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John Harvard's Journal

Howard Gardner

September-October 2007

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Howard Gardner

book coverAs a psychologist, Howard Gardner is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, first propounded in 1983 in one of his two dozen books, Frames of Mind. Intelligence, he posits, isn’t a single faculty that can be measured with a standard IQ test. Instead, humans have several forms of this commodity, some of which show up in nonacademic pursuits—music-making, for instance. Gardner is also a founder and now senior director of the educational think tank Project Zero. The Hobbs professor of cognition and education at the Graduate School of Education, he has made signal contributions to the study of child development, leadership, creativity, and fulfilling work. Now, in the role of public intellectual, he is speaking out on policy matters. His newest book, Five Minds for the Future, is prescriptive. We should cultivate five ways of thinking—disciplinary, synthesizing, creating, respectful, and ethical minds—for personal success and to make the world a world one wants to live in. In the magazine Foreign Policy, he argued in the spring for upper limits on the amount of income an American should be allowed to keep and the amount of wealth that can be passed on to beneficiaries ($4 million a year and $200 million, respectively). “It makes sense to be moderate politically only if there are two sides willing to engage,” he says. “The right wing isn’t just taking over the country, it’s shanghaiing all our values. If there’s a Republican administration after the next election, I would join in efforts for some sort of secession. It’s not the same country anymore.”