A few words about the organization of this book. Perhaps not surprisingly, A Whole New Mind is itself high concept and high touch. Part One—the Conceptual Age—lays out the broad animating idea. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the key differences between our left and right hemispheres and explains why the structure of our brains offers such a powerful metaphor for the contours of our times. In Chapter 2, I make a resolutely hardheaded case, designed to appeal to the most left-brained among you, for why three huge social and economic forces—Abundance, Asia, and Automation—are nudging us into the Conceptual Age. Chapter 3 explains high concept and high touch and illustrates why people who master these abilities will set the tempo of modern life.
Part Two—the Six Senses—is high touch. It covers the six essential abilities you’ll need to make your way across this emerging landscape. Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning. I devote one chapter to each of these six senses, describing how it is being put to use in business and everyday life. Then, at the end of each of these chapters, marked off by shaded pages, is a Portfolio—a collection of tools, exercises, and further reading culled from my research and travels that can help you surface and sharpen that sense.
In the course of the nine chapters of this book, we’ll cover a lot of ground. We’ll visit a laughter club in Bombay, tour an inner-city American high school devoted to design, and learn how to detect an insincere smile anywhere in the world. But we need to start our journey in the brain itself—to learn how it works before we learn how to work it. So the place to begin is the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where I’m strapped down, flat on my back, and stuffed inside a garage-size machine that is pulsing electromagnetic waves through my skull.