The book is least convincing when Lehrer makes sweeping claims: he fixates on Elizabethan England as an age of ‘excess genius,’ as though no artists have equaled its accomplishments since, and he relies too heavily on patents as measures of creativity. 3619). However, there is one other feature of the ‘eureka’ moment that we tend to leave out of the story, but which, for Lehrer, is key to understanding the phenomenon. Jonah lehrer's uk publisher withdraws imagine over falsified quotes. 3485). I can't say I agree with everything presented in here but I do think this book is interesting and worth reading. It is a shame that an otherwise intelligent and useful treatment should be stained by dishonesty in sourcing. Standard. Submitted by Cliff Meggison. For Lehrer, though, there is a very good reason why Silicon Valley was able to gain (and has been able to keep) its creative edge. Interestingly, amphetamines allow us to focus more intently because they activate the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is itself a chemical that leads us to focus on particular objects in the environment (loc. As Lehrer explains, “Elizabethan England… experienced an unprecedented mixing of its population. Selected Reviewed by Koni Gebistorf January 24, 2013. All at once Newton had his stroke of insight, and the world of science was never to be the same again. 283). These are neighborhoods where there is a mix of businesses and residences catering to all levels of the social and economic spectrum: “the streets [are]… filled with apartments and retail shops and restaurants, which mean[s] that different kinds of people [are] on the street for different reasons at different times of the day. Nice job! This allows one to rent a book and follow up with these summaries to recall the main points. Indeed, as Lehrer points out, London had recently experienced an enormous boom in publishing (loc. 3477). 3137). Imagine: How Creativity Works is the third non-fiction book by Jonah Lehrer, published in 2012. Ed Catmull, a leading computer scientist with Pixar puts it this way: “what’s our most important function? 2869). The second group was assigned to engage in a brainstorming session (and to be careful not to criticize each other’s ideas) (loc. EMBED. It doesn't give specifics, but Wikipedia has this: Hilarious. In each case, the radical concept was merely a new mixture of old ideas” (loc. 2928); as a result the firms themselves had to collaborate on projects in order to get them done (loc. 722). It has to do with the fact that “the biggest problems we need to solve now require the expertise of people from different backgrounds who bridge the gaps between disciplines. 2865-69) (more on this below). This has to do with the fact that while the area may well be very spread out, the culture there is still highly interactive. Those kinds of encounters, even if they are seemingly insignificant, are the ones which prompt us to think in new ways. 3112), there is real evidence to show that they cannot replace face to face interactions. explores How Creativity Works. (While typical traders generated profits on only 55 percent of their trades, those who were extremely plugged in profited on more than 70 percent of their stock trades)… By contrast, the least successful traders tended to engage in the fewest electronic chats” (loc. “Imagine: How Creativity Works” by Jonah Lehrer. For instance, Tom Allen, a professor of organization studies at MIT, undertook a study involving the interactions of the employees at a number of large corporate labs (loc. The website has been remarkably successful. 2411). He suggests that rubbing elbows with people who are different leads to creative work. 312, 321, 423), the right side of the brain is adept at making sense of the whole, and is also proficient at finding the subtle connections between distant and seemingly unrelated things (loc. The third cultural condition that Lehrer points to as an important contributor to creativity is an atmosphere that encourages risk-taking. It explores brain science, and creativity and its social aspects. For instance, Google has established a similar event that it calls CSI: Crazy Search Ideas (loc. Realize that creativity and innovation are different. Certain companies like Pixar, and even the think tank where West and Bettencourt work (the Sante Fe Institute [loc. I loved this book! It was a real pleasure reading this book. I was absolutely floored when I heard about this. Graphic Violence ; Graphic Sexual Content ; texts. Cities can’t be managed, and that’s what keeps them so vibrant. Unless we learn to share our ideas with others, we will be stuck with a world of seemingly impossible problems. Here is a promotional video from InnoCentive explaining how their operation works: InnoCentive Promotional Video, Here is InnoCentive’s channel on Youtube: InnoCentive Channel. You have almost certainly been part of a brainstorming session yourself at one time or another (if not hundreds), and will therefore know that one of the key protocols of these sessions is that you are not to criticize anyone else’s views (loc. It’s sticking with a poem until it’s perfect; refusing to quit on a math question; working until the cut of a dress is just right. Once you have the right team together, it’s important that that team practice the right approach, for