Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer


Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer is an excellent examination of the creative process. I started this book with more than a little hesitancy. As a writer, I felt concerned it would negatively affect my creativity kind of like how seeing how special effects are done tends to ruin a movie for me. Instead, my creativity sparked almost every time I read it.  Imagine sparked my creativity to the point that I mentioned it in a blog post, Nudges From the Law of Attraction, while I was still reading it. Lehrer explains how creativity works by studying its effects on real creative people. While he talks about the chemical processes in the brain and the parts of the brain that are directly involved in creative endeavors, he focuses most of his attention on expressions of creativity. The book examines everything from why solitude can help or hurt creativity to why people use drugs to free their creative urges. Imagine goes into the minds of creative people like Bob Dylan and Shakespeare but also talks about building creative atmospheres such as the ones at Pixar Studios and 3M. He explains why talking to people outside our "circles" can spark our creativity while hours spent talking to those within our circles only seem to revolve around the same thoughts. Lehrer makes imagination and creativity accessible to all. Imagine is a book for anyone who is interested in the creative process or even anyone who knows someone interested in the creative process.

NOTE: Since I wrote this review, it has come to light that Jonah Lehrer fabricated the Dylan quotes and plagiarized his own work in writing this book. I am thoroughly disappointed to read this as I found the book quite interesting and now have to doubt it in its entirety. See Jonah Lehrer Resigns From The New Yorker After Making Up Dylan Quotes for His Book

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