Creativity Book Summary - Creativity Book explained in key points
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Creativity summary

The Psychology of Discovery and Invention

4.2 (173 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a thought-provoking read about the nature of creativity and how it can be cultivated. It explores the conditions that foster creativity and the mindset needed to develop an innovative and original outlook on life.

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    Creativity happens within a system, which is made up of a domain, a field and a person.

    We call the process by which a person comes up with a new or innovative idea creativity. Yet what exactly is the source of creativity?

    Some people believe that creativity springs somewhat magically from within each person, but it’s certainly more complicated than this. We derive creativity largely from our surroundings.

    Think about it. If creativity appears simply out of the blue, why exactly was the Italian city of Florence such a hotbed of creativity around 1400?

    It wasn’t just a coincidence that between 1400 and 1425, Florence was the epicenter of the Italian Renaissance. The city was flourishing financially; patrons of the arts encouraged artisans to explore and create ever greater works of art.

    Some of Western civilization’s great art works were created at this time, such as Lorenzo Ghiberti’s bronze doors of the Florence Baptistry and the massive dome of the Florence Cathedral, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.

    The Renaissance era illustrates the true nature of creativity, in that creativity essentially occurs within a system comprised of a domain, a field and a person.

    The domain is a broad category in which creativity occurs, such as in mathematics or music.

    Within the domain is the field, which includes individuals who are experts in the particular domain. These individuals serve as the domain’s gatekeepers, determining which new ideas should or should not be included in the domain.

    In the domain of visual arts, for example, the field consists of art teachers, museum curators and government-run cultural agencies.

    The individual person is the last component of the system. Thus creativity occurs when an individual uses a domain’s methods (like a mathematical formula or a minor key) to produce something new (like a new hypothesis or piece of music), and the new product is accepted by the field’s gatekeepers.

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    What is Creativity about?

    Creativity (1996) is an exploration of how creative people produce groundbreaking ideas. It unpacks the commonalities between creatives and their backgrounds, and explains exactly what it is that makes a creative person able to give birth to unique concepts.

    Creativity Review

    Creativity (1996) explores the process of creativity and how it contributes to our overall happiness and fulfillment. Here's why you should give this book a read:

    • It offers a deep understanding of the creative process and provides actionable tips to help cultivate creativity in our everyday lives.
    • Through a blend of anecdotes, research, and examples, the book reveals the conditions necessary to tap into our creative potential and find meaning in our work.
    • With its thought-provoking insights on the role of creativity in human flourishing, the book challenges conventional thinking and sparks curiosity.

    Best quote from Creativity

    Perhaps being creative is more like being involved in an automobile accident.

    —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    example alt text

    Who should read Creativity?

    • Artists, writers and scientists exploring human creativity
    • Creative types who dance to the beat of their own drum
    • Anyone looking for creative inspiration

    About the Author

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Management in Claremont, California. Author of Beyond Boredom and Anxiety, The Evolving Self and Flow, Csikszentmihalyi has also written articles for Psychology Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

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    Creativity FAQs 

    What is the main message of Creativity?

    Creativity is about finding joy and fulfillment by engaging in challenging activities that require skill and creativity.

    How long does it take to read Creativity?

    The reading time for Creativity varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Creativity a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Creativity is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in understanding the process of creativity and how it can be harnessed to enhance personal and professional fulfillment.

    Who is the author of Creativity?

    The author of Creativity is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

    What to read after Creativity?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Creativity, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Deep Creativity by Deborah Anne Quibell
    • Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    • What Makes Us Human? by Charles Pasternak
    • Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
    • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace
    • Get Better at Anything by Scott H. Young
    • You, Happier by Daniel G. Amen
    • Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
    • The Humor Habit by Paul Osincup
    • Unlocking Creativity by Michael Roberto