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Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner

Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner

1.Give an overview of the book – Describe the key points of the book; Explain the message(s) of the book.
2.What is your take away from the book? How does the book resonate with you? Explain what you
learned from the book; How will this help your strengths/weaknesses in order to develop your own


3.What next? – What next steps can you take to realize the benefits of the book?

5 Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner


In the book minds of the future, Howard Gardner has put together a list of thoughtful
ideas. These plans outline mentalities that will help people cope with a dynamic world. The
current states of affairs are characterized by ever changing circumstances. It is hard to predict the
future due to increasing amounts of information from different quarters. Gardner puts forward
five minds. The minds have little to do with natural competencies of a person but much to do
with mental capacities people can train on to improve their ways of thinking (Gardner, 2009).
The book makes us to seek to know the manner in which we can put our minds to the best use.

Gardner gives various explanations ranging from personal growth to adaptive mechanisms. He
describes their use as not for personal growth but for the purposes of accomplishing success. The
essay discusses the messages in the book, my take on his writing, and also how I can use the
words to realize advantages the author explains.

Overview and Messages

The mind indeed matters a lot. In the book, the author holds that the mind is the most
valuable tool we can use to accomplish great things. We only have to realize the best ways of
thinking. The ways of processing information need not be inflexible but should change to
accommodate new thoughts for the purposes of attaining important goals in commercial
endeavors as well as our career paths. In the book, Gardner outlines the mental acuity that will
enable us to become competitive in the present and future. They include a disciplined mind, the
processing mind, the innovative mind, the reverent mind, and the ethical sound mind (Gardner,
2009). All of these minds ought to work together so as to derive their full benefits.
The author gives illustrations of the disciplined mind through an account of a famous
piano expert from Poland. He talks of the entertainer as spending his life from childhood to
adulthood training on how to play the piano. His efforts to train the mind bear fruit as the piano
player becomes one of the best in his generation (Gardner, 2009). However, the artist reaches a
point where he stops practicing and later relinquishes expertise in the field. Gardner uses this
example to portray his idea that daily practice helps individuals to stand out from others who ply
the same trade.
The author goes ahead to give the message that it is easy for people to discover experts.
He uses the same pianist who states that the moment a day passes without doing some practice; it
comes to his attention that he loses some ability. In case he goes for a couple of days without

practice, the band he worked with noticed. Finally, whenever he stayed for more than two days
without practice, everyone noticed a decrease in ability to play the piano well (Gardner, 2009).
The writer simply reinforces his idea that practice is necessary to sustain expertise.
The author takes a turn on the merits of practice and gives a harsh reality that the world
sometimes punishes outstanding minds. He explains that when a person becomes excellent there
are people who nurture hostility (Gardner, 2009). The same people tend to work against growing
expertise. The writer uses the famous Galilee Galileo who was jailed for introducing the noble
idea that the world is round. The message is relevant as many people, who fail to accomplish
certain milestones, tend to hate those who easily achieve them as they cannot live with an
inferiority complex.
The author also gives an important message under the road ahead of people seeking to
become experts. He explains that people ought to incorporate information from different fields,
try to partake their duties to humanity, and develop reverent way of processing ideas (Gardner,
2009). I agree with this idea because we have to expect all sorts of future outcomes and prepare
for them so as to tackle them effectively.

Critique of the Messages
The Disciplined Mind

Under the disciplined mind, Gardner (2009) holds that concentrating in one field and
practicing is required to improve future competence. Ideas on the disciplined mind are partly
untrue. As we move into the future, the information overload forces us to learn different
disciplines to become more competent. For example, an actuarial Science student will find it
necessary to learn IT because of the merits of combining the courses.
The Synthesizing Mind

According to Gardner (2009) the synthesizing mind draws information from different
quarters to come up with new ideas. These are ideas are for personal use and can also be passed
on to other people. However, the manner through which a person links one idea to another is
based on personal judgment. The more a person invades more spheres, the more a synthesized
idea becomes accurate. The synthesizing mind, therefore, negates the disciplined mind in that

The creative mind

According to Gardner (2009) the creative mind is able to use current knowledge to come
up with novel ideas. Many would agree with him for admitting that the creative mind is not
always admired by giving the example of Galilee Galileo. However, he should have also pointed
out that creativity encourages people to work alone. As education becomes increasingly
globalised, creativity works against similar ways of thinking.
The respectful Mind

The respectful mind is one that attempts to entitle people to their own opinions (Gardner,
2009). It is more concerned with relationships and ideally support that people in all disciplines
should be considered equal. Many, however, disagree as it creates a situation where cognitive
functions no longer dictate affairs. Instead, beliefs and preexisting social paradigms dictate
progress in various disciplines.

