- Gebundene Ausgabe: 304 Seiten
- Verlag: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (19. März 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 9780547386072
- ISBN-13: 978-0547386072
- ASIN: 0547386079
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,1 x 14,7 x 2,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 102.335 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Imagine: How Creativity Works (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 19. März 2012
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"Entertaining and enlightening." — New York Magazine
"Precocious and engaging . . . Lehrer is smart, and there are some fun moments in these pages." —The New York Times Book Review
"His book marks the arrival of an important new thinker . . . wise and fresh." —The Los Angeles Times
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
JONAH LEHRER is a contributing editor at Wired and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. He writes the Head Case column for the Wall Street Journal and regularly appears on WNYC’s Radiolab. His writing has also appeared in Nature, the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, and Outside. The author of two previous books, Proust Was a Neuroscientist and How We Decide, he graduated from Columbia University and attended Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.
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And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind." -- Isaiah 65:17 (NKJV)
How you will react to this book depends on what you hope to gain from it. If you have never read about creativity and applied imagination, Imagine is a fun, fast read. The book is filled with well-told anecdotes that you'll long remember.
If you want to read a review of the scientific literature of the subject, you'll be disappointed. There are references to some studies that scientists have done, but you won't be led to the heavy-duty articles.
If, instead, you want to learn how to make your own work and that of your organization more creative, you'll probably be a little puzzled by what the lessons of the anecdotes are. There's no overarching structure of conclusions that you can rely on. If you are looking for information about how to make huge breakthroughs, that subject isn't covered here.
I had a hard time know how to grade the book. From the first perspective, it's a decent 4 star book. From the second perspective, it's more like a 1 or 2 star book. From the last perspective, it's probably a 2. So I averaged that out and gave the author the benefit of the doubt and picked a 3. (He can certainly write a legible and interesting sentence.)
Just imagine how much more successful this book would be if it had more uses!
Ich fand es dennoch lesenswert, man darf eben nur nicht alles für bare Münze nehmen.
He states that he had access to Dylans Manager... which never happened.
That book will be withrawed by its publisher, because of this.
As critisim is an important tool to enhance the creative outcome, as the author says, here it comes:
Kahneman might be the much better choice. This book is a collection of mainly outdated research mixed with many, many examples.
Readers who are interested in the very fundamentals of creativity might want to start with this book.
People who expect more should have a walk at the fresh air...
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Lehrer does not cite the scientific literature well - there is no list of sources in the back and many claims have no clear references at all. He seems a little gullible (or sensational) in regard to some other studies. One showed that red backgrounds increase test-takers' accuracy and attention to detail, while blue backgrounds double their creativity. Were it so easy. And a neurologist can anticipate a puzzle solver's breakthrough 8 seconds in advance. And, he tells us that all the easy problems of the world have been solved, and that cultivation of athletes in the Unites States should be used as a model for cultivating creativity. Here's my favorite, from a footnote: "Urban areas and the human cortex rely on extremely similar structural patterns to maximize the flow of information and traffic through the system." (p183) There was no reference.
But my main criticism is that the book relies almost exclusively on anecdote. He trots out case after case of well-known successes (masking tape, Bob Dylan, 3M, Pixar, etc.), and some unknown ones (a surfer, a bartender) --always in retrospect -- and draws out what he presents as yet another insight into creativity. But many of these are contradictory. For example, does creativity come out of isolation (p 19) or from teamwork (p120); from breaking convention (p 20) or submitting to its constraints (p 23)? Does it help to be in a positive mood (p32) or a depressed one (p76) or an angry state (161) or a relaxed one (50); does caffeine and other stimulants make the epiphanies less likely (33) or more likely (57)? Should stealing others' ideas should be encouraged (247) or discouraged (244)? Does broadening one's set of skills and interests increase creativity (41) or should one concentrate on a single goal (95)? Does relaxation stimulate creativity (p 45) or does difficulty do it better (54)? Does creativity drive toward perfection (p 63) or is it a celebration of errors? (87). Does insight come in a flash (p 17) or is it revealed slowly, after great effort (56)? Must a good poem be "pulled out of us, like a splinter," (p 56) or is it best "vomited." (19)
All of these, apparently.