not all approaches are created equal. a. (Their first flying craft was, in many respects, just a bicycle with wings. These successful artists weren’t crazy—they were just exceedingly sad” (loc. The attention to detail and focus that this process requires can be aided by certain substances and states of mind that are not always healthy (such as narcotics and depression), but it cannot be avoided; genius requires hard work. Now, while Jacobs did not have the mathematics to back up her claims, West and Bettencourt do, and they agree with her wholeheartedly (loc. Instead, it will be revealed slowly, gradually emerging after great effort” (loc. 2440). In fact, Beeman and his team were able to pinpoint the precise location from which an insight emanates down to a very small structure in the right temporal lobe called the anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG) (loc. Then stress! ― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works “The advantage of knowing where insights come from is that it can make it easier to generate insights in the first place. A mix of concrete examples and science exploration into how creativity works, this book has loads of implications for the classroom. Interesting, but I can't really do anything about how my brain works, can I? 615). John Hibbing wanders into biology, sets up a physiology lab and finds that political orientation can be partially explained by hardwired genetic predispositions. His writing mimics the subject matter he's talking about. In addition, after the sessions themselves had ended, the researchers asked each of the participants if they had had any more ideas that had been triggered since the conclusion of the sessions. Flag this item for. In addition, like amphetamines, there is evidence to believe that while depression may increase our capacity for persistence, it can also block insight (loc. The effervescent nightlife and ‘schmoozing’ of the San Jose area was first described in a profile written by Tom Wolfe in 1983 (loc. Shakespeare himself was allowed to take risks in Elizabethan England due to the fact that the theater industry was so hot that it was starving for anything new (loc. If you are creative, if you aren't creative check this book out. Blank verse was revolutionary in the theater world in that it “moved theater away from poetry… and toward narratives driven by their characters” (loc. In other words, Phoenix has eschewed urban growth in favor of sub-urban growth. However, this is not so much a condemnation of Shakespeare, but of today’s standards, for as Lehrer argues, “Shakespeare didn’t just read these texts and imitate their best parts; he made them his own, seamlessly blending them together in his plays” (loc. That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? 1025). The book was still thought-provoking, though, and perhaps Lehrer can reinvent himself as speaker on intellectual honesty to college and high school students and to outline how a well-respected, smart guy gets sucked into thinking that it's acceptable to make stuff up and pass it off as factually true in a published book. Thanks for doing! As Lehrer explains, “this meant that the industrial system of the San Jose area wasn’t organized around individual firms. Thoroughly enjoyable and insightful exploration of creativity and the conditions necessary to produce it. It’s the interaction of our employees. I can only imagine what they find to talk about” (loc. For instance, the professor of psychiatry Kay Redfield Jamison has studied the biographies of famous English writers and poets, and concluded that “famous writers were eight times as likely as people in the general population to suffer from major depressive illness” (loc. 2936). 07/30/12 -- I forgave Lehrer for basically recycling his own works. The distracting murmurs of the mind are silenced; the alpha waves disappear” (loc. The first condition is achieved by way of adequately protecting intellectual property rights, while the latter condition is achieved by way of relaxing these property rights enough to allow old ideas to be borrowed and refashioned. While informal interactions may be an important contributor to creativity and productive output, sometimes groups of people need to work together closely and collaboratively in a more formal way—on a particular project, say. Being reviewed Submitted by Cliff Meggison January 16, 2013. However, according to journalist and author Jonah Lehrer, science is beginning to understand how creativity works, and how it can be fostered, and it is this understanding that he brings to the table in his new book ‘Imagine: How Creativity Works’. His Favorite Books to Unleash Creativity: The science writer describes innovative thinking techniques in Imagine and shares his top five books to... Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms? 330), and is also very literal-minded in its thinking (loc. FASCINATING!!! 