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The Myths of Creativity: The Truth about How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas
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Book Discussions > The Myths of Creativity - David Burkus - August 2014

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Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Excited about our August book!

Register for our live call here: http://www.12booksgroup.com/myths-cre...

Look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on the book.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments What are your current feelings or impressions about creativity? How does it work and how do we foster it in our lives and organizations? Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts as we begin this read!


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Brent | 5 comments I enjoyed watching the author's introductory video. Two questions to ponder as we read:

1. What myths about creativity did we find we had before reading the book?

2. What myths did the author leave out?

Great starting points!


message 4: by Melinda (last edited Jul 31, 2014 08:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Melinda (melindamb) I'm really looking forward to this book.

I believe if you're alive, you're creative. Like there are different types of intelligence, there are different types of creativity. If people think they're not creative or only certain types of people are creative, I think the problem is that they have a really narrow definition of what creativity is.

For example, I met a woman once who worked in advertising and was waxing lyrical about how wonderful it was to be working with such creative people every day. She became annoyed because a computer programer said that he found his role as a computer programer really creative. She argued that it was not. I would argue that her definition of creativity is way too narrow.


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Brent | 5 comments Melinda, I totally agree. I do computer programming. Creativity is essential.


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David Burkus | 15 comments Melinda, I totally agree too (obviously). What's sad is that, by allowing that story to continue, the ad exec not only limits her own creative ability...but the ability of the people she manages to persuade to buy into her narrow definition.


Melinda (melindamb) Brent wrote: "Melinda, I totally agree. I do computer programming. Creativity is essential."

Absolutely.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments I have often wondered how many good ideas I have lost in moments of "incubation" because I did not write them down or record them. Smartphones have probably helped much with this problem but perhaps I should carry around some post it notes. They could double as inspiration. :)


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David Burkus | 15 comments Jacob wrote: "I have often wondered how many good ideas I have lost in moments of "incubation" because I did not write them down or record them. Smartphones have probably helped much with this problem but perhap..."

A common dilemma. If you can get write to the note taking function, a smartphone works. I find every time I try to write something down on smartphone I somehow end up checking email first. For me, moleskine works better.


Melinda (melindamb) Jacob wrote: "I have often wondered how many good ideas I have lost in moments of "incubation" because I did not write them down or record them. Smartphones have probably helped much with this problem but perhap..."

I use Evernote. It allows me to capture notes on all of my devices and syncs them together. An added bonus is on my mobile it has a speach to text function which once you get used to enunciating in a way it can understand is pretty good.


message 11: by Melinda (last edited Aug 06, 2014 04:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Melinda (melindamb) The Eureka Myth

What a great chapter.

How cruel David is to shatter the delusion so efficiently that there is no work that goes into or comes out of the Eureka moment. Work that I along with practically everyone else love to believe they can avoid by having the Eureka moment.

That we can laze around drinking Sancerre with our toes dipped into a clear, blue pool on warm summer days until our muse speaks to us. At which point the planets magically align and the work flows freely, unhindered by doubt, fear and sweat, and ready in one rush of creativity for us to bestow upon the world. Lol. What an amazing life it would be if creativity did work like that.

But as David has pointed out, Eureka moments either initiate hard work, or are the result of hard work. I can’t remember who said it, but it was something like: “You have to find the joy in doing the hard work.” Or something like that.

I think it’s true. To get a deep feeling of satisfaction, pride, joy or whatever else one gets out of great effort one must also get those feelings out of the doing of the work itself as well as the result of the work.

I think the incubation period is one of the most underrated steps in the creative process. Putting all the tools down and all the work away and forgetting about it appears to go against all common sense around creating something. But it can be the magic key.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Melinda wrote: "The Eureka Myth

What a great chapter.

How cruel David is to shatter the delusion so efficiently that there is no work that goes into or comes out of the Eureka moment. Work that I along with p..."


Very well put.


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Kara (karaayako) David, so excited that your book is the one we're reading this month!

All: David is a terrific live speaker--I host a speaker series at my company, and David did a presentation for us followed by Q&A. It was our highest rated event to date.


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David Burkus | 15 comments Melinda: Thanks so much. I think a lack of understand of incubation hinders a lot of folks. Less is more.

