The Myths of Creativity Book Summary - The Myths of Creativity Book explained in key points
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The Myths of Creativity summary

David Burkus

The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

4.4 (95 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

The Myths of Creativity by David Burkus dispels common misconceptions on the creative process, revealing that creative ideas come from hard work rather than sudden flashes of inspiration. Burkus discusses practical methods to cultivate a successful creative mindset.

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    The Myths of Creativity
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    In order to reach our creative potential, we need to change our perception of creativity.

    We’re all familiar with how Isaac Newton discovered gravity. One day, whilst sitting under a tree, an apple fell on him, which sparked his realization of the phenomenon.

    Yet, this tale is a great example of a common myth that creativity comes from out-of-the-blue divine inspiration. Although most of us accept this myth, it’s wrong. Creativity doesn’t just fall to us from thin air.

    For example, Newton’s discovery of gravity isn’t exactly accurate. He, in fact, observed the apple fall whilst he was with someone else, which sparked a scientific discussion between them.

    Their discussion involved reviewing what they already understood in terms of the phenomenon of gravity. Therefore, rather than Newton being the sole receiver of a sudden revelation; the idea surfaced from the interaction between two intelligent minds. It was only after years of intensive research that Newton could then finally put forward his mathematical formula on gravity.

    So even though we love stories of lightning-bolt revelations, we can see that creativity often requires time and effort.

    Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi actually found that insight is only a central step out of a number of steps that successful creatives move through before their idea has come to fruition.

    Ideas can only emerge after a foundation has been prepared and left to germinate for a while.

    In order to get the best out of the process, many highly creative people such as da Vinci and Edison had a number of projects on the go simultaneously. This allowed all their ideas to have the necessary amount of time to develop whilst their creators worked on others.

    However, as we will see, creativity is not just limited to these famous ‘geniuses.’

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    What is The Myths of Creativity about?

    The Myths of Creativity debunks our common misconceptions of how creativity works. It provides practical insight and valuable advice on how to generate new ideas and let them flourish, and it gives real-world examples from history and recent well-known creatives.

    The Myths of Creativity Review

    The Myths of Creativity (2014) challenges conventional wisdom about creativity and provides valuable insights for anyone looking to enhance their creative mindset. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It debunks common myths surrounding creativity, offering a fresh perspective that inspires new ways of thinking and fosters innovation.
    • The book combines well-researched evidence, case studies, and practical advice, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the creative process.
    • By exploring the challenges and misconceptions that hinder creativity, it encourages readers to embrace creativity as a skill that can be developed and nurtured.

    Best quote from The Myths of Creativity

    ...Mind-wanderers seem to have tapped into the power of incubation.

    —David Burkus
    example alt text

    Who should read The Myths of Creativity?

    • Anyone who would like to increase his or her creativity
    • Anyone running a business or organization

    About the Author

    David Burkus is assistant professor of management at the College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He specializes in the fields of creativity and innovation as well as in entrepreneurship and organizational behavior. He has written for Fast Company and Bloomberg Businessweek and given keynotes for Microsoft and Stryker.


    © David Burkus: The Myths of Creativity copyright 2013, John Wiley & Sons Inc.  Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    The Myths of Creativity FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Myths of Creativity?

    The main message of The Myths of Creativity is that creativity is not limited to a select few, but can be nurtured and developed by anyone.

    How long does it take to read The Myths of Creativity?

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

    Is The Myths of Creativity a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Myths of Creativity is worth reading because it challenges common misconceptions about creativity and provides practical insights to foster a more creative mindset.

    Who is the author of The Myths of Creativity?

    The author of The Myths of Creativity is David Burkus.

    What to read after The Myths of Creativity?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Myths of Creativity, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace
    • The Fifth Discipline by Peter M. Senge
    • Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    • The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
    • Fusion by Denise Lee Yohn
    • The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
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    • Make Your Mark by Jocelyn K. Glei