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The Spark and the Grind: Ignite the Power of Disciplined Creativity

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  12 reviews
We've been conditioned to think about creative genius as a dichotomy: dreamers versus doers, creativity versus discipline, the spark versus the grind.

But what if we're wrong?

What if it's the spark and the grind?

We love people whose creative genius arrives in sudden sparks of inspiration. Think of Archimedes in his bathtub or Newton under his apple tree.

But we also admire
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Portfolio
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Sep 30, 2018 rated it did not like it

So, here's sort of the broad narrative arc that underlies all of this:
Guy works in industry as a person booking speakers, gets wealth. We are told frequently about his large net worth.
Guy's industry crashes in the crash, guy loses wealth.
...but apparently not THAT much because then said guy goes off on his own for (6 months? A year?) to learn painting and criticize the marketing technique of his fellow painters.
Then said guy has the SUPER CREATIVE LEAP that, "What if *I* was a speaker?"
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this is the best book I've read so far this year. Former corporate employee turned entrepreneurial speed painter Erik Wahl demonstrates how to walk the line between being a grinder (working really hard) and continually generating sparks (creative new ideas). It's a fascinating and profound examination of the importance of schedule and routine, as well as spontaneity and artistry, and the paramount importance of both. I feel like this book completely changed how I view my work and my creative end ...more
Neelam Babul
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love reading books on creativity, and this one is really good and informative, stressing that we need to experience both the spark (inspiration) and "grind" (do the work).

Erik Wahl's list of ideas presents several steps we can take to unleash the power of creativity ranging from trusting the process, attaching yourself to the work you do, keeping your day job, embracing a routine to defamiliarizing the ordinary, staying foolish, and falling in love.

Some of these tactics were new to me and oth
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for books on creativity, and this one's pretty good --telling us we both need to experience inspiration and "grind" -- the work. Wahl is right -- both are essential. And his list of ideas is a good one: trust the process, attach yourself to the work, keep your day job, embrace a routine, defamiliarize the ordinary, stay foolish, and fall in love. One or two of these will probably be new to most readers, and that's enough to make the book worth reading. But my favorite advice came fr ...more
Kellie Winegar
Apr 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a great book. He really had a lot of great ideas on how to boost your creativity or in the case of a slump, getting out of a slump. I really loved all the quotes that he had in there too.
The only problem I did have was it that the chapters felt like he was going on and on about the same thing. I realize he was trying to describe or make a point but it kind of felt monotonous at times. But overall it was a really good book.
Kevin Cullis
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the very FIRST books I'd read if you're starting a new chapter in your life. Wahl gives a great deal of information backing up the various themes of each chapter, much like I do in my writing. His thoughts are similar to mine, that there are two competing thoughts that we must hold in our heads, i.e. the two sides of the same coin, in order to keep growing: Intellect and intuition. Highly recommend this book for anyone starting their new adventure in life. ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
All you really need to read is the intro, he explains the concept of the book very well and that is enough. He then repeats himself over and over again and counts several examples just to illustrate a point, over and over and over again. It's tiresome. Although this concept is excellent and truly helpful I'm not sure why this needed to become such a big book. This could have been a great 6 min Ted Talk (but that doesn't make as much money as a book I suppose, sorry). ...more
There was a lot of references and "name dropping" in this book that sorta drove me insane. I liked what Wahl had to say about the connection between hard work and following those threads of inspiration, though. All around a good book for anyone trying to kick-start their creativity. ...more
Lindsay Hickman
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
A bit repetitive, but overall it has a few key points that are very well founded and interesting. The book was much better than I expected overall and it was really neat to read a book by a creator that words and manuscripts are not their preferred medium.
S.J. Reisner
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book for people who don't understand the creative process and need to learn the art of balancing hard work with generating ideas. Lots of illustrative stories and ideas for learning how to navigate the creative process. Nothing new for those of us who have been creatives for a long time and are motivated enough to work hard to manifest our craziest ideas. But if your ideas lack originality, or you're a dreamer and not a doer, it's worth a read. ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great primer and proof you can be a structured and programmatic thinker and still be highly creative. This book will be a top 20 for me for years to come.
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