Monday, November 29, 2010

Super Summarizer section 6

Chapter nine is about finding meaning and purpose in our lives. Pink recommends that we begin taking spirituality and happiness seriously. He states that people have all the material goods they need to survive and much of the suffering and hardship have been removed from the advanced world. Now we need to focus on being fulfilled in non-material ways.
Pink tells about the “investigating the Mind” conference at MIT where scientists and spiritual leaders gather to learn about the science of spirituality. They have scanned the brains of meditating monks and of nuns who have experienced religious ecstasy. This new field of study is called neuro-theology and it is devoted to studying the relationship between the brain and spirituality.

People who live healthy spiritual lives are also healthier in body. Many studies have shown that people who attend church and pray regularly have lower blood pressure, less heart disease, suicide, and cancer. Generally, spiritually fulfilled people live longer than people who do not seek a higher power. Pink points out that this doesn’t mean we should stop going to medical doctors, but that we should have a balance, “L-directed reason combined with R-directed spirit.”

Additionally, businesses can benefit from aligning spiritual values with company goals. Research is showing that employees crave jobs that acknowledge their spiritual needs. Pink says that companies who meet these needs outperform companies that do not.

Pink gives practical recommendations for finding meaning and happiness. He says to practice expressing gratitude, think about how you would live your life if you were dying, replace “but” with “and” to get rid of excuses, take a Sabbath day to reflect, rest, and pray, and picture yourself at 90. One of my favorite suggestions was to make a short list of your favorite people, activities, and values and then check to see if the way you spend your time aligns with your list. Finally he suggests visiting a labyrinth. Has anyone tried this? It sounds fascinating.

Jamie's Voice thread

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Super Summarizer 5: Play

Super Summarizer 5 on “Play”
By Deb Schnell
This part of the book is entitled “Play.” It focuses on three important ideas. They are games, humor, and joyfulness. The reading elaborates on each.
Games: This section spoke about video games and their benefits. In the U.S. video gaming is larger than the motion picture industry. People now spend more time and money on video games than on movie tickets. For a generation of people games have become a tool for solving problems as well as a vehicle for self-expression and self exploration.
James Paul Gee argues that games can be the ultimate learning machine. He states that “Learning isn’t about memorizing isolated facts. It’s about connecting and manipulating them.” One study found that playing video games at work can boost productivity and enhance job satisfaction. In the gaming industry there is more demand for artists, producers, storytellers, and designers.
Humor: The right hemisphere plays an important role in humor. When the right hemisphere is impaired, the brain has difficulty with humor. Shammi and Struss maintain that humor represents one of the highest forms of human intelligence. Fabio Sala in the Harvard Business Review writes, “It reduces hostility, deflects criticism, relieves tension, improves morale, and helps communicate difficult messages. It is a marker for high emotional intelligence.”
Joyfulness: Madan Kataria, a physician in Mumbai, India believes that laughter has many benefits. He started a laughter club that allows adults to be more playful. Laughter activates the right side of the brain. Kataria says the source of laughter is not outside the body, it’s within us. If you’re laughing, you cannot think. Laughter has aerobic benefits. It activates the cardiovascular system, increases the heart rate, and pumps blood to internal organs. Socially, people who laugh regularly are healthier and happier. They are more creative and productive.
Many businesses are finding laughter beneficial to employees. A quote that I found interesting was from the company, Southwest Airlines that claims, “People rarely succeed at anything unless they are having fun doing it.” Play is becoming an important part of work, business, and personal well-being. Its importance manifests itself in the three ways mentioned: games, humor, and joyfulness.
The reading is concluded with suggestions on ways to include “Play” in our lives.

Blabberize code/ Laughter

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Super Summary Unit 4
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
Pages 158-184

This unit discussed the importance of Empathy and how it is that aptitude that will drive the future of our society. Being able to recognize the emotions of others and act accordingly is singularly a skill that computers cannot possess and so further enforces the belief that the right brain abilities are being cemented in the future of our society. Daniel Pink states on page 161..."and the one aptitude that's proven impossible for computers to reproduce, and very difficult for faraway workers connected by electrons to match, is Empathy."
Daniel Pink expresses in Unit 4 that for a long time the empathetic right side of the brain was considered weak and undesirable. It was something that was considered "nice", but really had no place in the Information Age when it was more important to know HOW to do something than it know WHY to do it. Lately, the importance of the right hemisphere has come to the forefront.
Studies have been going on for decades (at least since 1872 with Charles Darwin) about the ability to show, experience, and identify emotions. The results of these studies were mostly poo-pooed and guffawed upon until Paul Ekman, beginning in 1965, shared results of his facial expression photographs around the world. He did studies across the globe and discovered that people from all over recognized the different expressions representing in the photographs. Thus, the belief that facial expressions are important have gained popularity. In, fact, Ekman has taught face reading skills to people from law enforcement, to entertainment, to those in the medical field .
Pink states on page 162. "since Empathy depends on emotion and since emotion is conveyed non verbally, to enter another's heart, you must begin the journey by looking into his face." This is where the fright side of the brain really shines. It is also, again, the area that computers cannot replicate.
There are a multitude of expressions that can be illustrated non verbally, but Ekman narrowed the list down to a few basics. The seven basic emotional facial signals are: anger, sadness, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, and happiness.
Studies tend to lean to the fact that women are more empathetic than men and that both men and women have deeper, more rewarding, and more intimate relationships with women than with men. This joined with the information that the nursing field is on rise, helps to justify why most nurses are is not a gender bias. It is a matter of Empathy.
Pink is not saying that the right side is more important than the left. He also says that one side of the brain is not "smarter" than the other. He is saying, on page 174, that "empathy is neither a deviation from intelligence nor the single route to it." It is important to foster the two halves together-the right empathetic side with the left analytical side.
The Portfolio for Empathy starts on page 175 and concludes on page 184. It includes sites for testing your own empathy, other books written by Daniel Pink, and exercises for improving your empathy. Not only do the activities sound beneficial, they sound extremely FUN!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Summary Section 3

