Imagine

My last book of 2012 and fittingly the first book that I’ve read in 2013 is Imagine by Jonah Lehrer. This is a book that almost doesn’t exist. It had to be created before I could read it, but in this case, it also had to be found. Due to a scandal over the accuracy of some material, the book had been pulled from bookstores earlier in 2012. But not the library shelves apparently. Two copies waited for me at the local library, and it seemed an appropriate inspirational read for this time of year, if only because the author is young and ambitious enough to make me jealous.

Imagine examines how creativity works, alone and together, in the brain and across buildings. It chronicles some of my favorite stories that often appear in business textbooks on this subject – the making of 3M, the process of Pixar, the work of Shakespeare, who ironically might have pulled his material from questionable sources too.

Critics complain about the inaccuracies and the dumbed-down science, but what it lacks in accuracy it gains in accessibility. That’s important for his subject, because creativity works through the connections and the random associations that we so rarely write down. When we do, then we can debate their accuracy, which is the first step in this case. Lehrer chronicles how creativity works, and his audience determines how it survives in society.

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