Recently referenced in class a book called A whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the World.
As a hard core left-brainer, I figured I’d better pay attention to this one.
Here’s the crux of the book …
The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind — computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers.
But, the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind — creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.
We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age …
… to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age.
Why the shift?
Because any kind of work that be reduced to repeatable rules and defined processes can be automated or shipped off-shore – even so-called knowledge work
Survival in the Conceptual Age requires thinking skills utilizing the right-side of the brain.
Specifically, “high concept” involves the capacity to:
- detect patterns and opportunities
- create artistic and emotional beauty
- craft a satisfying narrative
…. and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new and distinctive.
What’s required to to succeed in Conceptual Age?
The author says that there are six specific high-concept and high-touch aptitudes that have become essential in this new era: Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning.
1. Not just function but also DESIGN.
It’s no longer sufficient to create a product, a service, an experience, or a lifestyle that’s merely functional. Today it’s economically crucial and personally rewarding to create something that is also beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging.
2. Not just argument but also STORY.
When our lives are brimming with information and data, it’s not enough to marshal an effective argument. Someone somewhere will inevitably track down a counterpoint to rebut your point. The essence of persuasion, communication, and self-understanding has become the ability also to fashion a compelling narrative.
3. Not just focus but also SYMPHONY.
Much of the Industrial and Information Ages required focus and specialization. But as white-collar white-collar work gets routed to Asia and reduced to software, there’s a new premium on the opposite aptitude: putting the pieces together, or what I call Symphony. What’s in greatest demand today isn’t analysis but synthesis — seeing the big picture, crossing boundaries, and being able to combine disparate pieces into an arresting new whole.
4. Not just logic but also EMPATHY.
The capacity for logical thought is one of the things that makes us human. But in a world of ubiquitous information and advanced analytic tools, logic alone won’t do. What will distinguish those who thrive will be their ability to understand what makes their fellow woman or man tick, to forge relationships, and to care for others.
5. Not just seriousness but also PLAY.
There is a time to be serious, of course. But too much sobriety can be bad for your career and worse for your general well-being. In the Conceptual Age, in work and in life, we all need to play … to laugh.
6. Not just accumulation but also MEANING.
We live in a world of breathtaking material plenty. That has freed hundreds of millions of people from day-to-day struggles and liberated us to pursue more significant desires: purpose, transcendence, and spiritual fulfillment.
Will right-brainers take over the world?
After careful linear-logic analysis, I’m betting the under.