Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gardner on your mind

I'm a fan of Howard Gardner, the Harvard psychologist whose theory of multiple intelligences won him a MacArthur genius grant and created serious doubts about the efficacy of standard IQ tests. I particularly liked his 2004 book, Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and People's Minds, a thoughtful, authoritative read that offers a model and lots of insight into the mind-changing process without hype or oversimplification. None of that "how to get anyone to do anything you want in 5 seconds" baloney -- a fact that many reviewers complained about! (You can hear Gardner talking about the book on NPR's Talk of the Nation here.)

Gardner's new book from Harvard Business School Press, Five Minds For the Future, just arrived. In it, Gardner describes five uses of the mind that people, especially leaders and teachers, should cultivate if they wish to be successful in tomorrow's world. He calls these uses the Disciplinary Mind, the Synthesizing Mind, the Creating Mind, the Respectful Mind, and the Ethical Mind.

Why are these particular minds important? Gardner writes:

"Individuals without one or more disciplines will not be able to succeed at any demanding workplace and will be restricted to menial tasks.

Individuals without synthesizing capabilities will be overwhelmed by information and unable to make judicious decisions about personal or professional matters.

Individuals without creating capacities will be replaced by computers and will drive away those who have the creative spark.

Individuals without respect will not be worthy of respect by others and will poison the workplace and the commons.

Individuals without ethics will yield a world devoid of decent workers and responsible citizens: none of us will want to live on that desolate planet."

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