Follow the Author
The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas Hardcover – Oct. 7 2013
Enhance your purchase
We tend to think of creativity in terms reminiscent of the ancient muses: divinely-inspired, unpredictable, and bestowed upon a lucky few. But when our jobs challenge us to be creative on demand, we must develop novel, useful ideas that will keep our organizations competitive. The Myths of Creativity demystifies the processes that drive innovation. Based on the latest research into how creative individuals and firms succeed, David Burkus highlights the mistaken ideas that hold us back and shows us how anyone can embrace a practical approach, grounded in reality, to finding the best new ideas, projects, processes, and programs.
- Answers questions such as: What causes us to be creative in one moment and void in the next? What makes someone more or less creative than his or her peers? Where do our flashes of creative insight come from, and how can we generate more of them?
- Debunks 10 common myths, including: the Eureka Myth; the Lone Creator Myth; the Incentive Myth; and The Brainstorming Myth
- Written by David Burkus, founder of popular leadership blog LDRLB
For anyone who struggles with creativity, or who makes excuses for delaying the work of innovation, The Myths of Creativity will help you overcome your obstacles to finding new ideas.
Frequently bought together
“An engaging book that makes its case in good, clear language… [Burkus] forces us to challenge some widely held assumptions.”
—Morgen Witzel, The Financial Times
“Outlines how anyone—especially entrepreneurs—can embrace a practical approach to finding the best kind of mojo for new projects, processes and programs.”
—Entrepreneur.com (selected as a “Best Business Book to Get Cozy With This Fall”)
“We may no longer literally worship the Muses, but the myths surrounding creativity continue to delude us. In this smart and urgent book, David Burkus explodes these myths and replaces them with the scientific results of modern research on creativity and innovation.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author, To Sell is Human and Drive
“Creative potential is all too often held captive by misconceptions. Burkus tackles the myths head on and digs into the true underpinnings of creative insight. It turns out that great ideas are within your grasp as soon as you take the reins. Read this book to free yourself of the myths and assumptions that burden your true creative potential.”
—Scott Belsky, author, Making Ideas Happen and cofounder & CEO, BEHANCE
“Through rigorous research and engaging stories, Burkus debunks the myths of creativity and illuminates a creative process that makes ingenuity accessible to all. If you seek a more innovative company, The Myths of Creativity is a brilliant find.”
—Liz Wiseman, author, Multipliers, and founder, The Wiseman Group
“David Burkus is an important new voice, both as a scholar and storyteller, as well as a commentator of the emerging ‘GenEntrepreneur’ in America.”
—Peter Sims, author, Little Bets, and founder, BLK SHP
“The Myths of Creativity speaks the truth. The processes, environments, and organizational structures that foster creativity, as well as the obstacles that inhibit innovation, are laid bare. David Burkus uncovers the hidden elements which have been at the core of Continuum's innovation process, driving us to find better answers to the biggest questions.”
—Gianfranco Zaccai, president, chief design officer, and founder, Continuum
“You must embrace your creative ability in order to thrive in today's marketplace. David Burkus swiftly and effectively debunks the myths that limit your creative firepower.”
—Todd Henry, author, The Accidental Creative
From the Inside Flap
What causes us to be creative in one moment and void in the next? What makes someone more or less creative than his or her peers? Where do our flashes of creative insight come from, and how can we generate more of them?
We tend to think of creativity in terms reminiscent of the ancient muses: divinely inspired, unpredictable, and bestowed upon a lucky few. Unfortunately, mythology isn't much help when you're challenged to be creative on demand. When you are charged with developing new ideas, conventional wisdom will only hold you back. How can you ensure you get past common myths about creativity to design truly innovative strategies?
The Myths of Creativity demystifies the processes that drive innovation. Based on the latest research into how creative individuals and firms succeed, David Burkus corrects the mistaken ideas that stunt innovative thinking, such as:
- The Eureka Myth: New ideas come from hard work, not a quick spark
- The Lone Creator Myth: Creativity takes well-conceived teamwork, not a single person's genius
- The Mousetrap Myth: No innovation is brilliant enough to sell itself, and a great idea isn't the end of the process, but the beginning
By debunking theseand otherwidespread misconceptions, David Burkus shows how to embrace a real, practical approach to finding the best new ideas, projects, processes, and programs.
For anyone who struggles with creativity, or who makes excuses for delaying the work of innovation, The Myths of Creativity will help overcome the creative obstacles to finding new ideas.
For more on LDRLB, please visit www.LDRLB.org or on Twitter via @LDRLB.
