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Howard Gardner - Five Minds for the Future - REVIEW

Gardner’s 25th book: Five Minds for the Future

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2007 brings us Gardner’s 25th book: Five Minds for the Future (Harvard Business School Press). In this work, Gardner posits five sets of cognitive capabilities that will be needed, he says, by any successful citizen, professional, or businessperson.

These include the

"disciplined mind," the ability to focus oneself enough to master a major school of thought such as mathematics, science, or history;

the "synthesizing mind," the ability to integrate diverse ideas into a coherent whole;

the "creating mind," the capacity to uncover new problems and questions, and to solve them;

the "respectful mind," the ability to form and maintain good relationships with other people;

and the "ethical mind," the ability to fulfill one’s responsibilities as a citizen and to identify with fellow human beings.

This catalog of future minds emerged out of a nonprofit foundation called the GoodWork Project that Gardner founded in 1996 with psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Claremont University (best known for his 1990 book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience [HarperCollins]) and William Damon of Stanford University. GoodWork’s researchers conducted 10 years’ worth of studies of outstanding leaders in professions that routinely grapple with ethical concerns, focusing in depth on journalism and genetics, plus law, science, medicine, theater, philanthropy, and business.

The researchers asked why some highly capable people follow ideals of service and altruism, and what difference this makes in their careers and lives. The trio’s findings, that ethical practice and great execution tended to correlate, were first published in Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (Basic Books, 2001) — a book that never became popular. Nonetheless, in an era still marked by boardroom scandals and the lionization of CEOs, the concept of good work represents a kind of undertow, often resonating with senior businesspeople who have been through the mill of a career and are now trying to make sense of their ultimate value and legacy.

SOURCE: Read the complete, fascinating review at

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| social responsibility | leadership | sustainability | green business | governance | management |


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