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Imagine : how creativity works
Jonah Lehrer
Adult Nonfiction BF408 .L455 2012

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Journalist and pop-science phenom Lehrer (How We Decide) muses on the development of "our most important mental talent: the ability to imagine what has never existed." Arguing that "the standard definition of creativity is completely wrong," he reveals the ways in which innovative thinking is a profusion of processes rather than a singular element of cognition. Stories of groundbreaking artists, ideas, and inventions are interwoven with discoveries from the forefront of modern neuroscience to support the notion that moments of great insight are always preceded by long slogs of hard work. The science offers new ways to understand the various methods humans have used to prepare their minds when confronted by seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Conditions that we've long understood to enhance creativity (e.g., urban mingling, drug consumption, travel), but whose mechanisms escaped us, are explored in detail, on both the individual and group level. Other seldom-acknowledged elements come into play, too, like possessing an amateur's ignorance, letting go of the fear of failure, or the benefits of a "drowsy brain." Along the way Lehrer also debunks the myth of brainstorming, and demonstraties how companies like 3M and Pixar have become so successful. He concludes with a discussion of several "meta-idea[s]"-such as intellectual property, education, and a willingness to take risks-which Lehrer deems crucial to fostering a culture of imaginative innovation. (Mar. 19) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In his new book on creativity, Lehrer (How We Decide) presents captivating case studies of innovative minds, companies, and cities while tying in the latest in scientific research. He recounts the sometimes surprising origins of hugely successful inventions, brands, and ideas (e.g., the Swiffer mop, Barbie doll, Pixar animation) and reveals unexpected commonalities in the creative experiences (e.g., the color blue, distractedness, living abroad). The book combines individual case studies with broader psychology to provide new insights into creativity, much like Sheena Iyengar's The Art of Choosing. Many of Lehrer's insights are based on emerging scientific practices and are thus fresh and especially applicable to modern life. He emphasizes innovative companies and experimental approaches to education and includes historical factoids that reveal the backstories of everyday items. VERDICT Lehrer's findings can be used to inform the design of innovative programs or to structure a productive work environment at home or at the office. This book will appeal to educators, business administrators, and readers interested in applied psychology. [See Prepub Alert, 10/15/11.]-Ryan Nayler, Univ. of Toronto Lib., Ont. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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