Book: Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

I think I underlined the whole book, Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. It challenged my outlook on a subject I thought I knew all about.

Carrying this book around, I had lots of people asked me what I was reading.  The woman on the plane, one of my best friends while on holiday, on a coffee date, it seemed as though this book was sparking lots of great conversations. Its full of great insight and stories of other creatives like Bob Dylan or the team at Pixar. It was causing me to pay more attention to my daydreams and thoughts. It taught me the value of my ideas.

Before reading this book I thought I understood creativity, I assumed my best ideas came from somewhere else. The imagination was somehow outsourced. I’ve recognized it is God that designed the brain and now its up to me to learn how to use it.

Some quotes:

“The concept is only the start of the process. The hardest work always comes after, when you’re trying to make the idea real.” – Harry West, Inventor

“Once we know how creativity works, we can make it work for us.”

“There’s no such thing as a creative type. As if creative people can just show up and make stuff up. As if it were that easy. I think people need to be reminded that creativity is a verb, a very time-consuming verb. It’s about taking an idea in your head, and transforming that idea into something real. And that’s always going to be a long and difficult process. If you’re doing it right, it’s going to feel like work.” – Milton Glaser, graphic designer, creator of “I (heart) NY”

“The lesson of letting go is that we constrain our own creativity. We are so worried about playing the wrong note or saying the wrong thing that we end up with nothing at all, the silence of the scared imagination.”

“The young know less, which is why they often invent more.”

“If you can keep finding new challenges, then you can think like a young person even when you’re old and gray, that idea gives us hope.” Dean Simonton, psychologist studying the Quetelet’s approach

“You must constantly try to forget what you already know.”

“Unless we learn to share our ideas with others, we will be stuck with a world of seemingly impossible problems. We can either all work together or fail alone.”

“Technology inspires art, and art challenges the technology.”

“..the best meetings happen by accident.” Darla Anderson, an executive producer at Pixar

“What I’ve learned to look for is the individual voice. It might be an aesthetic, or a sentence style, or the way of holding the camera. But having that unique voice is the only thing I can’t teach…You either have something to say or you don’t.” Dan Wieden, co founder of one of the most innovative ad agencies.

“The most creative ideas, it turns out, don’t occur when we’re alone. Rather, they emerge from our social circles, from collections of acquaintances who inspire novel thoughts. Sometimes the most important people in life are the people we barely know.”

“The thing about ideas is that they naturally inspire new ones. This is why places that facilitate idea sharing tend to become more productive and innovative than those that don’t Because when ideas are shared, the possibilities do not add up. They multiply.” Paul Romer invented a new theory of economic growth.

“creativity is a key skill for the twenty-first century.”

—- And so much more great insight. Read it. 🙂

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