Summary of Full-Spectrum Thinking

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Full-Spectrum Thinking book summary

Editorial Rating

8

Qualities

  • Overview
  • Visionary
  • Inspiring

Recommendation

Bob Johansen describes a future that will favor people who think beyond categories and explore the broad spectrum of possibilities. He discusses the power-distributing effects of blockchain, the capacity for video gaming to revolutionize education and job training, companies selling lifetime experiences, and new ways of building purpose and community. Johansen provides a telling, thought-provoking window into the current mind-set of Silicon Valley’s Institute for the Future.

About the Author

Distinguished fellow with the Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley Bob Johansen’s other books include Get There Early; Leaders Make the Future; and The New Leadership Literacies.

Summary

Full-spectrum thinking means looking for connections, not differences.

Many people remain stuck in thoughtless cycles of categorical thinking. When a new situation arises, they try in vain to fit the new circumstance into old categories. Rather than recognizing each person as an individual, they affix labels to people, summing them up in one disdainful word, like, “millennial,” “old,” or “immigrant.” Rather than encouraging empathy, these categorizations promote contempt. Labels limit possibility; categorizing maintains existing power structures.

You probably dislike being labeled because it feels coercive and limiting. Categories have their utility, though, and you likely proudly self-identify with some. Full-spectrum thinking doesn’t mean you refuse all categories; it enables you to move away from certainty toward nuance. By avoiding undue certainty, full-spectrum thinkers pay attention to context, acknowledge patterns and pursue clarity.

Your ancestors were full-spectrum thinkers; your descendants’ success demands full-spectrum thinking.

Throughout history, children have been born full-spectrum thinkers, but rigid trends...


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