Daniel Pink has chronicled the rise and impact of the new world of work. His recent book, A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, takes us a step further to describe how to thrive in an outsourced, automated, and upside down world.

Lawyers. Accountants. Computer programmers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of “left brain” dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which “right brain” qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate.

Pink sees three forces driving the Western World in this direction:
1) There is an Abundance of material goods.
2) Asia has become a vast pool of inexpensive labor, especially in the goods-creating products.
3) Automation is changing the landscape of work. Automation of everything from factory assembly to medical diagnosis. Just about everything that can be broken down into a series of logical steps, or actions, is being automated.

As a result Pink presents a convincing argument that our country is entering a new era—the so-called conceptual age—during which right-brained skills such as design and storytelling will become far more crucial than traditionally left-brained skills such as accounting and computer programming. While the latter skills are readily outsourced, transformative abilities such as empathy and creativity are crucial in a new age animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life.

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