2419). Imagine: How Creativity Works [Speed Summary] Perspiration-Inspiration-Perspiration. Speaking of Jobs, Anderson claimed that “he really believed that the best meetings happened by accident, in the hallway or parking lot. The sub-title of Lehrer’s book is “How creativity works.” Creativity has always been somewhat of a mystery, something that comes down from somewhere or out of somewhere, randomly and unexpectedly. IMAGINE doesn’t offer a prescription for how we are to become more imaginative, but it does emphasize some key ingredients of a creative culture: taking education seriously, increasing possibilities for human mixing and cultivating a willingness to take risks. save hide report. Focus & Concentration (and Letting Go). I get more done having a bowl of cereal and striking up a conversation or walking to the bathroom and running into unexpected people than I do sitting at my desk” (loc. That the right side of the brain has a key role to play in insight was not necessarily a big shock to Beeman. Now, it goes without saying that you can’t just throw a group of people together and expect that they’ll work well with one another and churn out creative results. His new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, tackles a topic to which Greater Good devoted a special issue in 2009, entitled “Why Make Art? Creativity is an attribute often desired more in theory than in fact. 3109). Interestingly, though—and of particular significance for our purposes here—is that in a large percentage of the cases the challenges were solved by people whose expertise was outside of the field from which the problem came. So glad I did. Then stress! Instead, they meet over beers at the Wagon Wheel, or trade secrets at the Roundhouse” (loc. "Imagine: How Creativity Works" recalled by publisher, Good Minds Suggest—Jonah Lehrer's Favorite Books to Unleash Creativity. Like Evonne, Jonah Lehrer, despite my five stars, could have achieved even more with his wonderful “Imagine.” Unfortunately, in the middle of the first third of the book he went on a walk-about by being inconsistent with his premise and somehow unintentionally underscoring the disconnect between mind altering drugs and meaningful creativity. As Banks points out, “the ancient city over that time period was home to an astonishing number of geniuses, including Plato, Socrates, Pericles, Thucydides, Herodotus, Euripides, Sophocles, Aesychulus, Aristophanes, and Xenophon” (loc. Now, the conventional approach to evaluating potential research projects is the perfectly reasonable one of scrutinizing the research plan in terms of the viability of the project (loc. 1923). Just when the subjects had given up on any given problem, many of them would have that ‘aha’ moment, and the answer would just come to them: “‘You’ll see people bolt up in their chair and their eyes go all wide,’ says Ezra Wegbreit, a graduate student in the Beeman lab who often administers the CRA[P] test. First, when we are encouraged to criticize others’ ideas we listen more intently to, and are more engaged with them, and also strive to improve their ideas with our own: “we think about their concepts because we want to improve them; it’s the imperfection that leads us to really listen” (loc. What Jones found is that successful patents and papers are increasingly coming from group efforts, and that these groups are growing in size, “with the average team increasing by about 20 percent per decade” (loc. When it comes to creativity in individuals, we learn that imaginative epiphanies originate in the right hemisphere of the brain—whose role it is to pull together disparate and seemingly unrelated ideas. Indeed, for Lehrer, we have certainly gone too far today in protecting intellectual property rights at the expense of allowing people to borrow and recombine others’ ideas. 1295). Since then I’ve been surprised over and over again when a really good idea seems to fall from the sky or when I’m suddenly aware of an art piece that took on its own life. While the writing is fairly pedestrian, it is easy to follow. Lehrer is communicating sometimes complex information about the creative process in a simplified form that makes it reader-friendly. However, this is not what Uzzi found. 3143-47). Now, there are a number of ways to go about this; anything from sleeping (or daydreaming) on a problem (loc. By July 2012, the book had been recalled by its publisher due to factual inaccuracies. He called these puzzles Compound Remote Associate Problems, or, you guessed it, CRAP: “The joke is beginning to get old. If creativity is a light, it does not have an on/off switch. If you wish to subscribe for free to my monthly summaries, then please email me on paul_arnold@me.com 2685). Read a book, visit a museum, listen to your favorite music or engage in a lively debate with a friend. When I look at the most exciting work being done in political science today, it is the result of cross disciplinary research. Get reviews and coupons for Quicklet On Jonah Indeed, while the latter emanates from the right hemisphere, the former originates in the prefrontal cortex—the brain’s director and executive decision-maker (loc. In its growth, though, Phoenix has “trad[ed] away crowded public spaces and knowledge spillovers for single-family homes” (loc. Lehrer is a technophile, not a neurologist, who writes about the creative process as the golden ticket to "success" today, and the Disneyland tomorrow where the whole fucking world is paved and stuffed to the brim with novelty and gadgets to keep us distracted from our hollow, empty lives. “Imagine” was the defining work of Lennon’s career, as made evident by a section of New York City’s Central Park dedicated to him being inscribed with this