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Book Review: A Whole New Mind

This week, The Frugal Law Student takes a look at A Whole New Mind. The author, Daniel Pink, proposes that our country is in the process of transforming from a left brain to right brain economy. Is what he says useful for lawyers? Let’s find out.

Our brain is divided in half. Our brain’s left side gives us the ability to analyze, think logically, and calculate. Lawyers, accountants, and computer programmers typify the type of careers that require left brain or “L-directed” thinking. Our brain’s right side controls our emotions, spirituality, and creativity. It sees things holistically rather than analytically. Individuals with a tendency for “R-directed thinking” usually become artists, caregivers, or counselors.

While the 20th century was dominated by L-directed thinking, Mr. Pink argues that the 21st century will be the era of the right brain. Because of globalization and atomization, many jobs that once required left brain thinking can be done by a computer or a worker in India. These include legal jobs. I’ve posted previously about the trend in firms outsourcing legal research jobs to India. So, don’t think just because you’re going to law school or are practicing law that you’re safe from being effected by this change.

Are you ready for this new world? Mr. Pink suggests six senses or traits that workers should develop if they wish to thrive in this new economy. They are:

1. Design
2. Story
3. Symphony
4. Empathy
5. Play
6. Meaning

During the next week, I’ll be discussing each sense and provide suggestions on how lawyers can incorporate them into their work. My goal is to provide tools that law students and lawyers can use to prepare themselves for this new world. So, check by all this week. I’m looking forward to your comments.