Lehrer, J (2012) Imagine (how creativity works)

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Lehrer, J (2012) Imagine (how creativity works)

Postby Teiana on Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:37 pm

Finally got around to writing up my thoughts about this book. Having been a big fan of previous books this was eagerly awaited.
It's physically beautiful - white and papery, nice artwork on the front, if you slip it out of its cover it feels like a white bible...

ah, i could never be satisfied with a kindle!

Jonah Lehrer has broken his thoughts into two sections called 'alone' and 'together'. I should say at this point that the tagline 'how creativity works' is a big draw for me because this is a major area of personal interest. I really wanted to find the explanation within the book. He begins the first section with the quote 'Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing' (ts eliot in the intro to dante's inferno) which made me smile - as wearing my 'systems thinker hat' that does sound entirely true.
The introduction begins with a 'corporate story' - as it goes i like those, they make good reading. Though sometimes when they are used to illustrate a point, the point doesn't always seem as interesting as the story. They give books a 'factual' feel ; 'this happened then'. From the story as example, Lehrer says 'it is a tale of creativity - [...] thinking differently about something we all do every day'. He says this book is about how such moments happen, and that 'our most important mental talent' is 'the ability to imagine what has never existed'. He says there is 'something profoundly mysterious about the creative process' and that 'the birth of creativity arrives {...} out of nowhere': he asks 'how does one measure the imagination?'.
H.R.H. 8-)
Teiana
 
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Re: Lehrer, J (2012) Imagine (how creativity works)

Postby Teiana on Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:04 pm

(sorry i got intimidated by the typing-input-box looking over-full so decided to break up the posting)

The first bit - alone - talks about individuals like yoyo ma and bob dylan.. using them as examples to talk about things. Such as the process of losing yourself in the moment when performing. There's some 'technical stuff' mixed in this section like mentions of dopamine neurons but it's mostly anecdotes and 'waffly analysis'. It's pleasant enough to read but i think if he's answered the question at all, it's a bit lost in the storytelling. It could be that i just have to read it a couple more times, but the initial sense after one read is that i can't fathom what it was telling me. Like coming out of a lecture where you've spent the whole time staring at the lecturer but somehow managed to come out without making any notes at all, and wanting to go back for them.

The second section - together - talks about how creativity is increased by people interacting. It uses the 'corporate story' (type, not the same one as earlier) as example, and also talks about how people living in towns interact more and the effect of that. Actually fascinating stuff, i enjoyed the second half of the book a lot, but somehow again the storytelling was 'winning' over the 'point being made'..
There's also a very interesting point about dissent being useful in the creative process. This struck me immediately because of the T214 forum debates back T214's first year..we knew we were stronger (not weaker) as a result of not just being sycophants and actually being made to argue the point we wanted to make, to back up ideas, and delve that bit deeper. When studying T306 there was a culture of 'don't say anything that could possibly upset anyone since it 'stifles creativity'. Lehrer argues that it is necessary for creativity - not that we should pick on people but that we should be critical, of our own ideas and others... that some traditional 'brainstorming' type situations break down because there is a mood of 'every idea is valuable we must write them all down and treasure them' and that this doesn't really get us to the 'best' ideas... (my words there, not his).
Anyway, i'm a dissenter, i break things, and that which remains is good, because it did not break. It's nice to have someone write it down that i'm right in thinking it works. Well that was my words too obviously, Lehrer didn't put 'Teiana was right'.
Anyway Lehrers concluding point seems to be that 'our creative problems keep on getting more difficult' and that 'it's time to create the kind of culture that won't hold us back'.
I liked the book and i'd recommend it but - i still don't have an answer to 'how creativity works'! I felt a bit let down by finishing the book and not feeling that the question had been neatly answered. Perhaps what was missing was more pictures/diagrams.. there are a lot of ideas in the book but without making notes on the way through - well i think i might have to go back and do that - you could get to the end and feel as i did: that you'd read a lot of interesting stories but the answer to the question was still elusive. It's more lots of interesting things to eat rather than a set menu.

nice book - might have to read it again to see what i missed - still think he maybe could have waffled a bit less and done more 'explaining' and more pictures..
H.R.H. 8-)
Teiana
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:46 pm
Location: planet earth

Re: Lehrer, J (2012) Imagine (how creativity works)

Postby Teiana on Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:55 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19056671 !!

A staff writer for the New Yorker has resigned after he admitted inventing quotes by Bob Dylan in a recent book.

Jonah Lehrer, 31, acknowledged in a statement from his book publisher that some quotes he used did "not exist", and others were misquoted.

The resignation came after the online magazine Tablet wrote an in-depth piece on the quotations used in Imagine: How Creativity Works.


I am wearing my alarmed face!
H.R.H. 8-)
Teiana
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:46 pm
Location: planet earth


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