Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hopeful Words from Daniel Pink

Yesterday afternoon I attended a lecture in Holland by Daniel Pink, the author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future (Riverhead Books, 2006). Pink argues that the days of "left-brained" lawyers, accountants and software engineers are over in the Western World, and that we are now entering the "right-brained" age of designers, inventors, teachers and storytellers. The talk was sponsored by the Holland Area Arts Council (right-brainers funded by left- brainers) and the Harbor Lights Middle School auditorium was full of an interesting mix of English teachers, artists, and earnest young engineers.

The economic future looks hopeful for poets. Here's what Pink writes about us:

More and more employers are looking for people who possess this aptitude [the ability to "understand the relationships between relationships"]. Sidney Harman is one of them. The eightysomething multimillionaire CEO of a stereo components company says he doesn't find it all that valuable to hire MBAs. Instead,

I say "Get some poets as managers." Poets are our original systems thinkers. They contemplate the world in which we live and feel obliged to interpret and give expression to it in a way that makes the reader understand how that world turns. Poets, those unheralded sytems thinkers, are our true digital thinkers. It is from their midst that I believe we will draw tomorrow's new business leaders.


Blogger Macy Swain said...

Bravo, Bravo -- to you and to the elucidations of Mr. Pink. I feel a surge of pride in my metric leanings, a whole new burst of hope that one day I'll be the CEO of a major poetry corporation. Woo-hoo!
Seriously, I think there's a lot of truth in what he says (speaking from both sides of my cerebellum) and I'm planning to send this to my colleagues and students -- just as registration begins for the next three semesters. I expect a stampede into my classes.
Maybe my non-poet (but tenured) colleagues will even let me vote at the next department meeting.

12:47 PM  
Blogger lynn said...

Hard to imagine the conceptual shift it would take to see such things occur, or the shifts in our culture it would eventually stir. Hmmm, who are the poets you/someone might nominate for positions of power?

8:28 PM  
Blogger greg rappleye said...


well, you and I could divide up Michigan, for example.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Talia said...

All of the education classes I have taken have taught me that the whole right-brain/left-brain thing is false. Yes, there are some people who are more creative and others who are more logical, etc. but a more accurate measurement of this would be something like the Myers-Briggs Personality test.

I will soon be a licensed English teacher. We'll see how being a poet will help me get a job. But I doubt if being a poet would help a math teacher get a job.

9:27 PM  

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