Increasingly, our world is being driven by digitally synthesized information (data) that dictates how we think, learn, consume, work and live. While algorithms, AI and robots help improve efficiency, those who believe they should only be part of the process of interpreting the world around us will find great comfort in Howard Gardner’s mesmerizing new book “A Synthesizing Mind: A Memoir from the Creator of the Multiple Intelligences Theory” (MIT Press, September 29, 2020).
The John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Research Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Gardner is a renowned authority on the human mind and best known for his groundbreaking Multiple Intelligences Theory, which remains highly influential today.
After over 40 years of studying the minds of others as a researcher and psychologist, Gardner turns his lens inward in “A Synthesizing Mind,” studying his own intellectual path from childhood to the present with characteristic curiosity, humility and detached observation.
In the process, he points to the unique ways each of us learns and interprets the world and encourages us to avoid fully surrendering that human experience to the digital world, especially when it comes to assessing and solving problems.
While Gardner acknowledges we all benefit from computational tools, he refuses to cede to them the tasks of deciding what to collect and study and how to make sense of what the data show.
“That’s the job of human synthesizing,” says Gardner.
“This is a personal yet objective account of the evolution of a peerless scholar,” writes Kiran Bir Sethi, founder of The Riverside School and Design for Change. “Howard’s reflective storytelling and his insightful narration of the events that shaped him are a joy to read, giving us an intimate insight into how multiple, often seemingly disparate threads intertwine to shape an exceptional mind.”
In showing us the inner workings of his own mind, Gardner reveals how multiple intelligences serve as a powerful breeding ground for brilliance.
To keep up with Howard Gardner’s research, which is always ahead of its time, follow his blog.
Advance Praise for “A Synthesizing Mind”
“An insightful memoir from an eminent psychologist.” – Kirkus Review
“In a world where brains and neurons have too readily been exploited as explanations for human behavior, Howard Gardner’s much awaited memoir takes us in a different direction: into the life of the mind. More impressively still, this deeply reflective text opens up to every reader’s inspection the extraordinary mind in the life of one of the greatest and most frequently cited intellectuals of modern times.” – Andy Hargreaves, Research Professor, Boston College; author of “Moving”
“Read this book for Gardner’s self-reflection — a mind that synthesizes ideas writing about how it came to be a mind that synthesizes ideas — and for what he has to say about the changing academic and intellectual world around him. Are we narrowing our focus when we most need open minds?” – Sherry Turkle, Professor, MIT; author of “Reclaiming Conversation” and “Alone Together”
“It’s been quipped that theories in psychology are true of those who propose them, and that’s certainly the case with Howard Gardner: creative, openminded, artful, disciplined, and in command of multiple intelligences. It’s a cause for celebration that one of our most influential living psychologists has trained his insight onto his own life and work.” – Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; author of “How the Mind Works” and “Enlightenment Now”
“Howard Gardner has done what scholars dream of doing but rarely accomplish: he had a powerfully original idea which he developed in a way that changed an entire field, reaching well beyond the academy and affecting our nation’s social policy and collective understanding. ‘A Synthesizing Mind’ is an illuminating account of how such a breakthrough came about, a thick description of the life trajectory and the intellectual formation that led to this enduring achievement.” – Stephen Greenblatt, author of “Tyrant”