Last month, my boss organized a book club at work. I won’t lie, I initially thought I’d be subjected to mundane books about business and forced to talk about metrics and present charts of findings. The mind reels, right? Regardless, the first book we jumped into was Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.
I’ve been meaning to read Daniel Pink for a while (his Selling is Human has been on my to-read list for months), but was apprehensive – (sidenote: Why I can jump headlong into books about comparative politics but hesitate before even acknowledging a book with a business theme?). In A Whole New Mind, Pink argues that people with a right-brain mindset (read: creators, artists, empathizers, etc.) are “meaning makers”* and as we move from a computer-based information age to a more conceptual age – our economy and society will rely on creativity, innovation, and big-picture thinking, and thus, those people will rule the world. I love this argument – and with a liberal arts degree, it’s a theory I’ve had to believe in to push ahead in my career.
Pink argues, as proof, that MFAs are the new MBAs. As a former English major (turned Journalism and ultimately Music Industry + PR), I was urged for years not to pursue an MFA – that it wouldn’t necessarily make me a better writer, and that it could guarantee I’d be stuck teaching “low-levels of composition, rocking four or five or six classes per semester for adjunct pay”* so, I didn’t pursue it. But now, still at the beginning, but a decent chunk into my career, I’m wondering — could an MFA have changed things? Pink’s theory serves to illustrate a cultural and economic shift – as skillsets common in MBA coursework are being outsourced, the “meaning makers” remain.
Pink then delves into the six right-brain directed (R-Directed) aptitudes everyone should master: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning. This isn’t a full-on review of the book, so I’ll spare you the details of the individual sections, but ultimately Pink asserts that we’re most effective when we learn to use both parts of our brain — the left (strategy, rationality, logic) and right (creativity, curiosity, chaos) — at the same time. And that just makes sense, right? Maybe it’s because what I do every day – creative strategy, literally, demands it. So–despite knowing where you want to fall, where do you actually fall?
Sommer+Sommer has an online test, that looks a little like this:
Several years ago, personality tests like Myers-Briggs were pretty popular and you couldn’t scroll through a website without it’s author touting their four-letter result and what it reflected about them. And don’t get me wrong — this test can’t really judge your mind in less than five minutes. I took it four times and 3/4 times I got the same result. Does it mean anything? What do you think?