- ASIN : 1118611144
- Publisher : Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (Oct. 7 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781118611142
- ISBN-13 : 978-1118611142
- Item weight : 406 g
- Dimensions : 15.49 x 2.54 x 22.61 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #128,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top review from Canada
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I share his high regard for Teresa Amabile and her breakthrough insights on the unique relationship between creativity and innovation. He agrees with her about the importance of developing domain-relevant skills (i.e. expertise), mastering creativity-relevant processes, possessing task motivation (i.e. passion) to engage, and the often-underestimated influence of the social environment within which innovation initiatives occur. Doman skills can be taught, creativity-related processes can be learned. "Both expertise and creative methodology can be taught, but their presence is irrelevant without the motivation to work...The social environment of the [given] firm is usually the hardest component to redesign; however it may also be the most important." He explains all this brilliantly while devoting a separate chapter to each of ten myths,
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Burkus’ coverage.
o Teresa Amabile's "Componential" Model of Four Influences on Innovation (Pages 6-11)
o The Ten Myths of Innovation (11-14)
o The Incubation Effect (23-24)
o Post-it Note Story (28-31)
o The Five Factor Model of Personality/"The Big Five" (38)
o W. L. Gore & Associates Story (41-45, 99-100)
o Cultural Integration of "Creatives" and "Suits" (42-52)
o Thomas Edison (106-110, 116-117)
o Lone Creator Myth and Innovation (108-124)
o Jim Koch's Story (126-129)
o Brainstorming & Design Thinking: Key Insights (130-140)
o Pixar Animation Studio (142-147)
o Use of Conflict to Enhance Innovation (14-152)
o Benefits of Constraints on Innovation (160, 164-166)
o Rejection of Great Ideas (182-192)
As I worked my way through Burkus' lively and eloquent narrative, I was also keenly interested in his discussion Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's insights relevant to incubation in Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1997): "Once the incubation stage has run its course, which could be a few days or several years, it should lead a person into the insightful stage. This is where [and when] the feeling of 'eureka' happens, where the ideas incubated have fermented into a possible solution that can be tested and implemented. Sometimes the insight can seem as though it came from nowhere; other times it still takes intense focus on the project to yield a productive insight."
With regard to collaborative innovation, another of the focal points in this book, I am also reminded of a passage in Tom Davenport’s latest book, Judgment Calls, one that he and co-author Brooke Manville offer “an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance”: [begin italics] organizational judgment [end italics]. That is, “the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader's direct control."
It is not only possible but highly desirable for members of an innovation team to reach a state of flow individually and thus help to establish the shared work to reach and then remain in a state of flow, also. That was certainly true of the Disney animators who collaborated on classics such as Snow White, Bambi, and Pinocchio as well as of those who worked together in the Lockheed "Skunk Works," were involved in the Manhattan Project, and explored breakthrough innovations at Xerox PARC. Each of the ten myths can be -- and often is -- a distraction and threat to individual and team flow.
When concluding his book with a discussion of the Mousetrap Myth, David Burkus suggests that it "is perhaps the most stifling to innovation because it doesn't concern generating ideas. Rather, it affects how ideas are implemented. It's not enough for an organization to have creative people; it has to develop a culture that doesn't reject great ideas...Leaders need to get better at counteracting their own bias and recognizing innovations sooner. We don't just need more great ideas; we need to spread the great ideas we already have." The process of doing that throughout an enterprise must therefore be at least as innovative as the process by which great ideas are produced.
Top reviews from other countries
This is the best non-fiction book I've ever read. Beautifully written with a level of detail in the research that makes each myth deconstruction completely captivating.
Firmly rooted in the real world, this book blows apart the myths and faulty data behind those pithy, condescending platitudes (often disguised as motivational quotes / infographics) people use as rationale for their unrealistic expectations of themselves and (most often) others to produce creative thinking and innovation on demand in environments and situations that stifle it instead of facilitate it.
David Burkus replaces these fairytales with the truth and provides fact-based, real-word examples of how to set up frameworks anyone can implement and use to create an environment that yields creative thought and innovation.
Contrary to what one may expect from a book that takes down these well-loved and shared tall-stories, this book left me feeling as if anything is possible for me and anybody else who has the desire and drive to create and innovate.
From now on, when I need a dose of inspiration, I'm going to turn to this book. You can keep your fantasy world.
David Burkus has written a book of that same genre. Though disguised as a book which dispels myths in business, Burkus gives real time and live examples, and wonderful stories, of what makes businesses work better. We need more books like this one. I hope you enjoy it.
Throughout each chapter representing a different myth, Burkus takes a myth, tells the origins or examples that represent the myth and then issues the history and statements on why it is truly a myth. Perhaps the most intriguing part of The Myths of Creativity is seeing all of the example of people in their different times struggle for the need for innovation, and how they found their creative breakthrough in each of their lines of work.
My biggest take away from this book is the realization of just how difficult society has made creativity to be, but how easy creativity and innovation can be and made accessible in every field of work and study. Burkus gives hope that even the most unimaginable and noncreative people have a shot at innovation in their line of work, education, and even how to solve problems in their daily lives.
Overall, The Myths of Creativity challenged and encouragement me about my personal creativity. It challenged me with the fact that I have no excuses for saying that I am not creative. Burkus explains that creativity is for all. One does not have to be in the arts to be creative. Creativity can be grasped in all areas including business. I was encouraged by the fact that creativity is cultivated in groups and rarely by oneself. Burkus shares that most of the popular creative genius we know of today actually had a group of peers helping and developing ideas alongside them. Burkus’ book was not only an enjoyable read, but it was also enlightening. The Myths of Creativity will change your perspective about creativity.