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Creativity: The Perfect Crime
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Creativity: The Perfect Crime

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In the vein of The Creative Habit and The Artist’s Way, a new manifesto on the creative process from a master of the impossible.
Since well before his epic 1974 walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Philippe Petit had become an artist who answered first and foremost to the demands of his craft—not only on the high wire, but also as a magician, street ju
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 15th 2014 by Riverhead Books
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  254 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Heidi The Reader
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
In Creativity: The Perfect Crime, Philippe invites the reader into his mind and attempts to dissect his creative process.

For this to make any sense, you have to let go of reality as you know it and step into his pipe-dream vision of the world. Sometimes I was able to do this and followed his twisting train of thought, but other times I couldn't. So, if you pick this one up, prepare yourself. It's not for everyone.

I marked a couple of his ideas that resonated with me:

"If you are an artist, you wa
Jun 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No-one. Ever. Especially not people who want to be creative.
Oh, dear. This was quite a disastrous stack of papers — I hesitate even to call it a ‘book’, because it read like it was put together from scraps of paper pulled from the drawer of a deranged, narcissistic child. Every line in this book was either a shocking display of almost inhuman arrogance on the author’s part, or a horrible cliché about ‘creativity’ which I'm certain would not be in the least bit revelatory to an infant. Don’t be fooled by the title: this is not a book about creativity. It ...more
Jun 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
This is a truly dreadful book. It has nothing to do with creativity and everything to do with the ridiculous ego of the so called author. I say so called because the writing is horrific (disjointed thoughts, unfinished sentences, rambling, infantile drawings, and most annoyingly--exclamations every third sentence!!!). He is a skilled wire walker and self promoter but there was no more thought put in to the ramblings of this book than if a self absorbed 7th grader wrote a few sentences every time ...more
Jun 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
What. The. Hell.

My mother is usually pretty kind to authors. She knows that writing is difficult, and loves reading anything and everything. When she tried to explain how terrible this book was, I didn't believe her.

Now I do. I give you, select ACTUAL quotes that somehow escaped the editor's notice:

"Be the Artist In Residence (The AIR) of the Cathedral of your Dreams"

Haha. Look. I made a pun that doesn't make sense. Just as Picasso mixed paint, so I ruthlessly mix metaphors. And then, just like
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Is Philippe Petit really a mere mortal? I wonder. After watching, Man On A Wire, last year, I became an instant fan. In, Creativity, Philippe ponders many things and gives out great advice to the reader. The greatest factor of his new book is his energy. It will infect you and you will become his partner in crime.

This is a book to savor and ponder and experiment with. It's not a how to, it's more of a what if and how about this...take on life and Philippe's experiences, which are vast and always
Chris Edie
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that seems based on a version of me, if things had gone slightly differently. One thing I've realized is that much of the mind differ between person and person. The motivations and attitudes toward life and creativity differ in each of us. "Creative, the perfect crime" certainly isn't a manifesto for all on how to cultivate their own creativity, but resonated quite strongly with me.
Even if not looking at it as a book to stir and teach you creativity this is a beautifully crafted
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: creativity

It is probably just me, but it took everything I had to force myself to keep reading this book to the end. Petit writes in his foreword to the book, "Make no mistake. I frown upon books about creativity."

Perhaps he should have listened to his instincts here. Some things just can't be written about, perhaps.

Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Audacious is the word for this book. It is such a different approach. I love the drawings he uses to illustrate his ideas. I love the way he embraces contradictions. He has such a distinctive writing style. It was a pleasure to read.
Jul 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Absolute rubbish. The author is an arrogant, name-dropping, self-infatuated, attention-seeking narcissist.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won't recommend this book.

This book is weird.

The physical book is a beautiful artifact in itself, wonderfully designed and true to its content.

The writing is weird. Three exclamation points per page! At least! And he pulled it off! (This in itself is a "coup" that couldn't be pulled off by almost anyone else - it took the man who wire walked the Twin Towers to go there and actually make it work.)

The book is beautiful. The book, its writing, its subject matter, have been turned into a masterfu
Sarah Chew
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a book!

The first thing you must understand before you read this book is that this is not a self help book. It will not help you to be a creative person.

It is from a creative and dedicated man, explaining HIS creative process and what has influenced him. You may however be influenced creatively in the process.

Now I have read this book, I am ready to go back and understand it, and soak in what is being said. This is a book that you will come back to again and again. Read it. Highlight it. Pra
Too terrible to keep going.
Autumn Christian
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Did not finish, shelving this one. To be fair to Philippe Petit, he does say in the beginning of the book that this is not a creativity guide. However I feel like it's the worst of all precious creator cliches rolled into a ball, and I had to put the book about 3/4s of the way through, away after it talked about the power of magical objects several times. While Philippe Petit has done some amazing work, the book is just far too precious and insulating.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
The few nuggets of wisdom in this book is hardly worth the price of sorting through the author's self-obsessed rambling.
May 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is so abstract I literally can't follow what he's saying half the time...
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an incredible look into Petit's mind - how he creates, some of his habits to do so, and how he protects his creating process. There were great points and thoughts in every chapter. I found myself taking notes! This man is truly one of a kind. :)
Mary Williams
I'm embarrassed to confess that I chose this book based on the title, thinking I had selected a mystery!! I knew almost nothing about Petit. Although I had come across references to the film documentary Man on Wire, I did not associate them with this man or this author.

Petit's writing style is...different. It is tight yet airy and flowing. He reveals his personal take on nurturing the creative process as he shares illustrative anecdotes from his own practice (multiple practices as it turns out,
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: gone, art, creativity
"Make no mistake. I frown upon books about creativity."

