This book is an excellent overview of likely changes coming to our society from a world-view perspective. In generations past, there have been wholesale societal shifts in “direction.” For instance, moving from into the industrial age, there was a shift from a family-based agrarian societal structure. That had profound effects throughout society. People left the rural areas and congregated in cities to find production jobs. Capacity of production was limited by the workers available so the educational system was changed to educate our children to a degree that they would be capable of succeeding in those types of jobs. That required left brain thinking. Over the past 150 years, that has been an extremely successful and productive model for western countries. But in modern times, there is another shift that is currently in full swing: a new renaissance, wherein those jobs & professions that require left-brain thought and training are better handled by computers or low-paid workers in other countries.
If you have been exposed to Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence or Social Intelligence books and Friedman’s The World is Flat (or even Hot, Flat & Crowded), you’ll have something of an idea of how this book reads. The writing style is very similar to Friedman’s, though not as densely packed. There is certainly some conceptual content overlap among all of these books as well. I found them all to be quite interesting. Or maybe “thought-provoking” would be the more appropriate term.
The focus of AWNM is on the new renaissance and how this could affect our future and that of our children. Is the current education system going to serve our children, or will it adequately outfit them to enter a job market in which they have no chance of competing with someone who works for 1/2 or less the wages? What types of skills and perspectives do we need to educate and train our future generations in order to make the next economic leap? There are some specifics and a lot of general ideas to digest. And probably act upon through groundswells of pressure and support on our educational system in order to make the necessary changes to best serve our next generations.
My primary criticism of the book is there isn’t enough specific application discussed. The topics covered are huge and will probably affect our next several generations to such a large degree that not acting on this is foolish. Probably even downright negligent. So what are the “next steps” to take as (a) individuals, (b) local thought-leaders, (c) people on educational boards, (d) people involved in various strata of government or even politics? Speaking of politics, I’m essentially straight-up libertarian, and this book read as having a significantly liberal bias. To me, that felt unnecessary as these topics are really non-partisan. Perhaps it was hard to contain as many current right-brain-dominant individuals find themselves in liberal fields of work. Still, it needs to be noted as the topics should be equally important to conservatives, liberals, or anyone in our country. And for those reading it from outside of the western world, it really gives a good thought-platform on skipping straight past “equality” with the western world to a position of dominance quickly.
Definitely a recommended read. Start up a conversation if you do.