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BEFORE IMPROVISING THAT NEXT MEGA GUITAR RIFF, REMEMBER TO DISABLE YOUR DLMPC.
on 3 May 2012
Since I enjoy (rather bad) keyboard improvisation and (slightly better) painting, I have an interest in anything to do with the workings of creativity, and have several books on the subject; but all are directed to particular types of creativity, and thus somewhat narrow in scope. This book examines creativity in the widest possible context, from an examination of why certain periods in certain restricted locations have produced "concentrations of genius" (ancient Greece, Silicon Vally and 16th century London, for example), to advanced scientific research into, and scrutiny of, brain activity during the actual process of creation.
Many interesting conclusions are drawn, not least that copyright and patent law are amongst the most stifling of influences upon creativity within the community; the music pirates and plagiarists in effect have their case argued for them, although I doubt this book will change anything in that respect....
It is a well written, easy and entertaining read, packed with fascinating facts and novel notions. The text is larded with pointed and often penetrating quotations from the illustrious and the less so, many worth remembering; and the comprehensive index has more names in it than other kinds of entry, from Aristotle to Mike Myers and Bob Dylan (the first chapter is entitled "Bob Dylan's brain"). Some of what it tells us about promoting our own creativity will be familiar to anyone who has already given much thought to the matter, and in a few cases is common sense - of which we do need to be reminded from time to time, or at least I do... On the other hand, I had not realised that, before starting any improvisation, I need to disable my dorsolateral medial prefrontal cortex. This may explain my failings.
In sum, a much enjoyed and illuminating read.
Three whole pages at the end are devoted to acknowledgements. Reading through these, one is led to wonder what on earth was left for the author to contribute. If you lose the dust jacket, by the way, you'll never find the book on your shelves again - unless you remember its title is printed white on a white cover...