Books are my thing. I learn best when I can immerse myself in reading lots of in-depth material on a subject, i.e., not the kind of content—tips & tricks, seven amazing ways how to…, etc.— you can usually find online. Take a look at my bookshelf or my kindle, and you’ll find lots of books on the craft of writing, the psychology of work and performance, and being a better human being in general. I’m naive like that.

So it shouldn’t surprise you that a book called Creative Confidence written by Tom & David Kelley caught my eye during a recent visit to a bookstore. 

The promise of Creative Confidence is simple: most adults believe that creativity is the domain of some gifted individuals and that the rest of us should stick to what we know. This becomes especially apparent after entering the world of academia, and then the workforce. Very few employers out there see value in creativity and understand failure as the natural cost of success. So we keep our creativity bottled up, and, though we know we shouldn’t, we forget how to use it altogether.

This book promises to unlock your creative potential, which to me sounded like an empty boast, but… if authors were held accountable for what praise publishers want to stick on the cover, they’d be all sitting in jail.

For the most part, Creative Confidence explores the creativity and individuals in a business setting. It discusses the challenges of organizational culture and the difficulties of getting buy-in from stakeholders. All in all, good stuff, and a treasure trove of ideas for sparking creativity at the workplace. I wish I knew about this book while still at my corporate job. Maybe then my career would’ve taken a different turn. 

As a writer, however, I found it quite thin on ideas I could employ in my work today. Still, I enjoyed reading it, and count it as time well spent. 

So if you’re currently frustrated by the lack of creativity in your professional life, you might want to check this one out. (Link to GoodReads)

Some Points Worth Sharing

  • It’s best to fail quick, cheap, and early. That’s why experimentation is so important. Otherwise, once we invest too much time and energy into an idea, we become attached to it. It’s hard to let go of concepts when we see them as close to final, even when they’re not good concepts to begin with. 
  • Don’t be afraid to share or write down what the authors call “sacrificial concepts.” Those are the concepts and ideas that you know are bad, but since they’re already inside your head, it’s essential to get them out to unclog the drains, so to say, and make way for better concepts.
  • Creative geniuses are quite prolific when it comes to failure. They just don’t let that stop them. Pretty obvious when you know it, but well worth remembering.
  • Video games are pretty good at teaching you a skill because the reward and the challenge raise proportionately to your skills. The next goal is never completely out of reach, and it contributes to what scientists call “urgent optimism.” The belief that you have a reasonable hope of success is one of the key factors that keep people trying, and therefore learning.

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