HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah…
Loading...

Imagine: How Creativity Works (edition 2012)

by Jonah Lehrer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7003113,562 (3.69)17
Member:amilynnhoward
Title:Imagine: How Creativity Works
Authors:Jonah Lehrer
Info:
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Education, Innovation, New Economy, Design, Big Idea, Business, Creativity

Work details

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

None

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Jonah Lehrer. Imagine: How Creativity Works. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.

Book Review by Kate Robinson

As a creative writer, I am perennially fascinated by imagination and the science behind it. Jonah Lehrer, the best-selling pop-science author of How We Decide, tackled the creative process in this rambling and diverse narrative. That Lehrer dabbled in some creative maneuvers in this volume by fabricating Bob Dylan quotes made reading this volume even more enticing. It must satisfy something on the creative writing side, the side that as some writers like to say, tells lies for a living.

Despite the self-plagiarism that derailed Lehrer's career recently, his work is peppered with nuggets of valid information, if not wisdom. Readers and writers are keenly aware that the unconscious mind experiences fiction as reality, and that scenes portrayed in literature and art do not have to be real to provoke profound insights about life. The confabulated quotes cited in the flurry of articles about Lehrer’s misdeeds are insignificant taken in context to the entire scope of his work. Lehrer accomplished a good bit of legitimate research for Imagine, and he sheds light on the process of creativity in the straightforward, accessible language of “new media” journalism. We need interpreters of science like him. Sadly, there isn’t much hard science in this book, though there is certainly enough to keep a humanities major like myself busy navigating the byways of neuroscience.

Lehrer’s greatest contribution to the study of creativity is his assurance that we are all creative, and that we can all learn to harness our imaginations more efficiently. Whether we experiment with seventy versions of a musical phrase like Beethoven, or produce only a handful of plodding revisions in an academic science paper or a short story, we all share the ability to focus upon and solve creative problems. As Lehrer points out, the extremes of the creative process – the transcendent generation phase coupled with the more attentive revision stage of the creative process - are somewhat like the vacillation between mania and depression in bipolar disorder. We must learn to navigate these changes of mental and emotional direction in order to harness our creative perceptions, surrendering logic and focus to find imaginative prowess.

There are many dimensions to the creative process, and Lehrer aptly previews many different types of creative problems that benefitted from various forms of creative intervention: a jaded musician seeking a new groove (Dylan), researchers seeking new ways to mop floors (Proctor and Gamble), a surfer grooving in the pipeline (Clay Marzo), a production team making a computer animated film (Pixar), and many other situations.

In conclusion, Lehrer points out that “the creative process begins with the brain, that fleshy source of possibility . . . but the brain is only the beginning. . . There was nothing. Now there is something. It’s almost like magic.” In this respect, Lehrer’s study of creativity is somewhat short on science, but certainly long enough on inspiration to make Imagination worth reading. We need science and we need the stuff of psycho-spiritual inquiry. As far as creativity goes, perhaps pondering the process from these two diverse viewpoints may be the wisest course of all. ( )
  KateRobinson | Oct 4, 2014 |
Creativity is one the hardest subject to analyze and Jonah Lehrer did a good job of trying to make sense of where the creative ideas come from and how to foster creativity in your own thinking. That said, I don’t think I am any more creative after reading the book. May be I need to read it again. ( )
  JagRandhawa | Apr 2, 2014 |
How imagination works. Quite interesting. Refutes some things I learned in school. ( )
  DeanClark | Feb 28, 2014 |
I really enjoyed reading this book, and was so happy that it talked about the ineffective "brainstorming" nonsense. I liked hearing from artists like Yo Yo Ma and David Byrne. I was somewhat disappointed that expect for a brief jaunt into Israel, the author did not venture much into countries outside the US. I have always been interested in how children in Asian countries are taught creativity. ( )
  lisan. | Oct 4, 2013 |
So I heard the Fresh Air interview of this author. And he talked about improv, which I lurv, and so I said to myself, read this book! But the hold line was super long at the Los Angeles library, so I waited. I was like 63rd or some such. And then the call comes in and the book is mine! So I pick it up and then go get a pedicure, and start reading while there. I'm in the first chapter, the one about Bob Dylan, when I leave, and I get in the car - and now NPR is talking about the whole scandal, and how he's resigned, and the e-book is being pulled, and you can get a refund and I was like - REALLY?! I JUST GOT THIS!

But I finished reading it and it's good! Take it all with a grain of salt, but you can assume that when he interviews experts himself, he's probably telling the truth because otherwise they would have called him on misquoting them months ago. I feel like it would be really good for a small business to own and make all their employees read, because it has a lot of ways of helping people create creativity. And he's fun to read. So even with the sneaky Bob Dylan quotes, it's good. ( )
  AmberTheHuman | Aug 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
The goal of “Imagine,” according to its subtitle, is to tell us “how creativity works” — to offer a scientific, mechanistic account of a seemingly ineffable phenomenon. And what distinguishes the scientific from other modes of thinking is not its technology, level of detail or even subject matter, but its ability to discover reliable cause-and-effect relationships. The clarity of physics and chemistry is rare in social science, but this is no license for presenting interesting speculations as settled truths.

The best way to think about “Imagine” is as a collection of interesting stories and studies to ponder and research further. Use it as a source of inspiration, but make your own careful choices about whether to believe what it says about the science of creativity.
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.
—T. S. Eliot, Introduction to Dante's Inferno
Dedication
For Sarah and Rose
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 184767786X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:15 -0400)

"New York Times"-bestselling author Lehrer ("How We Decide") introduces readers to musicians, graphic artists, poets, and bartenders to show how they can use science to be more imaginative and make their cities, their companies, and their culture more creative.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
521 wanted3 pay4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.69)
0.5 1
1 3
1.5
2 9
2.5 3
3 34
3.5 6
4 57
4.5 6
5 24

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 93,388,138 books! | Top bar: Always visible