Sunday, April 29, 2012

Imagine: How Creativity Works

The shivery feeling I get when I realize I am reading something truly special must qualify as a crush.  I'll open the book, read a few pages, and experience the vicarious thrill that accompanies the presence of true greatness.  All of the sudden, I'm hanging onto every word.  I laugh more, I talk about it nonstop with my friends.  The cover of the book even begins to look more attractive.  That's how I feel about Johan Lehrer's "Imagine: How Creativity Works".  It's smart, funny and playful.  It's about to become successful but doesn't really know it yet.  In short, it's everything a girl could ask for.

The book outlines different ways in which creativity can occur.  It carefully uncovers how solitude is important to creativity, and how collaboration is equally important.  There is a particularly fascinating chapter about why big cities tend to cultivate creativity.  Lehrer concludes with a clever chapter about why certain time and places (Elizabethan England, Ancient Greece) tend to produce more creative people than others.

Reading this book encouraged me to think creatively.  I read this book in tandem with a couple others.  As I turned over in my mind the premises and ideas of each of the books I had read, I came up with an idea.

I've created a website that explores the concepts of kindness, play and creativity.  I've outlined the basic concepts of it in the article on the website titled Playful Kindness: An Idea.  Already, I have received an exciting outpouring of ideas and creative plans!  I want to create a collaborative environment in which people can devise ways to make their bit of space a little bit more beautiful and then share it with the rest of us.  I want to encourage a way of thinking that notices the kindness and beauty that people bestow upon us and finds ways to encourage kindness in return.

Stop by, take a look around, and mull it over for a little bit.  Then come out and play!


Ryan said...

This happens to me about once a year with a book, though I can't honestly recall the last book that did this to me was.

I heard an interview with Jonah Lehrer a few weeks back and this book sounded really interesting. If only, if only there was a bookshop I could go to and find it.

Jonathan Wilhoit said...

Every once in a while a book will strike me like that. I get chills, the hair on the back of my neck stands up, and I slow down in my reading in an attempt to read every single word. Unlike Ryan (who's getting forgetful in his old age :P) I can remember the last work that hit me like that. It was The Moving Target by Ross MacDonald, and wouldn't you know it? I wrote a review.

Keep on keeping on, Erin. I look forward to seeing what else you've been reading.

Jonathan @ I Read a Book Once

Erin Seals said...

I love it, too, when a work of fiction impacts us in that way. Jonathan- I love Raymond Chandler, too. I felt that way with Tana French's "The Likeness". Have you read it?

Jonathan Wilhoit said...

Nope. Never heard of it until now. After doing a cursory wikipedia look-up, though, I'll be keeping an eye out for this one. It sounds fantastic.

What were your thoughts on the book?

Erin Seals said...

On "The Likeness"? I loved it. It's really smart, the characters felt vividly real, and I thought that Tana French masterfully created tension and anticipation.

Amelia Wright said...

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