Kyra: That was so much fun! Thanks again for having me!


message 15: by Melinda (last edited Aug 11, 2014 11:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Melinda (melindamb) The Breed Myth

I found this chapter very interesting. It bought back a lot of memories best summarized as having hung out and experiences the arty farty life and because of fiscal necessity the more mathematical / engineering / business type life.

I found each equally creative. It's a pity they appear to be as such odds with each other because I think if they hung out together for any amount of time they would find that they complement each other beautifully.


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David Burkus | 15 comments Melinda wrote: "The Breed Myth

I found this chapter very interesting. It bought back a lot of memories best summarized as having hung out and experiences the arty farty life and because of fiscal necessity the m..."


Melinda, for a long time I worked with a nonprofit charged with encouraging creativity at the statewide level. I was shocked to find the "arty farty" folks the least inclined to join in. I agree that if we could bring everyone to the table, we'd complement each other nicely, I'm just struck by how often people don't think to come to the table.


message 17: by Melinda (last edited Aug 12, 2014 02:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Melinda (melindamb) "I was shocked to find the "arty farty" folks the least inclined to join in."

I agree. They can be extremely clicky in those environments. It's a shame.


Casey Wheeler (caseywheeler) Over half way through and it is an intersting read. I have read about many of the examples in a number of other books, but it is nice to be able to connect them all in one book. Thanks David.


Melinda (melindamb) The Originality Myth

I found this chapter reassuring. Innovation that comes from standing on the shoulders of others means that there will always be plenty of new ideas to pluck from they sky. You miss the boat on one. No problem. There are plenty more where that came from.

However there is no getting around that it's a bummer when you put your heart, soul, time and money into a project and someone else beats you to it. A good reason to stay focused and get it done.

Also found the Nike reference a bit creepy.


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David Burkus | 15 comments Casey wrote: "Over half way through and it is an intersting read. I have read about many of the examples in a number of other books, but it is nice to be able to connect them all in one book. Thanks David."

Thanks Casey. Admittedly I have to. However, as I dug down to the original sources, I found that often times the full story wasn't being told. For example, everyone talks about the Post-It note and Art Fry singing in church...few people tell the full 10 year long story. I hoped with each story to stick as closely to the original as possible.


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David Burkus | 15 comments Melinda wrote: "Also found the Nike reference a bit creepy."

Me too, Melinda. Me too.


Casey Wheeler (caseywheeler) I've posted my review on Goodreads and here is a link to the post on my blog which also populated LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Amazon.

http://caseywheeler2.wordpress.com/20...


message 23: by David (new)

David Burkus | 15 comments Casey wrote: "I've posted my review on Goodreads and here is a link to the post on my blog which also populated LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Amazon.

http://caseywheeler2.wordpress.com/20......"


Casey, thanks so much for the great review. I sincerely appreciate it.


Louis Prosperi (louprosperi) | 9 comments Hello,
I first read this book back when it was launched (I was fortunate enough to be part of the Launch Team). It's a great book, about a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

I've posted a review here on Goodreads (which is also on Amazon) here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I also created a Pinterest board about the book that includes snippets from the book, and slides for each of the myths. You can find this here:

http://www.pinterest.com/louprosperi/...


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David Burkus | 15 comments Lou wrote: "Hello,
I first read this book back when it was launched (I was fortunate enough to be part of the Launch Team)."


And you were quite an awesome Launch Team member too. Thanks so much Lou for all you do!


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Todd Greer | 2 comments Admittedly, David is a a friend and colleague of mine, but I think his work both in this text and in presentations and articles is absolutely vital to rethinking how we approach creativity in organizations.

The one area I know he wishes he covered more in the book, and I really would love to see in a future work from him, stems from the value of asking better questions to reach greater levels of innovation.


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Brent | 5 comments As I'm reading about the brain's "white matter" in "The Originality Myth", the research that creative individuals have more of it seems to support the "Breed Myth." I realize a follow-up study showed it is possible to grow white matter, doesn't the fact that some people may be born with more validate the Breed Myth?

I'd be interested in discussing this during the call later this month.


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David Burkus | 15 comments Todd wrote: "Admittedly, David is a a friend and colleague of mine, but I think his work both in this text and in presentations and articles is absolutely vital to rethinking how we approach creativity in organ..."

