Good Books: April 2016 Newsletter

Wired to Create

Wired to Create:
Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind
by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire
Perigee / Penguin Random House, 2015
hardcover, $26.95

“Recognizing ourselves as creators and fostering creativity in our everyday lives brings us to life and connects us to who we are.
Creativity isn’t just about innovating or making art—
it’s about living creatively.” -from Wired to Create

I had the clear feeling I would like this book as I read about the authors on the back flap of the dust jacket.

Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, is scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the measurement and development of intelligence, imagination, and creativity.”

Carolyn Gregoire is a senior writer at the Huffington Post, where she reports on psychology, mental health, and neuroscience.”

Wired to Create is a distinctively different book about creativity. Before the book was published, Gregorie wrote an article that went viral when it appeared in the Huffington Post in March 2014: “18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently.” The article, like many books on the topic, only skims the surface with the sort of things you might expect; but it got people talking.

Wired to Create, the book that followed, will get you thinking. Kaufman and Gregorie achieved a wonderful balance between scientific research and fascinating stories. They “scoured current and past scientific research over the past hundred years… and extracted common themes from within the minds and lives of eminent creators throughout the course of human history.” And they made it all very engaging and readable.

Instead of recycling the 18 things mentioned in Gregorie’s article, Wired to Create is organized around ten theme chapters: Imaginative Play, Passion, Daydreaming, Solitude, Intuition, Openness to Experience, Mindfulness, Sensitivity, Turning Adversity into Advantage, and Thinking Differently. Each chapter delves into the paradoxes at the heart of creativity. “Those murky, ambiguous places… are quite often where the creative magic happens.”

Mindfulness and daydreaming… seriousness and play… solitude and collaboration. “[These] seeming contradictions capture some of the polarities that come together in the creative person and that are reconciled through the creative process.” Wired to Create was written to help readers embrace these contradictions in order to express their deepest creativity. This is the most interesting and informative book on creativity that I’ve read.

Vital Signs
In the last issue of the newsletter I reviewed Vital Signs by Gregg Levoy. I’m mentioning the book again because it’s a great companion book to read along with Wired to Create.

Check out the Vital Signs review if you’re intrigued.



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