This is how Philippe Petit opens *Creativity: The Perfect Crime.* And this is definitely not your typical book on creativity. In it, Petit explores his own creative process, but rarely gives concrete advice (though there is plenty of abstract advice). But anyone who reads the opening paragraph, and then expects a typical book about creativity, has missed the author's point entirely.

This book is more an exploration of one person's creative p
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book as part of a Goodreads First Readers giveaway. This is highly unusual memoir-cum-instruction manual written by a professional high-wire walker, juggler, magician, author, and all around Renaissance man.

With great humor and, yes, creativity, Petit shares his views on how a creative person can optimize their gift. Self taught in the various disciplines he practices, Petit is a renegade who disregards authority when it stands in the way of his creativity. He creates his own inn
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads contest.

Some readers would find Petit "narcissistic" or full of himself. He isn't. He is explaining, in detail, his creative process in this book. And when I say "extreme detail"...I mean just that. He goes step by step through every part of his creative process in hopes other creative people may be inspired and maybe take some of the process as their own. He isn't forcing it on the reader or saying it is his way or no way. He is just telling the reader
I have been reading this book slowly for the past 150 days, according to the Goodreads counter. I have really enjoyed it. I am so inspired by Petit's walk between the World Trade Center towers (if you haven't seen the movie The Walk start there and then read this book).
This is the kind of book where if you read it quickly and mindlessly I believe you won't get much from. It is the kind of book that you need to bring your whole self to and meet openly (or in secret), and it will give you more tha
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
It could be that I misunderstood what I should get out of this book. The author, Philippe Petit is the man who walked on a tight rope across the two towers in New York years ago as well as many other feats of daring. He is a man of many talents - not all legal ones - hence the title. The author writes about his methods to keep the creative juices flowing in his life. My problem with the book is I don't think this is a one size fits all topic. Many of his suggestions have much merit to someone s ...more
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
[After half completion]
Reading this book is like going into a thrilling water ride in complete darkness. There is an mixed sensory feel to it, at least for me i.e.
I understand why people think it is self propaganda or rambling egoism. I disagree, there are some seriously deep insights if you look beyond the sentence structure or grammar or any other technicalities, and focus on understanding what is being said.

[After Completion]- The second half of the novel does feel like listening to a egocent
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I won this book as a good reads first read. Books about creativity appeal to me, but this book was very different from anything I have read before. Philippe's voice and personality are apparent throughout the book, and I feel that his success as a high wire artist are attributable to that confidence, strength, focus of purpose and determination. There wasn't a lot of flow throughout the book, so as a result I found myself picking it up and putting it down a number of times. After completing the ...more
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wavering between three & four stars.

Petit is ... annoying. But also brilliant, as anybody who watched the film Man on Wire about his audacious high wire walk between the WTC towers. This is a handbook for jackass art -- dangerous, radical, passionate, uh, kinda stupid. Art as Jackass, the television show, that is. Nevertheless, Petit's personal blend of discipline & chaos is a nice insight into the creative mind AND some of the ideas in the book will probably even translate into somethin
Mar 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Although loosely structured around the creation of a Petit work of art from start to finish, the book struck me as more of a vignette-filled autobiography. It has lots of ideas and suggestions and encouragement about creativity, but mostly it is Petit exclaiming (and there are SO many exclamation points) "Look! I am an artist! This is how I ART!"

You get a fascinating peek at how Petit's mind works -- or how he wants you to think it works; the man is a performer through and through. He is Confide
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: advance-copies
This was a great book, however it was not the book for me. I passed it on to someone who deserved it and loves it and is much more the reckless jump-off-a-building-to-figure-out-how-to-land person who needs to read this book.

It is not "How to grow your creativity" but how to channel it and encourage it and keep track of all your nutcase ideas. Also, figure out how to make your own tools. And also, recruit people you trust to help with your hijinks and shenanigans. Also, parkour and tightrope wal
Mars Dorian
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it
More like the unofficial and messy biography of the world-famous wire-walker who balanced on the tight rope between the World Trade Center than an instruction on creativity.

First of all--I love Philippe Petit. I've watched his award-winning documentary and the Hollywood adaptation of his life which I enjoyed immensely. But this book is a bit of a mess--Petit writes in a stream-of-consciousness way which is hard to read. If anything, this book allows you to dive into the creatively chaotic mind
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in the Goodreads giveaways and finally got a round to reading it. It took me a little bit to get into it, but if you just take it as it comes, the book is quite enjoyable. Like the author says, it's not really about the creative process; it's about his creative process. This is not a formula book for creativity. It is more a look into the way in which Petit's mind works. The art added to the experience.
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
As much as I loved To Reach the Clouds (and I did love - still do), I disliked this one. I understand what Petit is trying to communicate, but honestly it felt like the whole book was one big "HEY LOOK AT ME! LOOK HOW CLEVER AND CREATIVE I AM! I THINK DIFFERENT - OOO, ISN'T THAT NEAT?" I'm sure that's not how he meant it to come across, but it did. Sigh. I wish I would have just read To Reach the Clouds again, instead.
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Philippe Petit became famous in August 1974 for his high-wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. His walk is known as the "artistic crime of the century". Petit has performed high-wire walks around the world, and a 2008 documentary based on his adventure, Man on Wire, won numerous awards and critical praise.
“There is no such thing as motivation in my world. I am not motivated to do what I do. As an artist, I am driven, I am compelled, I am thrust forward by a force so rooted inside me, so convincing, that it seems futile to try to explain it. Although it has a name: passion.” 3 likes
“If it’s a problem of fire, fire might very well be the answer.” 2 likes
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