Using Your Whole Brain?

I’ve been reading 2 books which I find intriguing.

Intriguing because I picked both up at the same time and read both at the same time (a habit born out of buying too many books and not having enough time to read one by one so I read a couple of books at one go) but what struck me is that both books are really complementary to each other!

I started off with Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat”. I had read his earlier book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” about 2 years ago and found him a reasonably logical writer so I went and bought his next book. Friedman is a journalist so he writes in a way that’s easy to understand.

“The World is Flat” has been a consistent bestseller for sometime now. I think people are still coming to grips with this monster called globalisation. So if you want to understand how globalisation crept up on us overnight, Friedman’s book is your bible to understanding why the world has changed dramatically in the course of the past 10 years.

Like most books, it gives an exegesis of what happened while we were sleeping. It clears the cobwebs and gives us some form of understanding of where the world is heading and more importantly, our roles in this new world. It allows us to see how the world has changed based on Friedman’s 10 “flatteners” or equalisers which have changed the world.

It makes for provocative reading, definitely.

On the other hand, I also picked up Dan Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”. If Friedman’s book is an explanation of what happened, then Pink’s book is the solution to figuring out where we stand and how we can continue to progress despite a flat world.

Think of Friedman’s book as a macro vision of the world. This is where the world (and us) are headed. This is what’s happening on a big level.

Complementing Friedman is Pink who gives us the tools, solutions and ideas on a micro level. Pink gives us solutions on how we can continue to live and prosper in a flat world by focusing on what’s here.

What I enjoyed tremendously about Pink’s book is that he says the new world needs the whole brain to function; you cannot survive on left brain thinking anymore. In fact, left brain thinking can only go so far. To survive in today’s flat, flat world, you need left and right brain thinking.

In fact, more and more people are relying on right brain thinking these days – your right brain is about the creative you. (The left brain is the logical you.) And he says the right-brainers will rule the world. Strong statement, that but it comes with lots of examples how the world really is veering towards those who are creativity-inclined.

I believe that reading Friedman alone won’t inspire you; in fact, one might end up more depressed. Especially if one is American and one’s job is outsourced to India or China or wherever it is cheaper and faster to get things done. Friedman does give some ideas how one can continue to keep one’s job (assuming one’s American) but it is equally relevant to us in Asia too. Yet, Friedman stops short of truly elaborating how to prevent oneself from being totally redundant and VSS-ed and outsourced.

Here’s where Pink comes in. He’s like the fairy godmother. His book shows you particular steps you can follow to bring your right brain to life. Lots of references, lots of crucial examples. Checking those examples out and thinking through them brought me closer to understanding my own thought processes, and of course, my brain.

If there are only 2 books you could afford to buy and read, make these 2 your better bets.

Absolutely mind altering!

You’ll never take your brain for granted after reading Pink and Friedman!

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