- Paperback: 462 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st HarperPerennial Ed edition (1 Jan. 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060928204
- ISBN-13: 978-0060928209
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Creativity Paperback – 1 Jan 1996
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"Although the benefits of this study to scholars are obvious, this thought-provoking mixture of scholarly and colloquial will enlighten inquisitive general readers, too."--Library Journal (starred review)
"Accessible and enjoyable reading."--Washington Times
Although the benefits of this study to scholars are obvious, this thought-provoking mixture of scholarly and colloquial will enlighten inquisitive general readers, too. --Library Journal (starred review)"
Accessible and enjoyable reading. --Washington Times"
-Although the benefits of this study to scholars are obvious, this thought-provoking mixture of scholarly and colloquial will enlighten inquisitive general readers, too.---Library Journal (starred review)
-Accessible and enjoyable reading.---Washington Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor at Claremont Graduate University and former chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. His previous books include The Evolving Self and the national bestseller Flow.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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I was unsure as to whether to rate this book as four stars or five on the basis that, although Csikszentmihalyi has approached the matter rigourously and makes few assumptions about the nature of creativity, it would have been valuable, i think, to evaluate the experiences and lives of those who are supposedly not creative. In a similar vein the question of how intelligence should be defined is often studied and disputed, although it seems equally challenging to precisely define its opposite, whatever that is - perhaps 'stupidity'?
However, Csikszentmihalyi has published widely and thoroughly on the matter and as such I would not expect any book, brilliant as it may be, to address every aspect of such a complex notion as 'creativity', with all its far reaching implications for mankind. As such I rate this book five stars as it is a well-written and stimulating foray into this area of psychology. I would reccommend this book to people of all levels of knowledge of the field of psychology, although it is not a 'quick-flick' read by any means. I have already started reading another of his books.
We are first introduced the the creative process, through a little bit about the nature of creativity, the creativity personality, how they go about the creative act and the inevitable link in with the concept of 'flow'. Perhaps the most interesting thing in this section is the suggestion that creativity can never be solely about the creative individual. Csiksgentmihalyi tells us that we need three components: an existing domain - an area of knowledge that that the creative individual knows, the act by the individual, which often involves coming at some aspect of the domain in a novel way, and the field, which are the creative person's peers. Csiksgentmihalyi's argument is that without the field's recognition, the creativity isn't 'real'. So, for instance, he suggests that Bach's work only became creative once it was recognised as great after a couple of centuries of being dismissed.
The next part of the book takes us through the creative lives of his interviewees. I find this kind of thing somewhat tedious to read, as it doesn't really add much to the discussion. We then move on to 'domains of creativity', looking for differences and similarities between, for instance, the 'domain of the word' and 'the domain of life'. This, frankly, was also fairly hard work with little concrete scientific analysis provided.
A final section, protestingly (as Csiksgentmihalyi doesn't want this to be a self-improvement book particularly) adds ways to enhance personal creativity. Although what's here isn't bad, it tries hard to ignore most of the work that has been done on enhancing creativity, so skirts around the kind of techniques espoused by the likes of de Bono and Osborn without really acknowledging them, which is a shame and makes it relatively weak in practical terms.
The book is worth reading for the first 150 pages, which make up the section on what creativity is and how it works. These are genuinely fascinating. But the rest of the book lacks the same level of scientific focus or interesting content, so sags by comparison.
This is what makes it an intriguing read, I think. Its very breadth of scope paradoxically narrowing down what it means to be creative and how we ourselves define it through our own eyes. The differences and the similarities of creative process and the removal of stigma and mystique surrounding our various perceptions gives a fresh perspective on what is essentially a very innate force, present in all of us and only waiting to be tapped into.
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