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The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice
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The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  5,037 ratings  ·  281 reviews
Have better ideas, faster, without the stress and burnout.

It isn't enough to just do your job anymore. In order to thrive in today's marketplace, all of us-even the accountants-have to be ready to generate brilliant ideas on demand.

Business creativity expert Todd Henry explains how to establish effective practices that unleash your creative potential. Born out of his
...more
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published July 7th 2011 by Portfolio (first published July 1st 2011)
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André Gomes
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
Very nice book, with lots of tipos for creative workers.

Here are some points I found interesting:

Focus:
- Effective creativity needs clarity around objectives, separating the urgent from the important.
- Use technology in a way that increases your capacity to do what matters to you.
- You must get comfortable with eliminating things in your life that are getting in the way of clarity and focus.
- “No matter what you say about your priorities, where you spend money and your time will prove them out
...more
Noah
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
A few years ago I started getting asked to give talks to business & creative professionals about my Skull-A-Day project; specifically to share the things I learned about generating creative energy through daily practice. What I didn’t realize is that I had entered a world of business creativity consultation that was populated with many other folks who were all coming at the same things I had discovered, but from slightly different perspectives. Along the way I’ve encountered several folks who ha ...more
Brent
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent guide to the attitudes and techniques needed to survive and thrive in a creative career.
Aaron Goldfarb
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Anyone can improve his ability to generate good ideas consistently, if willing to be a little more purposeful in how to approach the creative process."

More and more jobs nowadays call for the use of serious brain power and creativity. Even, the seemingly non-creative fields. Yet, so few workers seem to have "time" for just sitting down and having a good think. Todd Henry, author of "The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice," thinks this needs to change.

He tells the stor
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Kris
Some reminders:

- At the start of a project, clarify OBJECTIVES and establish 4-6 concrete CHALLENGES (specific problems to solve). Relief from trying to solve too many creative problems.
- Write "THE BIG 3" creative priorities as reminders on a board or index card. What you're looking for critical insight on in order to move forward.
- CLUSTER: conceptual/creative time from concrete/task time;   meetings;   emails/calls/talks.
- PRUNE AWAY: distractions & activities that provide good results in the
...more
Laura
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read for two groups of people: Those who create (write, design, film, craft, etc.) and those who lead teams of people who do creative work. Todd Henry has synthesized the material from his highly popular podcast "The Accidental Creative" and his experience coaching organizations into a powerhouse of a book. We are all striving to produce more while wondering where the "more" is supposed to come from. This book walks you through some revolutionary practices, that if implemente ...more
Caiti S
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This ended up being a much more useful read than I was expecting. I thought it would be a more generic guide about tapping into your creative confidence ("everyone is born creative!" kind of thing). Instead, it was much more about processes and ways of organizing your time to make you more creatively productive. The tips were practical, and I will definitely keep this one on my shelf to reference in the future. Henry's tips focused on things like time management, assessing the stimuli/inspiratio ...more
Jazz
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book changed my daily life. The Accidental Creative is full of strategies to help creatives in all fields weed out distractions and fears that staunch the creative flow. Henry discusses not only strategies to cultivate the ability to be inspired at a moment's notice, he also examines what keeps creatives in a rut.

The two types of fear holding creatives back are Fear of Failure and Fear of Success. As a fledgling writer, I know both of these fears. However, it is the fear of success that way
...more
Vincent Russo
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
Book of productivity systems for individuals engaged in "creative" based jobs. I read this in the context of a scientist, but the book's advice is general enough to be applied the a wide array of job titles where creativity serves as the primary ingredient in successful output. The content reminded me heavily of David Allen's "Getting Things Done", which the author also cites and recommends periodically throughout the text.

I extracted quite a bit of value from Henry's methodology of focusing on
...more
Tyler Hurst
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've been following Todd Henry's podcast for a while, but stopped listening religiously when the tips turned into more for teams and groups than solo guys like me.

I suspected the book would be more of the same, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This is packed full of useful ideas (weekly goals, Top 3 and enough quotes to start conversations) that anyone can act upon.

The book is SO good that I reference it non-stop in the StorytellersAZ podcast I just started with a few friends.

So, in short, T
...more
Kirsten
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would never have picked up this book if it wasn’t for the author doing a guest mentor spot in my coaching group. I assumed it was aimed at those we traditionally think of as creatives instead of people who are required to problem solve regularly and creatively. I can also be a bit wary of corporate style self help books. I was delighted to discover that this book is really about developing practises and rhythms that lay a foundation to live a focused and fulfilling life, and facilitate the abi ...more
Andy
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though it was required reading for work, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were many practical tips I'll be able to implement immediately to help ward off fatigue, the feeling of never catching up and to regain the creative spark for my day-to-day efforts -- both big and small.
Aarti Nair
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Like any other non-fiction, this should not be gulped down either. I took a whole month to finish this book- carefully highlighting important notes, applying some of its techniques and sleeping on some of the ideas. This book can assist one to revive the creative person in them. It taught me how to be patient and how to respectfully lead the life of a creative individual. The author uses anecdotes, book references and case studies as proof of concept. Loved this and found two relevant books thro ...more
Gabrielle
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars but I'm rounding up because the book helped me think through stuff at the exact time (ie Feb 2017) that I needed it to.

