The series of posts below covers creativity, mainly exploring counterproductive mainstream myths about it. I used to view “creativity” as vague, but a few sources dramatically and convincingly changed my perspective.
One was a class at Columbia Business School called Systematic Creativity in Business, by Jacob Goldenberg. Creativity being systematic was designed to appear in the course name as a contradiction, but isn’t when you understand the material. His book is great and covers the material well, though the tone is academic.
The other is Creativity: Beyond the Myth of Genius, which revolutionized my views on creativity.
Mainstream ideas on creativity try to make the topic seem romantic — like that Mozart was a creative genius beyond ordinary human capability and he worked in ways beyond us. Between the two books, my concept of what we call creativity is dramatically more down to earth. De-romanticized, creativity will sell fewer magazines and movie tickets, but is more accessible.
In other words, read these books and you can be more creative more easily and have more fun doing so. People will call you genius, even though the things they call you genius for are easy and you’re just having fun. I’ve read other books on creativity and, in my opinion, they’re garbage in comparison.
A few of the topics I plan to cover, all in the Table of Contents to the left.
- Why suggesting “thinking outside the box” is counterproductive
- What makes an idea seem creative
- What helps creativity most: domain knowledge, experience, and persistence
- The myth of genius: how over-romanticizing it makes it less accessible and disempowers
- De-romanticizing the concept of genius makes it more so and empowers
- How function following form helps
- The research that led to Jacob’s and Jacob’s research:
- brief introduction
- meaningful introduction
- some history about original systematic creativity in post-WWII Soviet Union
- on that technique
- links to related resources
- A-ha moments
- Examples, such as from my consulting work with creative people
- How the genius myth is counterproductive
- What makes people see something as creative
- How to be more creative
- Productive alternatives to the genius myth
- How to get called a creative genius: when function follows form
- Initial creativity research I
- Initial creativity research II
- More history of innovative technique
- Innovative technique
- Systematic creativity resources
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