The Next Adjacent Possible Interview: Dan Pink
The bestselling author of Drive (and many others) joins me to talk about his new book, The Power Of Regret.
I think I first encountered Dan Pink’s writing about fifteen years or so ago, shortly after he published his third book, A Whole New Mind. I’d just come out of writing Mind Wide Open and Everything Bad Is Good For You, both of which were animated by an interest in what I would call applied neuroscience: taking some of the latest insights from brain science and using them to understand not how the brain worked in the abstract, but how your brain worked, perhaps with the goal of actually improving how it worked, or at least giving you strategies for finding a way around its limitations. A Whole New Mind was very much written in the same spirit, only Dan was—and continues to be—much more adept than I am at actually giving practical advice and useful tools in his writing. I’ve been a fan ever since.
The other thing Dan and I share is an obsession with workflow strategies and the creative process generally, which has obviously been a central focus here at Adjacent Possible. (I was planning on discussing his book When in an upcoming post about how best to organize your schedule to make room for idea generation, as part of the creative workflow series.) A few years ago, I interviewed him for a series I was doing at Medium, and we had a hilarious conversation where Dan explained his—to my mind—shockingly analog techniques for organizing his ideas and book research. (The whole thing was like one giant ad for Staples.)
And so when I saw that Dan had a new book out called The Power Of Regret that 1) discussed some fascinating psychology studies that overlapped with some of the ideas I’d explored in writing my book Farsighted and 2) involved an innovative global survey that Dan conducted as part of the research process, I knew I had to ask him to do a guest interview here at Adjacent Possible. The book is currently #3 on the Times bestseller list and Dan’s in the middle of his book tour, so we’re very lucky to get some time with him given all the madness that accompanies the launch of a big book like this one.
One quick word on format: after a bit of tinkering during our first two interviews here, I’ve decided on a new structure for the interviews going forward. I’ll post an opening question and response from the guest in front of the paywall, so everyone can see the initial part of the exchange, and then there will be a few additional rounds of the conversation that only paid subscribers can read. Paid subscribers can also suggest questions for me to ask Dan — if you have something you’re curious about, post it in the comment thread below and I’ll try to bring it up in my interview with Dan. (In that second section of the interview, we’re going to be talking more about the writing/researching process, so it will be very much a continuation of the conversation we’re having about creative workflows already.) I’ve got a great lineup of additional guests who will be joining over the coming weeks and months, so this would be an excellent time to upgrade to the paid subscription.
I’ll send the interview out sometime in the middle of next week, but in the meantime, you can read this excerpt from The Power of Regret that ran in The Wall Street Journal. And if you are one of the seven people on the planet who haven’t seen Dan’s TED talk on motivation—this thing has been viewed 28 million times—you should definitely watch it:
Dan also has a very popular newsletter—the Pinkcast—which you can sign up for here.
See you next week!