Thanks Todd...have you checked out Warren Berger's "A More Beautiful Question"? He does a great job on exactly that concept.


message 29: by David (new)

David Burkus | 15 comments Brent wrote: "As I'm reading about the brain's "white matter" in "The Originality Myth", the research that creative individuals have more of it seems to support the "Breed Myth." I realize a follow-up study sho..."

Brent, good point and one I worried about when writing the book. We can talk about it more on the call but the short answer is that we don't know whether or not people are born with more white matter...but we do know we that they can grow it. Therefore, the current evidence suggests it's developed...not inherited.


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Todd Greer | 2 comments David wrote: "Todd wrote: "Admittedly, David is a a friend and colleague of mine, but I think his work both in this text and in presentations and articles is absolutely vital to rethinking how we approach creati..."

Sure do! And also Marquardt's "Leading with Questions", Miller's "The Question Behind the Question", Fadem's "The Art of Asking", Stock's "Book of Questions", and Strachan's "Making Questions Work". I think this is a pretty important subject as you might guess by the reading list!


Melinda (melindamb) What a fabulous book.

I found every chapter capivating, entertaining and inspiring.

Thank you David


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Brent | 5 comments Melinda wrote: "What a fabulous book.
..."

Agreed! I've been reading at my community pool. My kids can't understand why I'm reading a "work" book for fun!


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David Burkus | 15 comments Melinda and Brent: You made my day and its only 9 AM. Thanks!


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David Burkus | 15 comments Melinda wrote: "I left a review here:

http://www.amazon.com.au/Myths-Creati..."


Thanks so much!


Melinda (melindamb) Brent wrote: "Melinda wrote: "What a fabulous book.
..."
Agreed! ... My kids can't understand why I'm reading a "work" book for fun!"


I hear you. I only read business books because of my business and I couldn't put it down.


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Randy Bennett (rxbennett) | 3 comments Maybe I read the wrong book. Or maybe I took the subtitle too seriously. Granted, it was an interesting read. Overall I was not impressed. Burkus analyzed and dismissed all of the myths of creativity he examined. OK R. Burkus, they don't work. What does? After all, creativity must come from somewhere. DO all of those cases, including the ones he tells in the book, have nothing in common? If I am a business owner or leader and want to enhance the creativity of my team I would find very little of substance in this book.


Melinda (melindamb) Interesting Randy.

What techniques are you currently using or know of to ehance the creativity of your team?


message 39: by David (new)

David Burkus | 15 comments Randy, sorry you felt that way. My attempt at the end of each chapter was to give examples from companies and people who are doing is well...who's methods are working and are in line with the science. I'm sorry you felt those methods aren't applicable to your company...but my goal was to share stories, not offer a concise, 4 box model. To be honest, if you found the success stories in the book inapplicable then even if I had constructed a prescriptive model of how to run your company, would you have found that applicable anyway? In my mind, better to present the science and the examples and allow individuals to ponder over just how the lesson applies best to them.


Susan Beamon (susanbeamon) | 18 comments I haven't finished the book yet. I'm reading it slowly so I can understand it more. If we accept the definition of creativity as the ability to take what we have learned and recombine it in a new and different form, than everybody has the ability to be creative, not just the artists, writers and musicians we are shown as we grow up.
I have been rereading the section about the age of maximum output for various categories. I have also lately read about some brain studies of people in various age groupings. The common wisdom is that as we get older, we are less flexible in our thinking and not as fast as we used to be in our conclusions. The science is finding that we are actually wading through more information, and that takes time. I used to joke at work, when the powers that be came up with a new way to do our job, I had to clean out some of the stuff I knew so I had room for the new stuff.
So far, I'm finding all the myths that are being debunked are mostly excuses for "why I'm not creative". They are things that some people use so they don't have to feel less than fantastic when they are compared with others, why they don't really have to work so hard thinking. Thinking seems to be one of those things many people would rather not do. If we can say "I'm not creative", then we don't have to work so hard.
Also, this book seems to me to feed into the "you didn't do that all by yourself" meme that was so fought against last election cycle. If we can say the myths of creativity are real, than creativity is a solo action and we can be independent and superior.


message 41: by David (new)

David Burkus | 15 comments Susan wrote: "Thinking seems to be one of those things many people would rather not do"

I totally agree. As you keep reading, we transition a bit from the excuses individuals make to the faulty beliefs about how we're suppose to creative as teams, so I look forward to your thoughts there. If it's okay with you, I'll refrain from opening a political can of worms on the "you didn't build it" thing. ; )


Louis Prosperi (louprosperi) | 9 comments Randy wrote: "Maybe I read the wrong book. Or maybe I took the subtitle too seriously. Granted, it was an interesting read. Overall I was not impressed. Burkus analyzed and dismissed all of the myths of creativi..."