The Ethical Mind

The Ethical Mind, according to Gardner (2009) encourages people to fulfill their
responsibilities to humanity. However, just like the respectful mind, the ethical mind is too much
reliant on relationships between people. People have more than one responsibility. The ethical
mind is an abstract concept and the society expects people to apply it in entirety.


My Take from the Book

I believe that people must concentrate in one area and practice to do all that pertains to it
in the best way possible. On the message about a mind which is disciplined, the author states that
it must have trained on more than a single method of processing thoughts, a unique way that
distinguishes people’s expertise in a particular field (Gardner, 2009). I agree because it is
common knowledge that a person who chooses to concentrate in one area finally gains greater
understanding that will separate them from other people in the same profession. Whether a
person is a chef or a lecturer, I understand that everyone must train regularly to become the best
professional. I fully embrace the idea of a mind that is disciplined as studies have found out that
it takes a decade of concentrate efforts to become a full expert. If people have an understanding
of what they intend to accomplish, they have to create time to practice.
The synthesizing and creating minds resonate with me the most. The author states that the
synthesizing mind draws data from different fields, comprehends and analyses it rationally, and
incorporates all the data for it and other people to draw sense from its output (Gardner, 2009). I
am always aware that we live in an age where access to information is necessary for people
seeking to advance their careers. Due to the presence of so much information, I always seek to
increase my processing ability so as to make the best use of all relevant knowledge. The mind
that creates is also another idea that resonates with me. The author states that the mind creates
novel outcomes that are not conceivable by simplistic thinking. The same mind seeks to question
why things are the way they are and in the process gets to know new things (Gardner, 2009). I
resonate with these ideas because I always try to create new ideas from the ones that I already

From the book I learnt two important things that I think will help me accomplish the best
in my profession. I summarize them under the respectful and Ethical minds. First the author talks
of the respectful mind as one that perceives and accepts variations in different people and strives
to cope with things that are not normal (Gardner, 2009). Just like Galileo’s case, I understand
that people will not value you just by your expertise but how you interact with them. Many
careers have been shattered due to failure of potential experts to revere important people. The
same goes for an ethical mind. We need people to support us. Failure to perform our
responsibilities to humanity could prove detrimental to career advancements.
Steps That I Can Take To Realize the Benefits of the Book

I think the best way to realize the best out of the book is to use the information to first
improve myself. Just as (Gardner) 2009 propose I will use the book to accomplish my career.
The next step will be to transform the world around me. I will try to discover what I really want
to accomplish in my lifetime. I will conceive the ultimate goal in my life. I will then create a plan
through which I will seek to improve my capabilities. Next, I will identify sources of information
and evaluate the ones that are important to me. Not all information is useful and I will train my
mind to filter the good information from other superfluous ones. I will then try at all times to be
as rational as possible in the way I handle the information. Even though I already know that I
have creativity in me, I will try to concentrate in creativity that has a positive impact on my
In addition, I will analyze the world around me as I interact with it to understand what
people need from me and how they perceive me. I will seek to entitle people to their opinions in
as much as I might think that mine are valid. Finally, pertaining to self improvement, I will seek
to use a different me to try and help improve humanity. Just like Gardner (2009) puts it, as an

expert, I find that it will be selfish to go for my goals only while ignoring that there people who
need me. It will be only fair if I help people achieve their dreams. The ethical and respectful
mind leads me to the idea of helping other people, especially children, to make the best of their
minds. I will try to introduce the ideas through learning centers so as to help nurture individuals
who will grow up with a purpose in life.
I will always to try to seek a mind that is discipline through the use of ideas put forward
by Gardner. I will discover substantial and important areas of study or ideas under a particular
discipline. An example of particular topics I will choose could be the deduction of meanings in
historical events I learn or a look at the forces of nature such as gravity. I will allow myself
enough time to study particular concepts. Reading with a single mindset might stifle my
creativity and it is for this reason that I will reread the topic so as to comprehend ideas from a
different perspective.


The ideas in 5 minds for the future are well applicable in everyday life. The book is a
valuable source for people who struggle to find a purpose in life. The author tries to tell us that
we can get lost in the information world easily but mental concentration and practice in a
particular field is indispensable. The five mental abilities are indeed form a manual to future



Gardner, H. (2009). 5 Minds for the Future. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

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