A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink
Part 3
Pages 100-158

Context enriched by emotion pg 103

Daniel Pink uses this chapter to illustrate that stories are easier to remember than facts because stories are how we remember. In society today facts can be found in seconds using technology. The author suggests when facts become so accessible, the value decreases. Being able to put these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact is what begins to emerge as important. According to the author, in the conceptual age minimizing the importance of story places you in professional and personal peril. The author continues by telling a variation of “the hero’s journey”. He identifies the hero’s journey as the underlying story of this book. The three main parts of the journey: Departure, Initiation, & Return. The master of L-Directed aptitudes facing a crisis, resisting, but answering a call and eventually crossing the threshold into the conceptual age with a whole new mind – the capability to inhabit both worlds.
This chapter examines how story has become an essential aptitude in business, medicine and personal life.

**IN BUSINESS Daniel Pink names many well known companies incorporating the aptitude of Story into their businesses. It is becoming a key way to distinguish good s and services.
**IN MEDICINE With all the astounding advances in medicine, anecdote is seen as a low form of science. Narrative medicine proponents are trying to change this. They believe physicians need the ability to listen to the narratives of the patient, grasp and honor their meanings, and be moved to act on the patient’s behalf. They acknowledge stories alone won’t heal the sick, but they have an undeniable healing power.
**IN PERSONAL LIFE “WE ARE OUR STORIES.”pg 115. This section mentions the scrapbooking movement and popularity of genealogy as examples of the importance of story in our lives. He reminds us that we must listen to each other’s stories and that we are each the “authors of our own lives.”

In the portfolio section for Story the author offers a collection of tools, exercises, and further readings including: Write a Mini-Saga, Enlist in StoryCorps, Whip Out the Tape Recorder, Visit a Storytelling Festival, Get One Story, Riff on Opening Lines, Play Photo Finish, Experiment with Digital Storytelling, Ask Yourself: “Who Are These People?”, Read from A list of suggestions Books

The ability to put together the pieces, to synthesize rather than analyze, see relationships between items that appear unrelated, invent something new by combining elements no one else has thought to put together, the ability of composers and conductors to create a beautiful masterpiece.

Through the chapter the author describes his attempt to learn to draw. Learning how to draw helps understand and develop the skill of Symphony. His instructor informed the class it was about tricking the left hemisphere so the right can work. An element in learning to draw was learning to see the relationships between space and negative space, light and shadow, angles and proportion. This understanding led to seeing the big picture. These notions were the two topics of chapter 6.

**SEEING RELATIONSHIPS This section defines symphony as seeing relationships. The author identified 3 types of people who excel in understanding the importance of relationships:
• Boundary crosser who are comfortable operating in multiply roles and worlds
• Inventors who have the intuitiveness to see relationships between seemingly unrelated objects. They may take something that exists and transform it in a new way.
• Metaphor makers who can think metaphorically and see relationships computers can’t. It aides in understand others and understanding ourselves.

**SEEING THE BIG PICTURE This section describes the need to distinguish what really matters. To create a final product in which the outcome exceeds the sum of its parts. This section included research on Dyslexia. It stated “self made millionaires are four times more likely than the rest of the population to be dyslexic.” Pg 141. They struggle with L-directed Thinking. The author suggests they compensate for this by strengthening other abilities such as problem-solving, and seeing the big picture.

Seeing the big picture transformed the author’s original self-portrait to a remarkable rending of himself.

The symphony portfolio includes: Listen to the Great Symphonies, Hit the Newsstand, Draw, Keep a Metaphor Log, Follow the Links, Look for Solutions in Search of Problems, Create an Inspiration Board, Read Suggested Books, Do some Real Brainstorming, Celebrate your Amateurness, Look for the Negative Spaces.

One question – What did you see in the negative space of the Hershey’s kiss? Was it the image of a kiss between the K & I or something else?

Monday, November 1, 2010

response to unit 1

I think that Peggy did an excellent job summarizing. Mr. Pink has certainly hit the nail on the head as far as I am concerned. I feel that we have become a society that concerns itself less with getting the basic necessities of life and more with abundance. Not so many years ago, having a cell phone was a luxury and now many people, including myself consider it a necesssity. The applications and extras of years past have become the standard packages of today and designers are constantly trying to make their products more appealing rather than just practical.
Even the seemingly mundane items are being influenced by design. As Pink states on pages 74-75 when discussing print fonts..."Today we live in a new habitat." What we as a society would never have been exposed to (types of font) is now considered common knowledge if we can read, write, and use a computer. Our habitat and how we learn to survive it in Western Civilization is much how natives of a rainforest must learn to "read" their environment to survive.