Saturday, June 18, 2005

Poets Make Good Managers

Poets, like absent-minded professors, are presumed to have little skill in the board room and few career options in western society. Well-intentioned parents such as mine fret that their artistic children will flit from one improbable scheme to another until bitch slapped by reality.

Those of us blazing parallel career paths may also question our integrity and identity as writers; we suspect the ability to perform xyz task cancels out any artistic sensibilities or talent. Perhaps more to the point, we've been taught that artistic temperment is as ill-suited to the business world as a vinyl baby tee and hip huggers.

In his new book A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, author Daniel Pink argues that parents and career advisors should steer today's kids away from traditional "safe" professions like law and business in favour of literature and art.

There's an interesting article in this weekend's edition of The Globe and Mail (June 18, F10) that addresses the book's most critical themes and drops the following titillating quotes:

"Get me some poets as managers. Poets are our original systems thinkers."--Sydney Harman, CEO of a multimillion dollar stereo-equipment empire.

"In a world enriched by abundance but disrupted by the automation and outsourcing of white collar work everyone regardless of profession must cultivate an artistic sensibility. We may not all be Dali or Degas. But today we must all be designers."--Daniel Pink

Intrigued? Check out the Pink Blog to find out why comic books may be more important than algebra.