A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

Posted by Shawn Callahan - March 15, 2006
Filed in Book reviews

WholeNewMindIf I were to write a book laying out the argument for our Anecdote approaches, I couldn’t be happier if I’d written A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. This book makes a simple and powerful case: to thrive in a complex, outsourced and topsy-turvey world people need to augment their rational, linear and analytical thinking (how you got ahead in the information age) with  empathy, creativity, meaning and the ability to sense patterns (required to flourish in the conceptual age).

Pink wants us to increase our skills in 6 areas:

  • design
  • story
  • symphony (ability to see the big picture and integrate)
  • empathy
  • play
  • meaning

You can imagine my excitement when I read this list of what Daniel calls ‘the 6 senses.’

Here is a short article by Pink describing the basic argument of how outsourcing to Asia, the abundance of almost everything and automation are creating an environment where right-brain thinking (the creative, holistic side) increases in importance.

And here are a couple of mind maps describing the book.

But neither sources replace reading the book.

Of course I quickly flipped to the chapter on story and I was pleased with Pink’s reasoning for including story in his list of 6 senses, which includes the observation that facts are so ubiquitous that people need to place these facts in context and deliver them with emotional impact; a role served superbly by stories.

I have, however, one concern with the story chapter. A reader without a background in narrative techniques might believe the only use for narrative is how to craft a persuasive story to affect change. I’ve talked about the difference between storytelling and story listening before, and Pink provides examples of story listening, such as the use of narrative medicine. But these ‘listening’ example follow compelling stories of Robert McKee’s script writing workshops and Steve Denning’s World Bank storytelling examples. 

And because it’s a best seller you should be able to find a copy at your local bookstore. Or if you are like me, just pick one up at the airport newsagent.

About Shawn Callahan
Shawn is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

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