by Jonah Lehrer
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780547386072 Creativity a flash in the pan or 99-percent perspiration? A-list journalist Lehrer (How We Decide, 2009) tackles the question in broad strokes, covering topics as diverse as office layouts, urban planning, drug use, and brain chemistry. It turns out that the question isn't easy to answer, for it seems that a method used by one creative person doesn't translate for another. Lehrer describes the creative activities of such luminaries as David Byrne and the CEO of Pixar, then dissects why each approach works for that individual or group. Some examples are a bit of a stretch. The section on Shakespeare, for instance, is eye-rollingly speculative. But, just as Lehrer points out that explicit instruction is anathema to creative play and discovery, he seems to say in each section, Isn't this neat? and leave the bulk of the work to the reader's imagination. In that sense, Imagine is a great introduction for anyone curious about the nature and dynamics of creativity.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780547386072 For those acquainted with Lehrer's two previous books, Proust Was a Neuroscientist (2007) and How We Decide (CH, Aug'09, 46-6789), the format of the present volume will be quite familiar. The subject, in this case the creative process, is broken down into two subcategories--"Alone" and "Together"--each illumined by anecdote, case study, and scientific findings from the field and laboratory. In the course of looking at art, invention, and improvisation, the author has focused on creative works and products ranging from West Side Story, Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," and Shakespeare's Henry VI to the personal computer, Post-It notes, and Nike's "Just Do It" slogan. He explores the creative work of individuals--including Steve Jobs, Paul Erdos, Jack Kerouac, and Yo-Yo Ma--and innovative institutions such as 3-M, Google, Second City, Pixar, and Eli Lilly. Lehrer examines both standard approaches to the study of creativity and recent developments in psychology and neuroscience, for example, right-brain functioning, neuronal learning, recursive loops, semantic priming, conceptual blending, and informational entropy. This is a fitting companion to the author's earlier work and an informative introduction to one of the most elusive of human capacities, the creative imagination. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; graduate students; professionals; general readers. R. M. Davis emeritus, Albion College
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780547386072 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.