I have read and reviewed all of Howard Gardner's previous books and consider this, his latest, to be the most valuable thus far. In it, he identifies and explains five separate but related combinations of cognitive abilities that are needed to "thrive in the world during eras to come...[cognitive abilities] which we should develop in the future." Gardner refers to them as "minds" but they are really mindsets. Mastery of each enables a person:
1. to know how to work steadily over time to improve skill and understanding;
2. to take information from disparate sources and make sense of it by understanding and evaluating that information objectively;
3. by building on discipline and synthesis, to break new ground;
4. by "recognizing that nowadays one can no longer remain within one's shell or one's home territory," to note and welcome differences between human individuals and between human groups so as to understand them and work effectively...
In case you haven't noticed, the world is going through a seismic change. No one can say what the human experiment will look like on the other side, but I think we may reasonably conclude this --- the badly educated will suffer.
And by "suffer" I don't mean the old chart that shows you how much more a college graduate earns over the course of a lifetime than a high school grad.
In this new world, a college graduate who lacks what Howard Gardner calls "multiple intelligences" will be in the same boat as the high school dropout collecting an hourly wage at Jiffy Lube.
So a book that outlines the kind of smarts the future will require --- and reward --- automatically merits our attention. And we read more closely when the author is Howard Gardner, who has made a career of this subject at Harvard and collected a MacArthur Prize Fellowship along the way.
Who needs the "five minds" that Gardner discusses in this brief (167 pages), jargon-free...
I will admit it; I chose this book by its title as I was looking for some insight into the types of skills required of the next generation. Five minds for the future (FMFTF) projects the observation that there are five types of intelligence or Minds out there. This observation and the classification of these types of intelligence is Gardner's claim to fame. The types are:
The Disciplined Mind - one that knows something and has mastery over a subject. Such mastery takes 10 years to develop. Here Gardner separates rote knowledge with being able to think deeply about what you are doing. This is a great point and one that more executives need to take into account as it is a major difference between people who are good individual contributors and those that make great managers. Gardner believes that the disciplines worth learning are by in large academic in nature, paying little attention to other disciplines or types of acquired knowledge.
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