Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms? That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? That the color blue can help you double your creative output? From the best-selling author of How We Decide comes a sparkling and revelatory look at the new science of creativity. Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative “types,” Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. It’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively. Lehrer reveals the importance of embracing the rut, thinking like a child, daydreaming productively, and adopting an outsider’s perspective (travel helps). He unveils the optimal mix of old and new partners in any creative collaboration and explains why criticism is essential to the process. Then he zooms out to show how we can make our neighborhoods more vibrant, our companies more productive, and our schools more effective. You’ll learn about Bob Dylan’s writing habits and the drug addictions of poets. You’ll meet a Manhattan bartender who thinks like a chemist, and an autistic surfer who invented an entirely new surfing move. You’ll see why Elizabethan England experienced a creative explosion, and how Pixar’s office space is designed to spark the next big leap in animation. Collapsing the layers separating the neuron from the finished symphony, Imagine reveals the deep inventiveness of the human mind and its essential role in our increasingly complex world.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: Combining cutting-edge neurological research with the age-old mystery of how and when inspiration strikes, Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works is a fun, engaging study of creativity. Lehrer uses case studies like 3M’s and Pixar’s innovative corporate cultures and Bob Dylan’s songwriting habits to frame scientific findings about the brain and where creativity comes from. You won’t find exercises to help you think more creatively or ways to avoid creative blocks in this book. Instead, you’ll learn how and why creativity is stimulated by certain activities—like looking at the color blue, traveling, or daydreaming productively—and how these activities stimulate creativity in everyone, not just in ‘creative’ people. Lehrer’s focus is as wide and fascinating as his topic itself and there’s something to engage every reader, no matter where you rate yourself on the creativity spectrum. --Malissa Kent
Amazon Exclusive: Jad Abumrad Reviews Imagine
Jad Abumrad is host and creator of the public radio hit Radiolab, now in its seventh season and reaching over a million people monthly. Abumrad has won numerous awards, including a National Headliner Award in Radio and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Journalism Award. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of Imagine:
As a storyteller, I'm in awe of Jonah Lehrer.
It's rare that you read a book where every page has at least one "Aha!" moment, one moment per page that grabs your perspective and gives it a good shake. In other words, while reading this book, I kept experiencing the very phenomenon Jonah is investigating--the sensation of insight. That pleasant brain fever that overtakes you when you suddenly, in a flash, see the world in a new way.
This book is the single best attempt I've ever read (and I've read many) to demystify human creativity. To puncture the age-old mysteries: how do insights happen? How can I make them happen more?
The beauty here is in what Jonah chooses to notice. Bob Dylan, W.H. Auden, the inventor of the Post-It Note, an autistic surf champion . . . they all become gorgeously rendered wormholes into the inner wonders of the human mind. And because of his background in neuroscience, when Jonah does the brain, he delivers the goods.
And finally: though this isn't a self-help book (thank God for that), at the end of it, you're left with a set of ideas and practices that you can actually use.
I do believe this book will set a new standard for science journalism. I for one will be handing it out as a Christmas presents for years to come.
“Jonah Lehrer’s new book confirms what his fans have known all along – that he knows more about science than a lot of scientists and more about writing than a lot of writers.” – Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers
“Jonah Lehrer is one of the most talented explainers of science that we’ve got. What a pleasure it is to follow his investigation of creativity and its sources. Imagine is his best book yet.” —Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking With Einstein