journal is to make sense of one’s life.  After writing and reflecting about the day-to-day stuff of life, you can go back and review your journal to see broad patterns, changes, and get a sense from a new perspective of what’s most important to you.