Ever since Peter Drucker pointed out that the future performance of organizations in the developed world would be in the hands of knowledge workers, we've been blessed with an understanding that the dominant economic focus can shift rapidly into new directions. Prior to that, the industrial age had lasted for over two centuries. The agricultural age that preceded it lasted several thousand years, and the hunter-gatherer age had lasted even longer.
What is the conceptual age? It's a time when due to applying all of our brain's many functions and the many advances of technology that we enjoy, a person can imagine totally different ways to serve and entertain others. Imagination is the limit.
A number of people have preceded Mr. Pink's message in partial ways such as those who have written about the entertainment economy, works about serious play, cataloguers of storytelling best practices and those who consider emotional intelligence.
But I think Mr. Pink's concept is both bigger and more accurate than that which has preceded this book. Most methods of making improvements only harness parts of our capabilities and serve only parts of our needs. Anyone who has sat in a traffic jam recently realizes that. What good is s beautiful sports car if traffic is bumping along at 10 mph? Put that same driver into a Grand Prix simulator, and the person comes alive in a way that's almost beyond belief.
Mr. Pink points out six key opportunities to supplement traditional, linear thinking. These are design, story, symphony (integration of disparate elements), empathy, play and meaning.
I think, however, that Mr. Pink is wrong about these being the primarily undeveloped senses. Given what I've read about brain research, I wouldn't be surprised if aroma, physical touch, musical stimulation, simulation and directed meditation didn't end up being as, if not more, important.
Some will be disappointed that Mr. Pink doesn't give them a manual to operate in the new age. Given how little we know about how to engage one another in these other ways, time will have to pass before we have what amounts to instructions. In the meantime, Mr. Pink does a good job of pointing towards experiences and books that can help with whole brain development.
If you think the problem with the economy is that we have too few engineers, you should read this book. It'll take you ahead into a future you need to start preparing for now.
To give you a sense of how important I think Mr. Pink's concept is, I made this book the focus of a recent briefing for The Billionaire Entrepreneurs' Master Mind.