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If we are looking for permission to be creative, have fun, and tell stories, we don’t need to look much beyond Daniel Pink and his popular nonfiction book A Whole New Mind. And if we want to spend a little time face to face with him, we won’t need to look much farther than San Jose this weekend when he appears as one of the presenters in the Infopeople “Master Speaker” series.
Pink will be onsite at the California Library Association 2008 Conference and Exhibition signing copies of the book and talking about the idea of developing a whole new mind as well as how the book itself was developed.
Although the author himself, in a conversation this afternoon, described the 2005 release as “a book about business…and economics,” many of us have appreciated how far he goes in describing what he sees as the new essential skills—moving from left-brain to right-brain thinking—which lead us toward success in many of our endeavors: engaging our senses through design and story; developing a sense of invention and big-picture thinking while incorporating empathy into everything we do; incorporating humor and laughter into our work; and recognizing the importance of meaning in our day-to-day activities.
As he guides us through the process of changing the way we work and think, he enthusiastically acknowledges what this can and will mean for those who work in libraries: “Libraries in general have to do some rethinking about what their role is. At one point, they were repositories for information. That monopoly has been broken. They have to do things that are more high concept and more high touch” and ask questions including, “how do you serve your patrons in ways that delight them and surprise them?
“It requires a different set of skills,” he continued, and “in some ways, this can return libraries to their first principles: they’ve always been great civic organizations…They’re situated to democratize society…to become places where they (library users) can talk about their ideas.”
Pink, in his work and in his upcoming presentation, challenges us to push ourselves beyond the limit which we set and inhabit, and he infuses his work with plenty of examples to lead us toward that goal. Those unfamiliar with the book will find excerpts online, and those of us lucky enough to be in San Jose this weekend will find him on stage in what promises to be an engaging opportunity to hear him speak and respond to questions from his audience.
Pink’s CLA/Infopeople presentation is scheduled for Saturday, November 15, 2008 from 2:15-3:30 p.m. in the San Jose Conference Center, Ballroom A. He will be available in the Infopeople section of the Exhibitors’ Area (Booths 410, 411, and 511) that afternoon from 1 – 2 pm to sign copies of his book.

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