Dan Pink and A Whole New Mind

Executive summary: You have to find work that no one else can do.

I attended Dan Pink’s conference call (somedays I just can’t bring myself to say the word webinar) today talking about his new book A Whole New Mind which is suprising in the same orange as my other must-read, The Abs Diet.
Pink expands the whole right-brains will save the day argument that I first saw threaded in Rise of the Creative Class. He contends there are three keys to watch for in the economy/society: Abundance, Asia and Automation.


We have too much crap like designer toilet brushes. This reminds me of when I was reading 1984 a few months ago and the idea that mass-manufacturing has made the wonderful commonplace. Fashion cycles must grow faster to keep us demanding more and more.
Prosperity. Self-storage business is bigger than the movie industry. Reminded me of this post on Metafilter about Garbage Houses.
Taking a cue from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and a quote from Robert William Fogel: All of our survival needs are being met (talking primarily about first-world countries of course) so we can now pursue self-realization. This part reminded me of Fight Club and Tyler Derden’s assertion thatYou are not your f___ing khakis!


(Sudden flashback to Japanese Invasion worries of decades ago and the paranoid novel/movie Rising Sun)
Referring to outsourcing: India, China, etc.
Offshoring overhyped in short term, underhyped in the long term.
Brings great prosperity to these countries but also abject poverty (reminds me of Export Processing Zones from No Logo). I’ll amend this: brings great prosperity to a lucky few while government economic controls keep economic disparity maintained.
Only certain kinds of jobs can be offshored:
Routine jobs: Analysis, basic services: accounting, legal research, tech support. Fabrication, research, basic radiology.
We have to have to find work that ‘they’ can’t do (like right-brain stuff).
Example: CompleteCase.com – Uncontested divorce at a basic fee.


Diagram charting Agricultural Age to Industrial Age to Information Age to Conceptual Age powered by Affluence, Technology and Globalization.

3 Key Questions to Ensure Job Security

  1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
  2. Can a computer do it faster?
  3. Is what you’re selling in demand in an age of unlimited abundance?

Keep a Design Notebook

Dan talks about keeping track of functional and dysfunctional design in the world around you… sort of like… A BLOG!
Not just argument but STORY. Sort of like… A BLOG!
Facts become less important with the abundance of information. People want a mini-saga (story format in 50 words or less – like a narrative haiku). Can you distill your product’s story to 50 words?
Not just focus but Symphony.
Not just logic but Empathy. Doctors taking empathy training (can this really be trained in to you?).
Mention of America’s Army video game which is used to reach recruitable youth for military service. Isn’t this just slick marketing – disguising the risks of warfare in the context of a video game? Reminds me of Toys.
Not just accumulation but also Meaning.

20-10 Test

If you had 20 Million dollars or 10 years to live. What would you do? What you’re doing now?

6 Major Themes (didn’t cover last 2)

  1. Design
  2. Story
  3. Symphony
  4. Empathy
  5. Play
  6. Meaning

Dan’s blog is at danpink.com – he doesn’t have permalinks. That’s annoying.






3 responses to “Dan Pink and A Whole New Mind”

  1. Sylvia Avatar

    Thanks for the concise recap of this brain energizing experience with Dan Pink. I’ve ordered his book and am excited about reading it to deepen my understanding of the significant shifts he’s identified. Sounds like I need to check out Rise of the Creative Class as well. I appreciate you being such a great resource.
    All the best,

  2. Wyatt Jackson Avatar
    Wyatt Jackson

    I am the young man who wrote and produced the rap song for Dan Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind. I am also a certified Mind Map instructor from the Buzan Centers. The fact that you mind mapped the book is off the chain! I can sooo relate to what you did with the book. Email me man! Let’s talk.

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