21+ quotes from Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Quotes from Imagine: How Creativity Works

Jonah Lehrer ·  279 pages

Rating: (25.8K votes)


“We need to be willing to risk embarrassment, ask silly questions, surround ourselves with people who don't know what we're talking about. We need to leave behind the safety of our expertise.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“And so we keep on thinking, because the next thought might be the answer.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“The only way to maximize group creativity—to make the whole more than the sum of its parts—is to encourage a candid discussion of mistakes. In part, this is because the acceptance of error reduces cost. When you believe your flaws will be quickly corrected by the group, you're less worried about perfecting your contribution, which leads to a more candid conversation. We can only get it right when we talk about what we got wrong.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“...the imagination is unleashed by constraints. You break out of the box by stepping into shackles.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“There is something scary about letting ourselves go. It means that we will screw up, that we will relinquish the possibility of perfection. It means that we will say things we didn’t mean to say and express feelings we can’t explain. It means that we will be onstage and not have complete control, that we won’t know what we’re going to play until we begin, until the bow is drawn across the strings. While this spontaneous method might be frightening, it’s also an extremely valuable source of creativity…the lesson about letting go is that we contain our own creativity. We are so worried about playing the wrong note or saying the wrong thing that we end up with nothing at all.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“It doesn't matter if people are playing jazz or writing poetry -- if they want to be successful, they need to learn how to persist and persevere, how to keep on working until the work is done. Woody Allen famously declared that "eighty percent of success is showing up." NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) teaches kids how to show up again and again.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“Every creative story is different. And every creative story is the same. There was nothing. Now there is something. It's almost like magic.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“The great ages did not perhaps produce much more talent than ours,' [T.S.] Eliot wrote. 'But less talent was wasted.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts with a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. We have worked hard, but we've hit the wall. We have no idea what to do next.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“Design is the conscious imposition of meaningful order.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“...Why are corporations so fleeting?...Instead of imitating the freewheeling city, these businesses minimize the very interactions that lead to new ideas. They erect walls and establish hierarchies. They keep people from relaxing and having insights. They stifle conversations, discourage dissent, and suffocate social networks. Rather than maximizing employee creativity they become obsessed with minor efficiencies.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“The vocational approach at NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) helps build grit in students. It teaches them how to be single-minded in pursuit of a goal, to sacrifice for the sake of a passion. The teachers demand hard work from their kids because they know, from personal experience, that creative success requires nothing less.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“Insights, after all, come from the overlap between seemingly unrelated thoughts. They emerge when concepts are transposed, when the rules of one place are shifted to a new domain.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“You might solve a problem while drunk, but you probably won´t notice the answer”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“In fact, most of us see perseverance as a distinctly uncreative approach, the sort of strategy that people with mediocre ideas are forced to rely on.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“The benefit of such horizontal interactions - people sharing knowledge across fields - is that it encourages conceptual blending, which is an extremely important part of the insight process.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“In fact, the only way to remain creative over time--to not be undone by our expertise--is to experiment with ignorance, to stare at things we don't fully understand.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“We see them most when we are o nnthe outside looking in”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights? When our minds are at ease — when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain — we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we’re trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems an-alytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights. “That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers,” Bhattacharya says. “For many people, it’s the most relaxing part of the day.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“In fact, even fleeting feelings of delight can lead to dramatic increases in creativity. After watching a short, humorous video — Beeman uses a clip of Robin Williams doing standup — subjects have significantly more epiphanies, at least when compared with those who were shown scary or boring videos. Because positive moods allow us to relax, we focus less on the troubling world and more on these remote associations. Another ideal moment for insights, according to Beeman and John Kounios, is the early morning, shortly after waking up. The drowsy brain is unwound and disorganized, open to all sorts of unconventional ideas. The right hemisphere is also unusually active.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


“The advantage of knowing where insights come from is that it can make it easier to generate insights in the first place. When we’re struggling with seemingly impossible problems, it’s important to find time to unwind, to eavesdrop on all those remote associations coming from the right hemisphere. Instead of drinking another cup of coffee, indulge in a little daydreaming. Rather than relentlessly focusing, take a warm shower, or play some Ping-Pong, or walk on the beach.”
― Jonah Lehrer, quote from Imagine: How Creativity Works


About the author

Jonah Lehrer
Born place: in Los Angeles, The United States
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