Five Minds for the Future

Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, is the guy who came up with Multiple Intelligences. Basically, “In his conception, a child who masters the multiplication table easily is not necessarily more intelligent overall than a child who struggles to do so. The second child may be stronger in another kind of intelligence…” Nice huh? I like that. At least not all are left out of the intelligence game. Who wouldn’t or who wouldn’t want to think that their own kid has a shot at being intelligent?

Anyway, I stopped by the community library at Compass Point, Sengkang and chanced upon this book called Five Minds for the Future. I don’t usually read educational references cover to cover but I guess this was no boring textbook reference but a book written in an easy to read manner. It starts with the introduction of the quintet of minds that we should have in the future, especially in a world such as ours. The minds he thinks we should have are: disciplined, synthesized, creative, respectful, and ethical. He is persuasive and reiterates his points in a nice manner so that it becomes easy to remember and to understand what he actually means by it.

More about the five minds described here in this blog from New Zealand.

Gardner also used positive exemplars such as Gandhi, Martha Graham and also negative ones such as Enron, Hitler to illiustrate why it is so important to nurture and cultivate such minds. At the end he prescribes that the respectful mind is one that should be cultivated first. The disciplined mind is not particularly about behavioural management but about disciplines such as thinking in the arts or scientific thinking…which he says takes about 10 years to fully master, at least.

More about Gardner at this website and some of his papers in pdf here which are “provided for research purposes only”.

Anyway, the book read well and quickly too. Not too complex as some educational texts tend to be. Moreover his concepts mainly appeal, mainly because these five minds can be cultivated in all and not only to a select. It was nice to read it in Phuket as the sun set or rose.

The next book, also from the Sengkang library is about how Nobel Laureates searched for indentity and integrity.. The pictures of the laureates are on the front cover and one of them is RabindranathTagore, who is the ultimate writer in my view.

Books read (starting Nov 2007)

1. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson

2. The Monk who sold his Ferrari – Robin Sharma

3. Universal Father, A Life of Pope John Paul II – Garry O’connor

4. Five Minds for the Future – Howard Gardner

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