An Interview With Daniel Pink: On the Artist Uprising

This interview was originally published in The Huffington Post on 2/15/2017. The following excerpt is posted with permission.

By: Christine Henseler, Contributor

Co-authored with Dr Yasmine Van Wilt, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Mellon Fellow at Union College, Kobalt/AWAL recording artist, dramatist, artist, academic, and contributor to Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global.

This is the first of a series of interviews with extraordinary people who are using their skills and training as artists and humanists to improve their communities, challenge assumptions, and advance our understanding of the human condition. In this piece, we spoke with world-renowned, best-selling author Daniel H. Pink about the ways his scholarship in the humanities shaped his career. He offered advice to young humanists and asserted the socio-cultural importance of the humanities.

Daniel Pink is the author of five books, including three long-running New York Times bestsellers, A Whole New Mind, Drive, and To Sell is Human. He was host and co-executive producer of Crowd Control, a television series about human behavior on the National Geographic Channel. He has been a contributing editor at Fast Company and Wired as well as a business columnist for The Sunday Telegraph. Daniel Pink’s TED Talk on the science of motivation is one of the 10 most-watched TED Talks of all time.

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YVW: Thanks so much for speaking with me today. We are great admirers of your work. Would you mind discussing your forthcoming project?

In general terms, what I’m looking at is the science of timing. So some of the questions I’m exploring are: When should you switch jobs? When should you begin a project? Why do we behave differently at midpoints? How do people synchronize their actions in time? What does this look at the science of timing yield?

YVW: How did undergraduate and postgraduate study shape your career?

It’s an interesting question. I actually don’t think that my law degree played that huge of a role. What it might have done is helped sharpen some of the very systematic, logical ways of reasoning as a writer. I would argue, though, that what I did as an undergraduate might have had a much more important impact on me. I was a Linguistics major as an undergraduate; it was a fascinating subject at the juncture of the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences. This is what attracted me about the field. And this juncture is what I’m trying to capture in this new book. For example, in A Whole New Mind there’s a chapter on the brain. I’ve read many papers in biology, looking at how our bodies and brains operate at different times of the day. And Linguistics sits at the juncture of these three domains. So my undergraduate study in this field really did shape the way I’ve approached the intersection of these three areas of study.

To read the entire interview, please visit The Huffington Post.

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