Hi Randy,
I think this criticism is unfair. Nowhere in the book's title or subtitle does it suggest that the book offers specific tools or techniques for creativity in the workplace.

The book is entirely about it's title and subtitle: the "mythical" truth about creativity. The stories we tell ourselves about creativity are simply not true, and dispelling them can only help us avoid basing our business decisions on the "truth" contained in those stories.

Beyond that, the case studies in the book offer examples and models of how other companies have come up with creative solutions and products. While it doesn't come out and say "To be creative, do X, Y, and Z", the examples it offers certainly provide a place to start.

And for the record, I had some (minor) criticisms of this book and noted as much in my review:

"If I have one minor quibble about this book, it's that it doesn't contain a summary chapter, and as a result, it ends somewhat abruptly. I would have also liked to see some practical advice around how to address the predominance of these "myths". For example, a "Myths of Creativity" checklist with questions focused on how to identify practices based on each "myth" would add more value to an already great book."

I really think your comments are more about what you hoped and wanted the book to be about, more than what it is actually about. I've been guilty of this in the past myself, but it's not really fair to either the book or its author.

Thanks!

Lou Prosperi


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Great discussion taking place here. I finished the book and I can't think of any other beliefs or myths that weren't covered. I think the weakest chapter was the brainstorming myth. Thought the myth wasn't as clear since the line between what works and doesn't work was a little too thin. I need to go back and reread that chapter. Otherwise I found huge value in every page. My favorite was the section about incubation. I work in the advertising and marketing space where there is a lot of pressure to come up with creative ideas and we rarely give the process the time it deserves!


message 44: by David (new)

David Burkus | 15 comments Jacob wrote: "Great discussion taking place here. I finished the book and I can't think of any other beliefs or myths that weren't covered. I think the weakest chapter was the brainstorming myth. Thought the myt..."

Thanks Jacob...remind me to bring that up on the webinar today.


Susan Beamon (susanbeamon) | 18 comments Finally finished the book, and I have to agree with Lou Prosperi: "If I have one minor quibble about this book, it's that it doesn't contain a summary chapter, and as a result, it ends somewhat abruptly. I would have also liked to see some practical advice around how to address the predominance of these "myths". For example, a "Myths of Creativity" checklist with questions focused on how to identify practices based on each "myth" would add more value to an already great book."
I think a summary chapter would have been a nice feature. Maybe in the next edition. I'm not sure what to do with the information and the stories. Many times with business books, I try to imagine where they would fit in a business degree course. I'm not sure where to put this book, except maybe in theory of business.
I missed the webinar. I never get the time shift thing right.
I think the takeaway from the book is that creativity in business is a group thing. The most important thing is getting the mix of your group right for the type of creativity you want/need.


message 46: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken | 17 comments Susan wrote: "I think a summary chapter would have been a nice feature. Maybe in the next edition. I'm not sure what to do with the information and the stories. Many times with business books, I try to imagine where they would fit in a business degree course. I'm not sure where to put this book, except maybe in theory of business."

Susan, I agree with you and Lou on the addition of a summary chapter. In the Q&A, David Burkus explains the absence of the summary chapter as purposeful - hoping that the reader is left with a slight feeling of discomfort at the open-ended structure. It seems to have worked with us, and perhaps this feeling is similar to the "Mousetrap Myth" that we're falling into - that we tend to lean toward the practical and familiar over new ideas and formats. With that said, I admit that I definitely leaned toward the familiar, hoping for that summary of ideas at the end.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Thanks everyone for such a wonderful discussion here for August. I benefited from everyone's thoughts. If you haven't gotten the Myths of Creativity workbook from David's site I would encourage you to do so.

See everyone in the September discussion!


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