There’s just something about lists of “the top 10 ways to…” or “the seven easy habits for…” that seems a little bit gimmicky to me. For that reason, I had much lower expectations of this book than of the more academic creativity book I reviewed earlier this week. Boy were my expectations backwards. The other book was interesting, but I was sorely disappointed by it’s lack of useful advice. By contrast, this book was nothing but useful advice.
Actually, the book wasn’t quite all advice. The very beginning was a fun personality test, a version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Then the rest of the book is broken up into sections, one corresponding to each possible result of the test. Based on your results, one of these creative types is considered your main talent and a second is considered your auxiliary talent. Not everything the author said about my types was true of me, but a lot of it was – certainly enough that her potential creativity blocks sounds familiar and her advice for overcoming them seemed very useful.
I liked the author’s writing style a lot. She has an earnest, helpful tone and is very optimistic in her type descriptions. The negatives of each type are mostly mentioned after the description and are always paired with techniques for overcoming those downsides. She did approach the subject of creativity from a business perspective, but surprisingly I still found nearly all her advice helpful. The least useful sections for me were those on working with or directing a team, since graduate research is more of a solitary pursuit. My favorite part by far was the list of the types of questions each type might ask when approaching a problem. I think every type of creativity has something to contribute and using her questions to get a new perspective seems like it could be a great way to brainstorm.
I’m still undecided, but I’m seriously thinking of buying this one. It’s one I could see coming back to and consulting later. Personally, my biggest block to creativity lately has been fear of failure when trying new things that are outside my comfort zone – I like having all the facts! But one of the suggestions the book makes is to be more open to possibilities and to shake up your routine, which is something I’ve been trying to do with more or less enthusiasm for a while now. Hopefully I can bring that mindset to my research a little more too This review first published at Doing Dewey.