A couple of days back I finished reading ‘The Art of Creative Thinking’ by Rod Judkins. It’s a short and crisp book. The book does not have a table of contents and the chapters are not grouped together by broad topics either. In fact at the end of each chapter the authors suggest two chapters from the book for further reading, one about a related idea discussed in the chapter and another about a slightly contrarian idea.
The book is light on exercises on how to increase our creativity. What caught my attention were the inspiring stories and whole lot of powerful one liners. I liked the story about Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist Subramanyan Chandrasekhar and his two Nobel Prize winning students (the only two students to sign up for one of his classes!). The other inspiring story was about Craig Good, who joined Pixar as a janitor but through his efforts and training from the company became a camera artist for such successful films like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.
The book is filled with a lot of good one liners. A few of them:
- The most common decision at a meeting is to have another meeting.
- It is more important to be the best version of yourself than a bad copy of someone else
- Put your personality before practicality and your individuality into everything
- Doubt is the key to unlocking new ideas
- Think of nature not as a source of materials to use but as a library of ideas
- Most are born geniuses and are de-geniused by education and convention
- Your present circumstances don’t determine your destination, they only determine your departure point
- The real currency of our time is not money; it’s attention
- Hierarchies maintain the quo after it’s lost its status
- Work is a dangerous form of procrastination
- The history of art is inseparable from the history of money
- The first spark of inspiration always needs reworking and revision
- Growth is painful and change is painful, but nothing is more painful than staying in the wrong place
Overall the book is good on the inspiration front but rather shallow on techniques to improve and nurture creativity. However a good book to read just for the countless inspiring stories that it covers.