The New York Times's Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter "unpacks the myths and mysteries of the creative process" (Salon).
How does creativity work? Where does inspiration come from? What are the secrets of our most revered creators? How can we maximize our creative potential?
Creativity defines the human experience. It sparks achievement and innovation in art, science, technology, business, sports, and virtually every activity. It has fueled human progress on a global level, but it equally is the source of profound personal satisfaction for individual creators. And yet the origins of creative inspiration and the methods by which great creators tap into it have long been a source of mystery, spoken of in esoteric terms, our rational understanding shrouded in complex jargon. Until now.
Inspired is a book about the science of creativity, distilling an explosion of exciting new research from across the world. Through narrative storytelling, Richtel marries these findings with timeless insight from some of the world’s great creators as he deconstructs the authentic nature of creativity, its biological and evolutionary origins, its deep connection to religion and spirituality, the way it bubbles in each of us, urgent and essential, waiting to be tapped.
Many of the questions Richtel addresses are practical: What are the traits of successful creators? Under which conditions does creativity thrive? How can we move past creative blocks? The ultimate message of Inspired is that creativity is more accessible than many might imagine, as necessary, beautiful, and fulfilling as any essential part of human nature.
Porchlight Business Book Award Winner (Innovation & Creativity)
Richtel (A Deadly Wandering), a science reporter for the New York Times, explores the origins and outcomes of creativity in this remarkable guide. Consulting musicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, and other creatives, Richtel argues that creativity "is as natural as reproduction itself" and looks at ways to nurture it. Speaking with a Stanford scientist studying PTSD, the author finds that creativity requires feeling safe and that even low-level anxiety can disrupt the process, though focused breathing has been shown to help. Richtel suggests that nature can be creative, too, and he compares the ingenuity involved in inventing penicillin to the craftiness that bacteria have displayed in response as they develop mutations that resist the drug. He examines the originality displayed by former U.S. chief justice John Marshall, NBA coach Steve Kerr, and even Jesus, concluding that curiosity and individuality are key components of creativity: "The secret ingredient to creativity is: you." At once conversational and intellectual, Richtel's lucid writing and intensive research showcase the many facets and manifestations of creativity. This profound and at times whimsical volume informs and inspires.