Saturday, April 7, 2012

Maximize Your Creative Capabilities

April 2012 Book Review

How creativity works
I’ve discovered an “outlier;” an “anomaly.”  Jonah Lehrer has managed to do something that some many other authors rarely do:  write a book that’s better than their previous.  His How We Decide was one of a countless number of behavioral economic books that hit the market a few years ago.  His was better than most of the others I read.  By applying a similar research and narrative to a very different topic area, Lehrer’s Imagine is even stronger.  He studies the roots to what makes people creative and how we can foster even greater creativity.  His research into this obscure topic is thorough and his examples are fascinating.  He combines statistical studies with neurological findings.  It definitely leaves you thinking how you can boost your own, your team or even your company’s creative and innovative juices.   He breaks down the five to six most important elements to creativity and intertwines them with historical and modern day references to musicians, artists, businesses and scientists.  In a nutshell, he uncovers that frustration, daydreaming, distractions, collaboration, random interactions, ignorance, and willingness to share and criticize ideas are at the root of some of the world’s most creative and innovative people and organizations.  I suspect some people will be upset when they come across the chapter that proves traditional brainstorming actually stifles creativity.  Why is the book important to read?  As he puts it:  “Creativity is a skill that never goes out of style.”
Here are a few of the better quotes I came across:
“If you can keep finding new challenges, then you can think like a young person even when you’re old and gray.”
“When you escape from the place you spend most of your time, the mind is suddenly made aware of all those errant ideas previously suppressed.  You start thinking about obscure possibilities – corn can fuel cars!”
“The only way to maximize group creativity – to make the whole more than the sum of its parts – is to encourage a candid discussion of mistakes.”
“Nobody is talented enough to not have to work hard, and that’s what grit allows you to do.”
“Understanding derives from activity.”

The Fightin' Analyst Book Rating:

out of five stars