word. He argues that “in recent years, American creativity has been undermined by an abundance of vague patents and the recurring extension of copyright claims” (loc. You probably just need to work … March 19th 2012 3414). Indeed, Lehrer points out that Auden was a dedicated user of Benzedrine, “an amphetamine that accelerated his brain” (loc. Given that this is the case, it is simply a matter of monitoring the brain as it solves these ‘insight problems’. They figure out how to dissect problems and cope with criticism” (loc. These creations are a reflection of the human imagination at work. However, the problem can also be solved through a flash of insight (loc. The artist (and former lead man of the band ‘Talking Heads’) puts it this way: “‘If you look and listen in a city, then your mind gets expanded automatically… You can say “I know that’s possible because I saw somebody else do this.” And then you take that and maybe without even knowing it you start to put it in your own music’” (loc. ‘Sometimes, they even say “Aha!” before they blurt out the answer” (loc. These institutions have adopted a learning-by-doing approach, wherein rather than sitting and listening to lectures, the students are required to design and execute their own projects, under the supervision of teacher/mentors. 2446). In the first place, when the subjects were trying to answer the puzzles by way of conscious analysis there was a rash of activity in the left hemisphere of their brains. The outsider effect has to do with the fact that creative solutions to problems are often had by people who are either very new to, or even outside of the field in which they make their discoveries. Refresh and try again. In an effort to determine just what the right mix of people for a group project consists in, Brian Uzzi (the same sociologist just mentioned above) undertook a major study of nearly every Broadway musical produced over the past 100 years (loc. That is, how tightly packed-together the inhabitants are. Every last experimenter involved in the aforementioned studies and experiments agreed that it is because sadness induces us to be more attentive, and also more persistent in our work (loc. When he's talking about science, his writing is direct, clear and succinct. Personal development books. His ending thesis, especially, recalled the harried dash for the end of an undergraduate paper: WE NEED TO FOSTER THE MAGIC OF CREATIVITY OR WE ARE DOOMED. If you are looking for a definitive treatise on the exact mechanism of creativity, with page after page of laborious references and footnotes, this is not your book. The increasing size of groups here is more than just a trend, it is an indication that only collective efforts are strong enough to produce successful patents and papers, and that the size of the networks needed to produce these successes has been growing over time. Consider Silicon Valley. They are 1) The accessibility of education; 2) A certain cosmopolitanism; 3) An atmosphere that allows for, and even encourages, risk-taking; and 4) A balance between protecting intellectual property rights, and allowing old ideas to be used for the purposes of new innovations. In light of this, Kohane concluded that “‘if you want people to work together effectively, these findings reinforce the need to create architectures and facilities that support frequent physical interactions’” (loc. We’d love your help. Some things seem like 'well duh' but they really aren't. What’s more, the same research also showed that the quality of ideas produced in brainstorming sessions is inferior to that produced by individuals working on their own. ! The way this young writer Jonah Lehrer, dealed with the subject fascinated me so much hes well documented once treating every single idea. Rather, Uzzi found that the most successful teams were the ones where a good portion of the collaborators knew one another quite well, and which collaborators were joined by a moderate amount of new and unfamiliar talent. 2865). In fact, it was for this very reason that Jacobs advocated the form of urban development that she did: mixed-use neighborhoods. 3239); and Shakespeare was an avid (if not compulsive) reader (loc. For more creativity in your city, aim for high density and mixed-use neighborhoods. For example, Google asks its teams to allocate at least 20% of their time to creative thinking or new projects. For instance, the Harvard business professor Karim Lakhani has studied the site and found that “nearly 40 percent of the difficult problems posted onInnoCentive were solved within six months. That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? In order to incorporate more diversity in our societies, Lehrer argues, it is important that we encourage more immigration (loc. Our findings show that debate and criticism do not inhibit ideas but, rather, stimulate them relative to every other condition” (loc. As Simonton says of newbies, “they’re innocent and ignorant, which makes them willing to embrace new ideas” (loc. Summary "New York Times"-bestselling author Lehrer ("How We Decide") introduces readers to musicians, graphic artists, poets , and bartenders to show how they can use science to be more imaginative and make their cities, their companies, and their culture more creative. 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