Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age

Book description

In a sweeping vision for the future of work, Neumeier shows that the massive problems of the 21st century are largely the consequence of a paradigm shift—a shuddering gear-change from the familiar Industrial Age to the unfamiliar “Robotic Age,” an era of increasing man-machine collaboration.

This change is creating the “Robot Curve,” an accelerating waterfall of obsolescence and opportunity that is currently reshuffling the fortunes of workers, companies, and national economies. It demonstrates how the cost and value of a unit of work go down as it moves from creative to skilled to rote, and, finally, to robotic. While the Robot Curve is dangerous to those with brittle or limited skills, it offers unlimited potential to those with metaskills—master skills that enable other skills.

Neumeier believes that the metaskills we need in a post-industrial economy are feeling (intuition and empathy), seeing (systems thinking), dreaming (applied imagination), making (design), and learning (autodidactics). These are not the skills we were taught in school. Yet they’re the skills we’ll need to harness the curve.

In explaining each of the metaskills, he offers encouragement and concrete advice for mastering their intricacies. At the end of the book he lays out seven changes that education can make to foster these important talents.

This is a rich, exciting book for forward-thinking educators, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, scientists, and future leaders in every field. It comes illustrated with clear diagrams and a 16-page color photo essay. Those who enjoy this book may be interested in its slimmer companion, The 46 Rules of Genius, also by Marty Neumeier.


Things you’ll learn in Metaskills:

- How to stay ahead of the “robot curve”

- How to account for “latency” in your predictions

- The 9 most common traps of systems behavior

- How to distinguish among 4 types of originality

- The 3 key steps in generating innovative solutions

- 6 ways to think like Steve Jobs

- How to recognize the 3 essential qualities of beauty

- 24 aesthetic tools you can apply to any kind of work

- 10 strategies to trigger breakthrough ideas

- Why every team needs an X-shaped person

- How to overcome the 5 forces arrayed against simplicity

- 6 tests for measuring the freshness of a concept  

- How to deploy the 5 principles of “uncluding”

- The 10 tests for measuring great work

- How to sell an innovative concept to an organization

- 12 principles for constructing a theory of learning

- How to choose a personal mission for the real world

- The 4 levels of professional achievement

- 7 steps for revolutionizing education

From the back cover

"Help! A robot ate my job!" If you haven't heard this complaint yet, you will. Today's widespread unemployment is not a jobs crisis. It's a talent crisis. Technology is taking every job that doesn't need a high degree of creativity, humanity, or leadership. The solution? Stay on top of the Robot Curve--a constant waterfall of obsolescence and opportunity fed by competition and innovation. Neumeier presents five metaskills--feeling, seeing, dreaming, making, and learning--that will accelerate your success in the Robotic Age.

Table of contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Dedication Page
  4. Contents
  5. Preface
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. Prologue
  8. Ten Questions
  9. The Mandate
    1. The arc of human talent
    2. The innovation mandate
    3. Where are the jobs?
    4. The Robot Curve
    5. A crisis of happiness
    6. The obsolete industrial brain
    7. Wanted: Metaskills
    8. Congratulations, you’re a designer
    9. The future in your hands
  10. 1. Feeling
    1. Brain surgery, self-taught
    2. When the right brain goes wrong
    3. The Magical Mind
    4. Leonardo’s assistant
    5. The uses of beauty
    6. Aesthetics for dummies
    7. It’s not business—it’s personal
    8. ON what do you bias your opinion?
  11. 2. Seeing
    1. The tyranny of or
    2. Thinking whole thoughts
    3. How systems work
    4. Grandma was right
    5. The primacy of purpose
    6. Sin explained
    7. The problem with solutions
    8. The art is in the framing
  12. 3. Dreaming
    1. Brilliant beyond reason
    2. The answer-shaped hole
    3. There be dragons!
    4. A most unpleasant young man
    5. The play instinct
    6. Dreaming together
    7. The bolt upright moment
    8. Six tests of originality
  13. 4. Making
    1. Il discorso mentale
    2. The no-process process
    3. Every day is Groundhog Day
    4. The discipline of uncluding
    5. The art of simplexity
    6. A Reality Check
    7. Sell in, not out
    8. The big to-do list
  14. 5. Learning
    1. Impossible is nothing
    2. The joy zone
    3. What’s the mission?
    4. A theory of learning
    5. Climbing the bridge
    6. Creativity loves company
    7. Unplugging
    8. The scenic road to you
  15. A Modest Proposal
    1. 1. Shut down the factory
    2. 2. Change the subjects
    3. 3. Flip the classroom
    4. 4. Stop talking, start making
    5. 5. Engage the learning drive
    6. 6. Advance beyond degrees
    7. 7. Shape the future
  16. Notes
    1. Prologue
    2. Ten Questions
    3. The Mandate
    4. Feeling
    5. Seeing
    6. Dreaming
    7. Making
    8. Learning
    9. A Modest Proposal
  17. Index

Product information

  • Title: Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age
  • Author(s):
  • Release date: November 2012
  • Publisher(s): New Riders
  • ISBN: 9780133359275