I love to read. I also love to write. But since I graduated from college, I haven’t spent a lot of time writing about what I am reading. But here goes nothing.
I read to relax, to center my thoughts, to escape. Reading gives my over-thinking brain a break from – at least for a little while -life’s challenges and to do lists. Reading gives me something new to think about. I love books that stay with me after I’ve put the book back on the table, nightstand or shelf. Sometimes it’s a challenge to put those thoughts into words. But when you find a book that is so strikingly important, thoughtfully articulate and soul-energizing that the experience of reading it is just too good to keep to yourself, you have to share it. That’s what I found when I read Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind.
A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future is all about the value of right-brained thinking. Pink identifies six qualities of thinking that are housed in the right brain that he believes are the keys to excelling in whatever you do:
design story symphony empathy play meaning
When I first read those words, I think I physically leapt out of my chair. My whole brain was freaking out. I thought, “THAT’S MY JOB! THAT’S WHAT I DO SUMMED UP IN SIX GREAT WORDS! VICTORY!” I was overwhelmed by validation. A best-selling author was telling not just me, but the whole world, that the work of artists and teachers is just as valuable as that of doctors, lawyers and engineers.
Pink is careful not to set up an either/or dichotomy of left brain and right brain. He does not argue for right-brained skills only, no left-brained ones allowed. Instead, he encourages integration of the two. We need balance. We need both sides. BOTH sides, people. As in, right-brained skills are IMPORTANT. I want to shout it from the roof tops! (Maybe I should. You know, just to get it out of my system.) The left brain is practical, logical and associated with productivity. But the right brain can help too! Developing right-brained thinking is, Pink argues, what will determine who is really going to make it in the world.
Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you already know the value of right brain thinking skills, but this book will definitely boost your confidence in artistry. Couldn’t we all use a dose of validation? And if you’re an artist who has a tough time explaining the value of what you do to doubtful friends or concerned family members, go buy them a copy of this book and force them to read it.
I’ll leave you with this fabulous image from a Mercedes Benz advertisement I found while googling “left brain and right brain”
Needless to say, A Whole New Mind has been added to my teaching artist bookshelf.
What are you reading? Leave your recommendations in a comment!