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Book Freak #6: How to Be More Creative

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Advice from books about being more creative

Book Freak is the third newsletter from Cool Tools Lab (our other two are the Cool Tools Newsletter and Recomendo). In each weekly issue, we offer three short pieces of advice from books. Here’s the advice from our fifth issue.

It’s OK to change your mind
“For many people, changing course is also a sign of weakness, tantamount to admitting that you don’t know what you are doing. This strikes me as particularly bizarre – personally, I think the person who can’t change his or her mind is dangerous. Steve Jobs was known for changing his mind instantly in the light of new facts, and I don’t know anyone who thought he was weak.”

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull

Try to be surprised by something every day
“Try to be surprised by something every day. It could be something you see, hear, or read about. Stop to look at the unusual car parked at the curb, taste the new item on the cafeteria menu, actually listen to your colleague at the office. How is this different from other similar cars, dishes or conversations? What is its essence? Don’t assume that you already know what these things are all about, or that even if you knew them, they wouldn’t matter anyway. Experience this once thing for what it is, not what you think it is. Be open to what the world is telling you. Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences – the more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be.”

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2009)

Combine things in new ways
“Connecting unexpected people, places, objects, and ideas provides a huge boost to your imagination. You can practice this skill by using provocative metaphors, interacting with those outside your normal circles, building on existing ideas, and finding inspiration in unlikely places. These approaches enhance creative thinking and are terrific tools for generating fresh ideas.”

inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, by Tina Seelig

-- MF 06/11/19