Explaining Creativity


If you are as fascinated by creativity as I am, if you think it is as important to our society and our future as I do, then you are going to like this book.

There are of course a lot of books about creativity, how to be more creative, studies of the most creative people, biographies of artists, and on and on. And there are other books, more academic and less likely to be on the front table at your local bookstore, which delve into what we know scientifically about creativity. (One of the best and most prolific authors about creativity is Robert Sternberg.) 
Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation by R. Keith Sawyer (Oxford University Press, 2006) does a masterful job of describing creativity research across a broad range of disciplines in straight-forward language, with a minimum of academic jargon. This great book describes everything from artistic and musical creativity to creativity in science and business, theories from “solo creativity” to “group creativity,” and cases from Picasso to the creation of the computer mouse. It debunks common myths about creativity. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, Sawyer gives psychology, history, and sociology their own chapters. He even discusses how creativity changes through life and tips for how to be more creative, personally or in a group setting. And throughout, he references the research that has been done, so you can follow up on it yourself.
Unlike a lot of such academically-oriented books, this one is not outrageously priced. So it’s a bargain for anyone who wants to, with one book, get their hands (and mind) around what the latest research and thinking tells us about creativity. A great introduction, but also a great gateway to further study if you are so inclined.