Five Minds for the Future

10 October 2016

About the Author:2 Summary2 Applying the Book to Human Resource Management6 Conclusion6 About the Author: Howard Gardner is a renowned American Psychologist and writer who currently holds a position as an adjunct professor at Harvard University. Among numerous honors, Gardner had received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship and honorary degrees from twenty-nine colleges and universities, including institutions in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, South Korea and Spain.

In 2005 and 2008, he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world. Gardner’s famous books include Responsibility at Work, Changing Minds, Good Work: Theory and Practice, Multiple intelligences and Five Minds for the Future. Summary This book revolves around the five minds that Howard Gardner perceives to be an ideal achievement for the future generations. Gardner believes that in order to overcome the challenges of the future, one has to be well equipped with all of these five minds.

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With a comprehensive outlook on each mind, Gardner presents in front of us, a beautiful arrangement of reasons explaining why he believes one should possess these features of a mind. He emphasizes that it may not be possible to achieve each characteristic of the minds mentioned by Gardner to the optimum level, one can always attempt to accomplish a certain level of each mindset in order to live a successful and balanced mind in the future. Gardner strongly believes that these minds prepare us to face the unexpected.

Whereas these minds have played a significant role in the history, they are even more essential for us because of the array of externalities emerging in the future. The five minds that Gardner throws light upon are: 1. The Disciplined Mind 2. The Synthesizing Mind 3. The Creating Mind 4. The Ethical Mind 5. The Respectful Mind Gardner informs us that these five minds are chosen from the plethora of other mind characteristics that are essential for human effectiveness in the future.

The reason why Gardner believes that these minds are more crucial to develop is that they cover the cognitive as well as the behavioral part of the human activities. They also encompass the needs of the society and the requirement of an individual in it. Gardner thinks that Education plays a vital role in developing all of these roles, however due to the ancestral conservation of the society; development of such mindsets has not been largely served by the function of education. We still do not encourage disciplines like liberal arts and social sciences to be a curriculum for the training of individuals.

These disciplines help an individual identify himself and then realize his or her potential. Another strong reason which Gardner presents as a support for the need for the development of these minds is the fast track dynamics of the globe. With changes occurring within flick of an eye, one has to be armed with a mindset that can cope up with the ups and downs that these changes bring along. Hence science is not the only field that can suffice the need of human knowledge. We need to broaden the spectrum of our educational systems, for they largely rely on preparing us in a method that is now obsolete.

Hence, the formal education systems are preparing us for the past, not for the future. Gardner signifies that the challenges of globalization need to be met with a holistic approach towards learning, where an individual is taught not just books, but lessons of life. Gardner regards the spiritual and humanistic stances to be strong players in determining an individual’s viewpoint towards life. Moving forward, Gardner describes each type of mind characteristics and underlines what steps a human should take to achieve the characteristic.

Starting from the disciplined mind, Gardner defines it as a mind that is well equipped with traditional and modern erudite disciplines like history, math and science. The knowledge should not limit to the boundaries of formal education and one should dive into the depths in order to understand the core concepts. Gardner believes that a scholarly mind channelizes human thoughts and gives it a direction. If a mind is not schooled properly, it is likely to get carried away by unnecessary beliefs. Facts and statistics are not just bits and pieces of information.

They have a lot to comprehend and therefore, a mind ready for the future should be well trained in essential disciplines. Next, Gardner informs us about the Synthesizing mind and its course of action. He highlights that a synthesizing mind is capable to extract the relevant information from the floods of information directed towards us, screens it and uses it in complement to the activities that demand its employment. Linking together ideas and concepts have largely become a key to understanding the complexities.

If one has the ability to weave together strands of information and develop a strategy that is on the go, he is highly likely to excel in the future. Another mind characteristic that Gardner throws light over is the Creating mind and its relevance to the future. A creating mind always comes up with questions that help you enter new genres and explore the existing ones. Gardner signifies that the major reason why humans still have control is because of the spark of innovation in them which computers cannot come up with. Creativity is something which the world runs after and the reason for that is the dynamics of the world.

Every idea once executed soon becomes obsolete. Hence, the globe demands constant supply of creativity in order to thrive. Bringing the social realm into the picture, Gardner develops the idea of a Respectful mind and its need of the hour. A respectful mind incorporates differences among groups, encouraging diversity and pluralism. A person who develops a respectful mind develops a tendency in him that acknowledges and accepts the distinctiveness of each human group. Dealing with stereotypes and prejudices is no big deal for the mind and the concept of civil society is deep rooted in every respectful mind.

Being empathic towards those around, this mind helps you deal with the collectivist nature of a human and the conflicts that come under its baggage. Lastly, Gardner talks about the Ethical mind that keeps ethical framework as a forerunner in the decision making process at the workplace and elsewhere. Recognizing the ethical relativity, this mind feature exhibits abidance of values and principles that shape up our character. With a variety of mirror tests and other variables, this mind enables a person to hear the voice of its conscience.

With the constant motive of self-interest of every organization, the ethical mind protects an individual from becoming a slave to his materialistic instincts. Such mind also helps an individual deal with the daily work issues that pose the question of right and wrong on his table. Gardner believes if our educational systems help our children develop all of these five minds, they will definitely be competent enough to tackle the challenges that the future has in store for them. A good balance of all of these five minds is an ideal personality for the future times.

Applying the Book to Human Resource Management Applying Gardner’s five minds to the discipline of human resource management can reveal extremely beneficial outcomes. Gardner believes that the training and development of an organization should incorporate activities that nurture these minds and individuals. As these minds are strongly related to the needs of an employee on a daily basis, training programs designed on the foundation of these five minds can result in an organization achieving human capital that is ready to solve any issue that can emerge in the future.

From the succeeding in a decision making process to functioning in a demanding workplace, the minds serve as constant innovating factors enriching the organization. an essential function of human resource management departments of the organizations is to conduct performance appraisals. such appraisals are often subjected to criticism on the fact that each employee possesses a different mindset and hence should be evaluated accordingly.

If the performance management systems are designed keeping in mind these mind types, they can highlight to the employee their current status and provide a concrete vision as to what are the expectations from that employee. Conclusion Howard Gardner’s Five Minds for the Future is a book that is an enriching collection of guidelines that not only precautions but also prepares us for the upcoming challenges of the future. With Gardner’s rich and relatable explanations, it definitely broadens the horizon of the reader and takes him into an in depth insight of himself and of those around him. Hence, this book is an ideal read for every occupation.

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