Good points: validating stuff about how work can make creativity hard, and ideas for moderating this.

Bad points: sometimes Todd Henry is such an earnest white man. And his sample schedule, p188, is maybe the most unintentionally hilarious thing I've ever seen. Probably.
Tiffany Young
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Many people believe that you're either creative or you're not, but Todd Henry's "The Accidental Creative" will challenge those beliefs.

In this book, not only does Henry argue that one can become more creative, he also says that building more structure in one's life will bring more creativity to those who are already creative.

Those of us who are creative would rather not hear those things as we usually identify ourselves as creative, as in it's a thing you are or aren't (although we really know
...more
Amy Moritz
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
In searching for interesting things to listen to while toiling away on my bike trainer this winter, I found the podcast for The Accidental Creative. After one segment I was sold, not just on the podcast but on my need to check out the book. So I went ahead and purchased it hoping for some tips, insights, motivation and inspiration. Todd Henry's writing style is engaging and conversational which made it an easy and interesting read. He asked questions at the right times and got me to think. And t ...more
Janelle
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-reads
Quick reaction: I love this book. Probably more than is rational. It's just the right mix of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. (I say that as fair warning: if those books didn't float your boat, this may not be the book for you.) Only, it's better than both because I liked the author's voice more.

I forced myself to slow down and go through it no more than a chapter at a time to make sure I digested it properly. Nothing is new. N
...more
Eric Wallace
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I must read too many of these type of books, because even solidly-executed ones like this have little that's new to me. Nevertheless "The Accidental Creative" is still full of good advice for managing your life in a way that supports your best creative thinking.

One minor critique is that even where Todd Henry has collected good advice that's supported by studies from psychology & sociology -- stuff that I know about from all the other similar books I've read -- he rarely backs up his statements
...more
Suha
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Dessert. A self-help book that suggests some practical tools to apply in your life to boost your creativity. Easy to read and well structured. Chapters 1-5 are boring and can be easily omitted from the entire book. The rest explain the tools we need to apply in our lives which I believe, applying them all is certainly not realistic; the author suggests numerous things to do and change which in my opinion, adds loads of habits change that is not realistic/easy to do or to maintain. On the other h ...more
Patrick O'Duffy
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's 2016, and I have become a person who reads self-help business books.
I don't even know myself any more.

The Accidental Creative has a strong throughline - the argument that creativity is a skill, not a nebulous 'gift', and that you can hone that skill through deliberate reinforcement and improving you day-to-day practice. I think that's a powerful thesis, and I wish the book did more to make it concrete and immediately applicable, rather than framing everything in generalities and fairly blan
...more
Retta Ritchie
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book made me rethink what it means to be a creative. I have always lived by the idea that creatives need less structure and that ideas come from that freedom. That hasn't worked so well for me and eventually led to a lack of inspiration and feeling burnout. The structure that he lays out in the book resonates with me and I'm excited to start practicing it. Being someone that isn't a great planner, I admit I'm feeling a little overwhelmed about where to start with the process. I think the st ...more
Megan
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It was nice to see my exact thoughts about brain and creativity drain written inside this book. What was even nicer was seeing solutions to those issues also written inside the book.

The idea that structure will help you be more creative is counter-intuitive, but I'm eager to try it. His practices to help you focus, energize, and organize in order to free up your mind for thinking are simple and make sense.
Gamingtildawn
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Accidental Creative is a great resource for people no matter what profession. Too many books talk about time management. This book teaches you energy management. Includes great real life examples to help understand the concepts. The book gives you activities to do daily, monthly and quarterly. Recommend this book if you feel burned out, procrastinate from time to time, want to improve your productivity or just want to add to your tool kit.
Wm
As is usual with books like these, the diagnosis of the issues is much better/more interesting than the prescriptions. Henry keenly dissects those things that keep creatives from having the energy they need to produce creative work. That being said, some of the specific suggestions do seem pretty good -- both more doable and more sensible than what usually gets suggested.
Siobhan Burns
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
A pretty cool look at work habits, inspiration, structure, goals, and other helpful topics for those of us who need to motivate ourselves to sit down and get things done, goddammit. I'm looking forward to trying out some of his suggestions.
Alan Kercinik
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While this book's title might lead you to believe it is only for 'creatives', it is really a practical guide to getting about doing your life's work. Inspiring, insightful and invaluable. Required reading.
Faith McKay
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was really helpful. I recommend it if you're feeling burnt out and need to rework your creative system. It has great strategies for figuring out how you work best and figuring out how to sustain creative production.
Kevin Powe
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lifehacking
I am not going to shut up about this book for a long time. For creatives, an essential companion to GTD. If you love productivity porn, READ IT. It also has some great references - I now have six more books on my to-read list.
Amanda
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked some ideas in this book, but it does seem to be more aimed toward those that need to come up with new material/ideas on a day to day basis for their career. Eventually, once I start getting into a project I plan on doing, I will probably listen to this book again.
maggie
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Your vocation is your resonant frequency.
First half of the book: how you work out your creativity in the work environment. Second half: developing personal creativity and making sure life doesn't beat it out of you. A book dense with inspiration and encouragement.
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