Sunday, September 13, 2020


Creativity by John Cleese
Penguin Random House: 9/8/20
review copy; 112 pages

Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide by John Cleese is a highly recommended accessible and brief guide on developing creativity.

John Cleese shares his key ideas about creativity: that it’s a learnable, improvable skill. He makes it clear that "you can teach creativity. Or perhaps I should say, more accurately, you can teach people how to create circumstances in which they will become creative. And that’s what this little book is all about." It is a short, amusing, practical guide with encouraging advice to those who are interested in finding ways and techniques to increase their creativity. He includes some anecdotes from his own career.

The first suggestion, to allow your conscious and unconscious mind both work on the creative process. While your conscious mind can do much, your subconscious can often show you the resolution to a problem that has stymied your project. He also summarized Guy Glaxton’s Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind which suggests using quick, purposeful thinking with ruminating about a problem. The last section of the book is a collection of truisms that we may have all heard, but should be brought back to the forefront of your mind. Many of his observations may seem straightforward, his presentation and summary of the creative process makes his advice palatable and appealing.  This truly is a short and cheerful guide.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

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