Book Club August Part 1: Five Minds for the Future

by Diane Wolf in Blog, Book Club
August 15, 2017 0 comments


You are likely wondering what the heck happened to August that I’m only posting part 1 now. I’m wondering that too, to be honest. I’ve never seen a summer zoom by so quickly. I’m still in shock! My humble apologies! The first week of August I launched my podcast, and that consumed my time and attention! I now have two episodes on iTunes, so if you are at all interested in Presentation Skills, I encourage you to check them out! You can do a search on iTunes, or you can find them here:

Episode 001: Why Maria von Trapp got it wrong

Episode 002: How Delivering a Speech and Doing a Triathlon are Practically the Same Thing

I would be most honoured if you would consider leaving a review and/or subscribing on iTunes if you like them.

Okay, so what happened to the second week of August then Diane??? Well, I was camping… with no wifi, and not enough data on my phone to use it as a hotspot very often. I had actually researched where the nearest wifi was… and then the time just got away on us.

Such boring excuses. I really should have come up with something more creative… Again, I hope you forgive me!

So, on to our NEW book, Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner. I first fell in love with Gardner’s writing in the 1980s, when I read Multiple Intelligences. This book had solidified my belief that IQ tests tend to measure math/science intelligence since they are created by people who excel at math and science. Sure enough, Gardner identified other forms of intelligence that are equally important in life. Interestingly enough, I am someone who does have a math/science bent, but I knew too many other people who were brilliant in other ways to think that IQ tests were really all that indicative of intelligence. I digress…

Five Minds for the Future essentially takes his previous work to a new level, discussing five different types of minds or thinking that will be important in the future for success in a world that is changing far too rapidly to predict.

The five minds are:

The disciplined mind;

The synthesizing mind;

The creating mind;

The respectful mind; and

The ethical mind.

We’ll discuss the first two this week, and the others over the next two weeks. Fortunately for me, August has FIVE Tuesdays, so while it would have been perfect to discuss one each week for five weeks, at least I have an extra week to get it all inThe disciplined mind, in a nutshell, means developing a consistent and passionate approach to lifelong learning. If you are as old as I am, you can think right away of things you learned in school that have now become completely obsolete. My personal favourite example is that when I studied neuroscience, the concept of brain plasticity was not yet known. We were taught that once your neurons died, that was it. Game over for any hope of recovery from a brain injury. Imagine if we still thought that! While it is true that actual neurons do NOT regenerate, what we did not realize back then was that the brain can form NEW pathways to connect areas of the brain, and there is indeed hope for a great degree of recovery in many cases! Fortunately, I know this because my passion for brain science is alive and well, and I stay up to date in the field of neuroscience just because I love to do that.

The trick to developing a disciplined mind is not to focus on rote learning and recitation of facts, it is to focus on solving problems and asking questions. Students, whether in school or adult learners, need to have opportunities to apply what they are learning. He also points out that learning facts is not as necessary as it used to be, since search engines can provide us with those facts at the touch of a button. Knowing HOW to do something is more important in the disciplined mind, or at least knowing how to figure out how to do something.

The synthesizing mind builds on the disciplined mind by taking the learning one step further and learning to put things together in unique and creative ways. Many problems in our society today can only be solved by taking an interdisciplinary approach, and the synthesizing mind has learned to view problems as non-linear and more complex. Many different types of experts need to come together to work on a problem. Simply put, we put together elements of knowledge that would previously have been considered to exist in separate ‘boxes’ and we combine them creatively. While Gardner notes that people today tend to become increasingly expert in one small area, what we really need are more people who know a lot about several different areas.

I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about ways in which you can increase your skills in these two areas of the mind. I know I will make a concerted effort to do more reading in subjects that are NOT in my area of expertise.

Have a great week!




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