Book about human creativity.

Creativity is ordinary, not heroic. Creativity is an act of problem solving (Allen Newell, “The Processes of Creativity Thinking”, 1959). And creativity is an incremental build on top of existing idea. Because of the incremental nature, creativity is hard work.

Karl Duncker, “On Problem Solving”, 1935. All man’s mind works the same way, unaffected by subject or thinker, but old idea obstructs new ones. The candle and box of tacks problem: At one point, people stop seeing the box as a thing for holding the tacks but a thing for holding the candle; that shift is an insight.

Brain storming: deferring criticism added only bad ideas.

Vast majority of teachers say creativity is important but when tested, they always favor less creative children: Because people who are more creative also tend to be more playful, unconventional, and unpredictable. All these makes them harder to control.

Newism: Prejudice against new things. People always do. Therefore, whether a creative idea can success depends on how we react to the adverse condition of newism.

Inattentional blindness: The bacterium Helicobacter pylori. “People’s natural predisposition not to see anything they don’t want to, weren’t expecting or can’t explain”. Experts tend to have selective attention. Solution to the inattentional blindness: shoshin, seeing what is there instead of seeing what we think.

Thomas Kuhn, “The structure of scientific revolutions”, 1962. Science proceeded in a series of revolutions where ways of thinking (paradigms) changed completely. Paradigms are a form of selective attention.

Eight motivations for creating (R. A. Ochse): desire for mastery, immortality, money, recognition, self-esteem, the desire to create beauty, to prove oneself, and to discover underlying order.

Stanford art collage experiment behind one-way mirror by Teresa Amabile: The evaluated groups reported more anxiety than the nonevaluated groups. The more anxious they were, the less creative they were. That is the reason Woody Allen avoiding the Oscars so as to avoid potential destruction of external influence.

Another experiment by Amabile: choice and reward. In creative work, choice transforms the role of reward. Members of the no choice-reward group reported feeling the most pressure. Most creative work is by choice-reward group, second my no reward groups. Passion is the most extreme state of choice without reward, or reward on its own.

Ken McGraw hypotheses: Tasks involving discovery were disrupted by rewards, but tasks that had one right answer, like math problems, were improved by them.

Writer’s block: Loss of creativity by writer. A writer suffering from the believe that they cannot write something they think is good. Cure: write something you think is bad.

Kelly Johnson from Lockheed: He discovered that a small, isolated, highly motived group is the best kind of team for creation. Story of Johnson and Hall Hibbard: Intellectually secure people do not need to show anyone how smart they are. They are empirical and seek truth. Intellectually insecure people need to show everyone how smart they are. They are egotistical and seek triumph. Truth-tellers are often eccentric and difficult to manage. They speak a strange language, one that isn’t focused on incremental change and polite business-speak.

Vygotsky’s research on children: The connection between language and creating has an important consequence. Once children can solve problems by talking about what they are doing, they have the basic skills they need to create with others.

Bibliographic data

@book{
title = "How to fly a horse",
subtitle = "The secret history of creation, invention, and discovery",
author = "Kevin Ashton",
year = "2015",
publisher = "Doubleday",
isbn = "978-0-385-53859-6",
}