What I would happily quote from Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

My reading habits have slowed considerably in the last couple years, and I'm not excited by this self-realization. Especially since I focus heavily on the return on investment of reading, I know that a book will likely spark life-spinning advice and ideas at which I would have otherwise never arrived.

Not only am I disappointed in my frequency of reading sessions but in the heel-dragging I've done about pursuing books that continue to reveal themselves as valuable and relevant.

In 2008, I learned about Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind from the father at my nannying job. Not one to chase fruitless endeavors, I knew he was recommending a quality read, especially since the recommendation came after the gushing of my worldview.

Well, four and a half years and innumerable reminders later, I have finally checked this book off my "To Read" list. The following are the sections I highlighted and mused about in the margins, many of which I found to be unique sentences, others quite relevant to the constant questions I ponder at work.

In order to better grasp the context of these quotes, keep in mind that Pink considers there to be six fundamental human abilities that will make the right brainers rule the world: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning.

Excerpts worth quoting or noting

"All that stuff that the right hemisphere does–interpreting emotional content, intuiting answers, perceiving things holistically–is lovely. But it's a side dish to the main course of true intelligence." p16

"Written language, invented by the Greeks around 550 B.C.E., has helped reinforce left hemisphere dominance (at least in the West) and created what Harvard classicist Eric Havelock called 'the alphabetic mind.'" p17

"...most developed nations have devoted considerable time and treasure to producing left-brained knowledge workers. This arrangement has been a rousing success. It has broken the stranglehold of aristocratic privilege and opened educational and professional opportunities to a diverse set of people." p29

"Only against a backdrop of abundance could so many people seek beautiful trash cans and toilet brushes–converting mundane, utilitarian products into objects of desire." p33

"The paradox of prosperity is that while living standards have risen steadily decade after decade, personal, family, and life satisfaction haven't budged." p35

"But abundance has freed literally hundreds of millions of people from the struggle for survival and, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert William Fogel writes, 'made it possible to extend the quest for self-realization from a minute fraction of the population to almost the whole of it.'" p35

"To survive in this age, individuals and organizations must examine what they're doing to earn a living and ask themselves three questions: 1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper? 2. Can a computer do it faster? 3. Is what I'm offering in demand in an age of abundance?" p51

"...pushing students to reflect on the meaning and mission of their lives, encouraging what [the Education Ministry of Japan] calls 'education of the heart'." p53

Design

"'[D]esign, stripped to its essence, can be defined as the human nature to shape and make our environment in ways without precedent in nature, to serve our needs and give meaning to our lives.'" p69

"They're learning to bring disparate things together to a solution. That's what designers do." p71

"'Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world didn't know it was missing.' -Paola Antonelli, curator of architecture and design, MOMA" p72

"Had Palm Beach County had a few artists in the room when it was designing its ballot, the course of U.S. History would likely have been different." p84

"'To be a designer is to be an agent of change.'" p86

"Experience is the most important part of living, and the exchange of ideas and human contact is all life really is. Space and objects can encourage increased experiences or distract from our experiences." p91

Story

"The essence of persuasion, communication, and self-understanding has become the ability also to fashion a compelling narrative." p65

"Stories are easier to remember–because in many ways, stories are how we remember." p101

"When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact." p102

"'If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.' -Barry Lopez" p116

"We can see this yearning for self-knowledge through stories in many places–in the astonishingly popular "scrapbooking" movement, where people assemble the artifacts of their lives into a narrative that tells the world, and maybe themselves, who they are and what they're about, and in the surging popularity of genealogy as millions search the Web to piece together their family histories." p116

Symphony

"While detailed knowledge of a single area once guaranteed success, today the top rewards go to those who can operate with equal aplomb in starkly different realms. I call these people 'boundary crossers.'" p134

"Today, thanks to astonishing improvements in telecommunications, wider access to travel, and increasing life spans, we come into contact with a larger and more diverse set of people than any humans in history. Metaphorical imagination is essential in forging empathic connections and communicating experiences that others do not share." p140

"'A large part of self-understanding,' says Lakoff, "is the search for appropriate personal metaphors that make sense of our lives.'" p140

"...this ability to perceive one's own life in a way that encompasses the full spectrum of human possibility is essential to the search for meaning." p143

"Asking 'Why?' can lead to understanding. Asking 'Why not?' can lead to breakthroughs." p154

"If you want a creative life, do what you can't and experience the beauty of the mistakes you make." p157

Empathy

"'Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate and to connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.' -Oprah Winfrey" p161

Play

"'Games are the most elevated form of investigation.' -Albert Einstein" p191

"For a generation of people, games have become a tool for solving problems as well as a vehicle for self-expression and self-exploration." p192

"'A natural facility with humor,' Sala says, 'is intertwined with, and appears to be a marker for, a much broader managerial trait: high emotional intelligence.'" p198

"Perhaps most important, laughter is a social activity–and the evidence is vast that people who have regular, satisfying connections to other people are healthier and happier." p203

Meaning

"At a higher level is what Seligman calls the 'Good Life'–in which you use your 'signature strengths' (what you're great at) to achieve gratification in the main areas of your life." p226

If you're interested in more book suggestions, visit Good Reads and browse a wide variety of travel narratives and other genres. Contact me if you have a book suggestion.

There are affiliate links in this post. I was gifted this book.