The book boils down in the end to four vague conclusions which he calls "meta-ideas."
1. Education is necessary
2. Human mixing stimulates creativity
3. Creativity requires willingness to take risks
4. Society must manage the rewards of innovation
For me, the best revelation is on p 159: Brainstorming sessions, in which "there are no bad ideas" do not often result in good ideas, because criticism is essential. This is the key to the growth of knowledge, good government, and much more -- and a theme that is developed thoroughly in David Deutsch's The Beginning of Infinity. That's a much more stimulating and challenging read, which explains creativity (and much else) far better than this one does.
This is not due to the book's scope. It is aimed at explaining `how creativity works'--an awesome concept to be sure--but Lehrer does not provide a central thesis to this end. He surveys a number of fascinating aspects of the creative process--insight, novelty, hard work, team work, environment, and others--but seems to shuffle through them without truly grasping their essence. As a result, the various themes feel disparate and disconnected.
One example stands out: In the first chapter, Lehrer talks about the necessary condition one must be in for insight to arise and innovation to occur--a stress-free, relaxing environment. Then, in the third chapter, he talks about how this isn't necessary and how stimulants and other drugs help to narrow focus and thus lend to productivity. Some people are creative because they treat themselves to relaxation; some are creative because they plunge themselves into a stressful, energetic environment. As such, the reader has nothing to hold onto and so does not feel any closer to understanding.
This is reconciled to some degree in the fourth chapter when Lehrer explains how natural conditions such as mania and depression (and manic depressive syndrome) contribute to an organic push/pull of creativity. While it is certainly an interesting thought, the proof isn't quite complete.
More importantly, the theme deserves a more comprehensive foundation on the science of mental processes. While Lehrer does an admirable job of explaining psychological phenomena with physiological causes, the basics are left rather untouched. We know that the right hemisphere emits alpha waves to spark insight and that amphetamines increase the amount of dopamine transferred between neurons, but we don't know what a thought is, how we learn, and what is going on in the brain when we imagine something.
As an avid reader of popular neurology, I can say that most of this is far from being understood. But, if it is not understood, it would still help to acknowledge this fact and simply formulate the theory around that contingency. As it is, Lehrer makes it seem as though this foundation is irrelevant.
It must be said that this book is valuable for simply spurring these questions. It is clear that Lehrer has access to some of the best insight in popular science today. Read this book for that insight, and then use it to come up with your own theories on the creative process.
If you want to know the details, simply google "Jonah Lehrer scandal."
So this book is interesting because it's a reflection of our society as a whole. Our desire for fast solutions, our thirst for scientific breakthroughs, our need to follow a know-it-all guru.
And Imagine delivers perfectly on this--it's all there: the science, the sound bites, the eye opening realizations. But there a catch: some of it is fake.
The other major problem is to look at creativity from the "science" angle. It can't be done (duh!)--imagine scientist explaining "love" by analyzing chemical responses . . . sounds silly, right? Same thing with creativity.
I think there are way better book on the subject: Dan PInk, Tyla Tharp, and my new favorite: You Are a Circle: A Visual Meditation for the Creative Mind
I still will keep my copy of Imagine as a reminder of what not to do.
The whole business of improv being a groupthink creativity machine is also way too general. Had Lehrer spent any time with the real masters of the art - Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams - his chapter would have looked a lot different. Individuals can be at least as creative as groups. There is no silver bullet, no yellow brick road. Lehrer has not discovered anything here.
The farther I read, the faster I read, because the content got to be repetitive and predictable - and less, shall we say - creative.
So it's not the best thing since sliced bread, but it is entertaining. There are lots of stories of artists and scientists. And it is fast paced.
A mixed bag is the best I can say.