Friday, May 25, 2012

Imagine:How Creativity Works

 Do you look at the world through rose-colored glasses?
Jonah Lehrer says the color blue can help you double your creative output. Consider switching to blue glasses. I am.
 Lehrer's book 'Imagine:How Creativity Works' is full of good ideas and anecdotes to back them up.
 I was planning to do up my Paris-apartment-to-be in red Vichy checks.
 But now it will be true bleu all the way.
 I'll stepping out in bleu ballerinas too..Why not?
 Head-to-toe bleu outfits can't hurt.
Bye bye Italian verte olive.
 Is that why I love Paris pools? I get great ideas in the water. Is it the blue that inspires me?
 Paris in general is a great source of inspiration. Put one foot the door and I’m inspired. But sometimes in the creative process you hit a wall. "The question becomes, what happens if you hit the wall? Because we've all got experience with this. You're working on a creative problem, and then all of a sudden that feeling of progress disappears...
 I'd rather hit a wall in Paris.
'What you should do then — when you hit the wall -' .
 Is get away from your desk.
Step away from the office.
Take a long walk.
(Preferably during l'heure bleu..)
 'So when you hit the wall, the next best thing you can do is probably take a very long, warm shower.'
 Illustration by Soledad Bravi
Find some way to relax. Get those alpha waves. Alpha waves are a signal in the brain that's closely correlated with states of relaxation. Breakthroughs happen in the unlikeliest of places, whether it's Archimedes in the bathtub or the physicist Richard Feynman scribbling equations in a strip club, as he was known to do. It reveals the wisdom of Google putting ping-pong tables in the lobby and confirms the practical benefits of daydreaming.'
 "And what scientists have found is that when people are relaxed, they're much more likely to have those big 'Ah ha!' moments, those moments of insight where these seemingly impossible problems get solved. The answer will only arrive once you stop looking for it."
 Lehrer sadly does not mention snacking as a source of inspiration. But you do have to take a walk to get a snack even if just to fridge.
I'm crazy for the Imagine:How Creativity Works video on the Amazon site.

'It's this ability to attack problems as a beginner, to let go of all preconceptions and fear of failure, that's the key to creativity. One needs to constantly remind oneself to play with the abandon of a child.'
This quote made me buy the book (the audible version so I can paint while listening)


  1. Here in Vienna you go hang out in your favorite coffee house, before you hit the wall. Jt's as easy as that.

  2. I love this post! Blue is my favorite color, and I love to read about how creative people get the job done :)
    The illustration by Soledad Bravi is wonderful.
    Have a great weekend, Carol.

    1. Soledad Bravi is one of my favorite Fr illustrators - so witty
      You always have a good eye Nikon.

  3. Geri, NJ4:32 PM

    Somehow blue manages to be calming and energizing all at once. Love those Parisian trompe l'oeil murals ... apparently they are all over the place but I've only seen pics of them on sites devoted to the subject. Have you spotted many of them?

    1. Geri,
      I have seen another like that one near Marche St. Honore, but I wasn't aware of them as such...
      I think I have a photo but I will be on the lookout for you.

  4. Thank you for introducing me to Soledad Bravi, I LOVE the film animé! I had heard Johan Lehrer on Fresh Air. Hopefully more employers will allow people to leave their desks & wander in blue. Did he also talk about chatting with other workers, for group brainstorming? Very cool that you are planning your Paris apartment. Bon week-end!

    1. I'm only half-way into listening to his book..
      There's an interesting Youtube longer video here

  5. Yup LOVE all your BLUE posts!
    sooo French

  6. I second taking a walk to get a snack. The sky will be blue and then, if you fail to end the block, you can at least enjoy the snack!

  7. I love blue.I do.
    The book..I watched the video and it,s brilliant...
    The blue ballerinas are super cute,I love flats.
    Red checks are so cute too though

    1. Today's post was inspired by yr questions yesterday about sketching M!!

  8. Couldn't finish my post.watched a Netflix movie where Parisian pools figured a lot..
    Disappointing..but not the pools because it reminded me of your pool posts...

  9. I used to love blue in my home, but then quit decorating in blue, but since reading you I am back in love with blue again. We painted our sun room's Ceiling light blue. One way of feeling like its sunny out, when its Winter gray, with yellow walls and a blue sky feeling. Maybe that's why I get more ideas out there. :)

  10. Lucinda3:45 AM

    Loving those yummy watercolor blue swatches at the end
    I'm going for the blue this weekend.
    Here's to DOUBLE Creativity!!

  11. J.Gabin10:02 AM

    looking at the bowls in 'red Vichy' checks, I am wondering . . . does the word 'Vichy' no longer connote anything negative? when I hear it I think: fascists, collaborators, Nazis. Does the word mean something different to younger Parisians than to older ones?

    1. That's the name of the red check
      c'est comme ca..
      traditional not political
      Ppl still drink Vichy water sans plaintre
      Any relation of Jean's?

    2. J.Gabin12:03 PM

      ha! no -- although the first time I was in Paris, an optometrist would not take any money from me for fixing my eyeglasses, when he saw my name on the prescription. no, my family name was shortened from the Russian original.
      and 'Jean Gabin' was not his original name, either!

  12. Carol, you've done it again. I was feeling really blue and you've given your amazing dose of positive energy! Cheers to your wonderful creativity.

  13. Carol, I am completely inspired. Is it all that BLUE? or is it YOU???? I'm out to blue up my life! Merci mille fois!

  14. I used to paint in blue jeans , one of my husband's old blue chambray shirts,& a denim printers apron. they are somewhere in a box in rusted in oils, acrylics, & stained with dyes, inks, glue, coffee & wine! Must find similar ensemble as that was a creative period for me!

  15. The book is going into my shopping basket. I do plenty of daydreaming about vacations and I do it mainly to imagine myself being anywhere but the office which is where I spent the bulk of my time. I need more bleu!!

    You are such an inspiration Carol.

  16. I'm so enjoying your posts. Methinks blocked creativity is NOT your problem at the moment ... such a range of interesting topics and thoughts. It's also been interesting to see you explore lately some of the negative or difficult aspects of actually living in France - I guess this is the result of you seriously considering a move there? If you do make the move, it will be fascinating to see life in Paris through your lens, that's for sure. It can't be an easy decision, and though I've moved countries so many times in my life, I know it's never easy to carry out either. Though I've never yet regretted the experience!

    1. Oh I've felt blocked plenty Karen.
      Lehrer makes the point that it's almost essential though I wonder...
      I'm struggling with a long-lasting block these days that I must do something about.
      Lehrer says,"get drunk" as well as surround yrself with BLUE...
      I'm considering it..though I don't drink.
      I still have a tiny bottle of poire brandy from AirFrance...ahem

  17. I'm so awfully glad to read this review! It's my next book club selection and it will come home with me tomorrow when I visit the book store! Now I'm even more excited than before. (I'm also glad he loves blue, because so do I!)

    I come to your blog after visiting Paris last month and Peter kindly showed us part of the city. I've followed his blog for a long while and when we were talking blog, he mentioned you. I'm finally getting the opportunity to follow up on his recommendation! How glad I am that I did!

  18. I love the color blue! My room is full of blue, such a soothing color. I guess it cements the fact that I'm a creative person, Ha! Those ballet flats are so pretty! Where are they from?

  19. Lehrer separates the book into three sections: one on individual creativity, one on group creativity, and one on the features of cities and culture that encourage innovation. All of them are extremely readable and worthwhile.


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