Howard Gardner (1943- )
American expert in educational psychology and professor at Harvard University (pictured right), famous for his
idea of “multiple intelligences” (see below).
Frames of Mind
Human intelligence isn’t just IQ.
It has several different facets (“multiple intelligences” or “frames of
mind”) that all need to be developed to maximize people’s potential.
This is known as “MI theory” or the “theory of multiple
These intelligences are:
Oral and communication skills.
Performing, composing and appreciating music.
Logical and analytical thinking normally associated with science and mathematics.
Artistic and navigational skills.
Athleticism and manual dexterity e.g. in sewing.
- understanding people and working well with them.
Understanding yourself and your feelings, fears and motives.
Everyone has all these intelligences but is unique, performing differently in each
one because of different experiences, abilities and motivations.
The intelligences are also amoral i.e. their moral effect depends on how they’re used and
Education should be tailored to each person’s needs and intelligences, using different teaching
methods and media (particularly computers).
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An intelligence is the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more
Extraordinary performers do three things brilliantly:
Continuous reflecting, and learning from experience -
- successes, mistakes and failures.
- the acquisition of new knowledge and relationships.
Using your strengths (and ignoring your weaknesses) to achieve challenging and visionary aims through:
- the pursuit of excellence.
Continuously converting experiences into positive action (i.e. seeing learning as an
Creativity must be used well and humanely (“humane creativity”).
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Discover your difference...and make the most of it.
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Critical is the capacity to see not so much the bright side of a setback as the learning opportunity it
Gardner adds another intelligence: “naturalist intelligence” (recognizing and learning
from nature and the environment).
He also considers other possibilities:
1. Existential intelligence
Exploring and understanding the nature of existence (particularly religious and spiritual issues).
This might (less accurately) be called “spiritual intelligence”.
2. Moral intelligence
Knowing what is right and wrong (particularly relating to “the sanctity of life”).
Key quotes on society and ethics
We must figure out how intelligence and morality can work together to create a world in which a great variety of
people will want to live.
Five Minds for the Future
Five minds are necessary to make the most of the future and radical changes caused by globalization and science
1. The Disciplinary
Mastering an academic discipline, craft or profession.
2. The Synthesizing
Integrating different areas of knowledge to solve problems.
3. The Creating
Creating new ideas and solutions by:
- asking “unfamiliar questions”.
4. The Respectful
Respecting and valuing people’s differences.
5. The Ethical
- being responsible for yourself and others.
Key quotes on leadership and
Managers and leaders...must continue perennially to develop all five kinds of minds in themselves and – of
course - in those for whom they bear responsibility.
There are seven ways (“levers”) to significantly change your own and other people’s minds:
Weighing up the facts and making a logical argument.
Relating to people spiritually and emotionally through trust and self-knowledge.
Presenting the same idea in different ways to use in different intelligences.
5. Resources and
Giving and refusing money and other rewards.
6. Real world
Exploiting external opportunities and threats.
Challenging and changing established assumptions and beliefs.
To maximize your influence, you must find the most effective combination of these seven factors.
Key quote on learning
The more of an individual’s intelligences you can appeal to when making an argument, the more likely you are to
change a person’s mind, and the more minds you are likely to change.
Key quote on leadership
Leaders almost by definition are people who change minds.