In A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink argues that the necessary skills for being successful in the business world have shifted dramatically. He describes evolutions of work starting with the Agricultural Age moving to the Industrial Age then the Information Age and finally, the Conceptual Age. Each one of these periods required a distinct set of skills. The Industrial Ages valued “physical strength and personal fortitude.” The man/woman that could outwork another man would ultimately prevail in the end. The Information Age prized knowledge workers and what Pink refers to as “L-Directed Thinkers.” The Conceptual Age we’re entering now prizes the creator and the empathizer with distinct mastery over R-Directed Thinking.
Throughout A Whole New Mind, Pink examines why this shift is taking place and dissects the characteristics of both L-Directed and R-Directed Thinkers. Ultimately, Pink defines six “senses” that characterize R-Directed Thinkers, senses he feels everyone that wishes to succeed in this new world should develop.
I really enjoyed the book. I’m always fascinated by authors that can weave story and science together to provide a compelling narrative. I also really enjoy Pink’s books (To Sell is Human was great as well) because he includes action-oriented items at the end of each chapter. In A Whole New Mind, he placed a section after each sense that covered tactics and resources to help you improve a specific capacity. A great narrative combined with actionable takeaways sealed the deal for me.