Daniel H. Pink is the bestselling author of A Whole New Mind.
I was fortunate enough to get a copy of his latest book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. After devouring the book, I wrote a review on Trend Hunter.
It turns out, Dan is a fan of Trend Hunter too! He jokingly accused the site of being a threat to his work and "a massive loss of productivity over the next several months" before likening the site to a time machine.
"My browser already has buttons for FORWARD and BACK. Reading Trend Hunter is like having a button for FUTURE. It allows me to see what’s going to happen next. Amazing."
I was thrilled to connect with Dan again to ask him a few questions.
In the interview, he gives the inside scoop on the inspiration behind the The Adventures of Johnny Bunko which will be available for sale April 2, 2008.
How do you spot trends as an author?
By trying to be as eclectic as possible. I try to read widely, everything from literary novels to mysteries to business magazines to political journals to academic reports, and look for connections. It’s also important, I think, to communicate, whether by email, in person, or on the phone, to a wide variety of people. Talking with only the usual suspects can become an echo chamber.
What’s the key to breakthrough innovation?
IMHO, there are three keys:
1) A sense of curiosity
2) A willingness to make mistakes
3) The capacity to combine two things that nobody ever thought of combining
How would you define cool?
I know something is cool when I immediately want to tell someone else about it.
How do you reset yourself to be creative (ie. do you have any rituals?)
I run. As much as I can. Nothing is better for clearing the head and letting the mind wander.
If you had a magic pair of chopsticks, what would you ask?
That I could survive on only three hours of sleep per night.
What inspired you to write for young adults entering the modern career world?
I talked to students at lots of colleges and universities and found they were operating under the same false premises that I had 25 years ago. For example, many of them had these carefully laid out plans for the first ten years of their careers. I had to explain to them that—sorry—there is no plan. Life is too complicated and unpredictable and exciting for that kind of intricate planning.
Would this book have inspired you in your early 20s, or do you think it’s a book of the times?
I *definitely* could have used this book 25 years ago. In fact, in some sense, it’s a letter to my younger self. These are six lessons I learned on my own, sometimes the hard way, that I wish I’d had known when I was a pup.
Do you think there is a North American manga market for boomers?
Yes. In Japan, manga is for everyone—from kids to salarymen to seniors. There’s no reason that can’t happen here in North America. In fact, it’s probably inevitable.
Could you imagine manga TV shows for English-speaking adults?
Sure. Look at the success of animated programs like the Simpsons or King of the Hill. Or just turn on the Cartoon Network during its Adult Swim segment. Then think about how easy the Internet has made it to distribute programming. Again, it seems just a matter of time.
Are you planning any other manga books?
For now, I’m working on another, more traditional, book and waiting to see how people respond to Johnny and his adventures. But these characters have more stories in them. And careful readers will see hints in the book of where the story might go.
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