- Hardcover: 279 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) (19 Mar. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547386079
- ISBN-13: 978-0547386072
- Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 2.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 95 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Imagine: How Creativity Works Hardcover – 19 Mar 2012
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From the Inside Flap
Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms? That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? That the color blue can help you double your creative output?
From the best-selling author of How We Decide comes a sparkling and revelatory look at the new science of creativity. Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative types, Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. Its a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.
Lehrer reveals the importance of embracing the rut, thinking like a child, daydreaming productively, and adopting an outsiders perspective (travel helps). He unveils the optimal mix of old and new partners in any creative collaboration, and explains why criticism is essential to the process. Then he zooms out to show how we can make our neighborhoods more vibrant, our companies more productive, and our schools more effective.
Youll learn about Bob Dylans writing habits and the drug addictions of poets. Youll meet a Manhattan bartender who thinks like a chemist, and an autistic surfer who invented an entirely new surfing move. Youll see why Elizabethan England experienced a creative explosion, and how Pixars office space is designed to spark the next big leap in animation.
Collapsing the layers separating the neuron from the finished symphony, Imagine reveals the deep inventiveness of the human mind, and its essential role in our increasingly complex world.
From the Back Cover
Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers
Jonah Lehrer is one of the most talented explainers of science that weve got. What a pleasure it is to follow his investigation of creativity and its sources. Imagine is his best book yet.
Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking With Einstein
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The first part of the book deals with individual creativity. The first message is that creativity comes in more than one type. There's the kind that requires relaxation and alpha waves and is stimulated by the colour blue - think of Archimedes in his bath. Then there's the more concentrated kind of intellectual refining territory where you feel you are getting closer and closer to a solution - think, apparently, WH Auden on amphetamines. Then there's opening yourself up to creativity, adopting a child's eye view or that of a foreigner (foreign travel helps). Sometimes you need to spend all your waking life on something - if you are going to a surfing champion, it seems. Sometimes, it helps to be a relative newcomer to a field - if you are going to mix great cocktails. Creativity is always about making surprising connections - sometimes deeply surprising (alpha waves), sometimes much less so (frontal brain work) and sometimes it's just about ideas generation that Lehrer is writing.
Then there's creativity in groups. A group needs to be connected to its other members, but not too closely and not too distantly - think the teams that created Broadway musicals in the 1930s or West Side Story later. Brainstorming doesn't work in groups - debate, where criticism is allowed, works better. Some productive environments, such as Pixar treated at great length anecdotally, are vigorously critical. Cities are creative places - at least David Byrne thinks so. You need to run into other people with the right, 'weak' connections to you. As to why there are particularly creative epochs, such as Elizabethan England, we don't know - but we do think Shakespeare had, unusually, 'read everything'.
So: if you'd like these insights filled out, and treated at length with anecdotes in a highly journalistic style, I'd recommend this quite strongly. It certainly made me think. On the other hand, the highly journalist style based on plenty of anecdote can get a bit wearing - and ultimately, it's the science here that's convincing and that we do with more of, not the stories.
If you find this interesting you will also be interested in the older books by Edward de Bono concerned with "Lateral Thinking".
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