Friday, February 29, 2008

Reflections on Introduction Through Chapter Three of AWNM

Even having read just the introduction and three chapters of AWNM, Daniel Pink’s thinking amazes me. It has such impressive depth. I had never thought of any of the ideas presented in this book until now. It almost made me think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” because his ideas seem obvious. In reality, although they are there, it is a matter of thinking deep enough to find them. This reveals that Daniel Pink clearly has a deep thinking capacity.
The section on “Asia” left me slightly frightened because of the talk about outsourcing. My dad is a computer programmer and has been for more than 30 years. Back when he was growing up and going to college, a logical/analytical career such as this was THE career to have. But as Mr. Pink adamantly states, we are moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age.
This is a welcome change in my mind. I have always favored right-brain thinking because it comes easier to me. In school I have always been a English/History person rather than a Math/Science person. I consider myself fairly creative. In fact, my childhood ambition, starting in first grade, was to become a fashion designer. In third grade, I wanted to be a writer. I stuck with this for a long time while being told by numerous amounts of people that these are not “practical” careers and that it is extremely hard to make it in theses industries. However, these are my passions. I have figured out so far that this book is helping me have the last laugh in a sense. It has assured me that my dream is not impractical and is in fact entirely valid in this new Conceptual Age. It is telling me that because of this new world in which we are entering, I might just make it in either of my dream careers.
While being amazing by his thinking style, it is my opinion that he is blowing outsourcing out of proportion. Although he uses facts and statistics to back up his points, I simply do not think it is as big as a concern as he makes it out to be. As I mentioned before, my dad is a computer programmer. About two or three years ago, his company tried outsourcing. Not only did it cost the company millions of dollars, it was a complete disaster, making this money go to waste. If a company as large and prominent as Great West Life has made this discovery about outsourcing, other companies are sure to discover this as well and follow their lead. If enough companies realize what a disaster outsourcing really is, then it will gradually become less and less of a problem.
The part about abundance was somewhat disturbing. When I learned that self-storage is a $17 billion business, making it larger than the movie business, I was shocked. This shock grew when I learned that America spends more on trash bags than ninety other countries spend for everything. This symbolized to me that we as Americans simply have way too much stuff! When we start spending more on trash receptacles than ninety other countries do for everything, we have a sad situation, in my opinion. And the self-storage was amazing too. Basically, if someone has so much stuff that they spend money to lock it away in some building where they never see it, not only do they have way too much stuff, but they could also stand to get rid of some of it! I also learned that in America, we have more cars than licensed drivers, which also struck me as weird. No wonder our pollution level is astronomical!
All of this abundance can lead to good: among all of the materialism, there is a search for meaning. I personally think this is great, because it is my opinion that we as people often do not have enough meaning in our lives. And meaning is something that everyone should search for, and if it takes materialism to achieve this, then maybe abundance is not as bad as we think. Daniel Pink provides an interesting viewpoint about how abundance leads to a search for meaning that I completely agree with.
I also found the vignette about Target very interesting, since I love Target and shop there for clothes. It was a terrific anecdote that helped me to remember that part of this chapter more than I would have had it not been there.
Something else shocking was how the computer beat a world-renowned chess grand master, Garry Kasparov, at chess. It is scary and poses a question: will computers one day be able to take over human abilities completely? This is definitely a frightening thought, and one which we have discussed in class (mostly while blogging) many times. This brings to mind the novel Fahrenheit 451, in which technology pretty much took over. However, no matter how frightening the thought is, it is probably not completely impossible for computers to take over human abilities entirely.
A point touched on numerous times in this section of reading dealt with the rising of right-brain aptitudes, among them creativity. This is truly reassuring to me because right-brain thinking has always come easier to me than left-brain thinking. (I am in honors English for a reason!) While I may not be the best at art, I am creative and I think this comes through in my writing and love of fashion. I can easily say that my impressions of this book are great so far! In just three chapters, it has simultaneously reassured me about my career aspirations and my dominant right-brain abilities! What's not to love about this book?

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